Cross-Cultural Variations in Attachment

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Cross-Cultural Variations in Attachment As Bowlby’s theory dictates that attachment is a biological and innate process, secure attachment should be the optimal form for humans, regardless of cultural variations. However, if such attachments are found in particular cultures and not others, this suggests that attachment is not innately determined but is related to different childrearing methods. In 1990, Takahashi conducted a study on 60 middle-class Japanese one-year-olds who had all been raised at home. They were all observed with their mothers in the Strange Situation. The study found that 68% were Type B (securely attached), 32% were Type C (resistant-insecure), however none were classified as Type A (avoidant-insecure). In fact, the ‘infant alone’ part of the Strange Situation was stopped for 90% of participants because the infant was too distressed to be left without their mother. If this wasn’t the case, many more would have been classified as insecurely attached. Takahashi’s study supports that there is cross- cultural variations in the way infants respond to being left alone, due to infants experiencing much little to no separation in everyday life – the study was lacking in ecological validity. Japanese infants are with their parents almost twenty-four-seven, and for this reason, the Strange Situation was very stressful. The Strange Situation is always ethically criticised as it is though that such a stressful situation could potentially cause some psychological harm in some cases. Also, we are wary when making generalisations based on the results of this study, as a limited sample is used, and therefore the study may be lacking some external validity. Van IJzendoorn and Kroonenberg carried out 32 different studies in 8 countries, recreating the Strange Situation, in order to investigate attachments. The study broadened the study of Ainsworth
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