Throughout the set up, the infants were judged on an intensity scale of 1-7 (1 being the lowest and 7 the highest) which described their behaviour. This was Ainsworth’s quantitative data, though some of the method was qualitative. When the mother left the room and returned, with the effect of the stranger, the infants’ behaviour showed that the infants could fall into 3 types of behaviour. Type B is ‘secure attachment’; this is when the infants found it stressful and unsettling when their mother left the room. They did not care about the stranger attempting to give the comfort.
Using a combination of behavioural measures, mainly proximity seeking and maintenance of proximity, Ainsworth classified infants as securely attached, anxious avoidant or anxious resistant. In the middle class US samples, 65% of infants were categorized as secure with the remainder equally distributed across the other two types. Ainsworth research led her to two conclusions, firstly there are different types of attachments and these types are differentiated in observed attachment behaviours. Secondly, the type of attachment between a mother and child is dependent upon the mother sensitivity and responsiveness to the child. Ainsworth said that an anxious avoidant child ignores their mother, seems indifferent, is easily comforted, they treat mother and stranger the same.
This supports bowlby’s theory that failure to form attachments has an irreversible effect on emotional development. This research however can be criticised because it lacks external validity. This is due to the fact that it was a longitudinal study, and during the 16 years there would have been participant drop off. This means that there would be less participants and therefore a smaller sample size, so it cannot be generalised. There is also the chance of social desirability as some people are likely to pretend they have a better relationship with their parents/children so they seem like better parents than they think they are.
Interestingly in the Rutter study those who were adopted before the age of 6 months tended to show a more marked improvement compared to their older counterparts. This seems to coincide with Schaffer and Emerson’s Glaswegian infant study which showed that children below the age of 6 months treat everything indiscriminately having not formed an attachment. So naturally by definition the Romanian infants below 6 months couldn’t and didn’t suffer privation and so therefore didn’t suffer the effects of it later. However with the Rutter study it is hard to establish cause and effect. Many of the children suffered cognitive deficits but this might have rather been a result of a lack of substantial intellectual stimulation within the institutions as opposed to privation.
Most children do recover from this. They showed that there are many factors that will affect children when separated by the Childs temperament or the quality of care they receive. They said that they can minimise effects if the child is familiarised with their new home, know their daily routine and by talking about their mother. Bowlby proposed that long-term maternal deprivation is harmful and that the first 2.5 years in a Childs life is crucial as if separation occurs within that period than maternal deprivation may be permanent. Bowlby had conducted a test, to test his theory.
This supports Bowlby's theory of sensitive period. There was another study conducted by Stout, Stout conducted a study of Romanian orphans who had experienced severe conditions and found that they later suffered permanent psychological damage, including no ability to interact with people and increased aggression. Psychologists successfully showed the impacts of institutionalisation; a strength of Hodges and Tizards study was that it was longitudinal so the researchers were able to see how the institution affected the children over many years. However a weakness of this longitudinal method involves attrition, where many of the children may have left the study because they were well adjusted, therefore resulting in a biased remaining sample - children with pleasant behaviour are more likely to be adopted. Some research suggests that individuals who do not form a primary attachment within the early sensitive period are unable to recover, however, in the study of romanian orphans, one third recovered well therefore privation alone cannot explain negative outcomes.
They both found out that children who were adopted by different families to their biological ones were more likely to develop attachments with 20/21 children developing attachments at age 8 and 17/21 when age 16. Whereas children who were restored to their natural parents were less likely to develop an attachment, with only 6/13 developing attachments at age 8 and 5/9 at age 16. Tizard and Hodges concluded that adopted children would develop good family relationships, whereas most restored children kept on experiencing problems and hardships in their family relationships most of all with their siblings. However both groups showed somewhat difficulty when it came to making relationships outside of their own family, whether they could make them within their family or
When shown together there evidence provided a way of proving how levels of security in these relationships have substantial impact upon infants development. It is important to mention that the “strange situation” technique has received criticisms surrounding ethics with regards to intentionally inflicting distress upon infants by purposely separating them from their attachment figure however it has been argued that this situation is something that does occur naturally in an infants life. The ecological validity of the research and its ability to be generalised within different cultures has also been questioned as the study used only a sample of westernised participants. For Bowlby the IWM only had capacity to change in the period of infancy after this it is fixed for the rest of a persons life therefore a link should be able to be demonstrated between infant attachment classifications and adult attachment classifications. Continuing from the work of Bowlby and Ainsworth the adult attachment interview was developed by Main, here an adults ability to integrate childhood memories of relationships with attachment figures into working models of relationships was assessed identifying in accordance to Main three
Describe and evaluate research into cross cultural variations in attachment In 1988, Van Ljzendoorn and Kroonenberg used an analysis of the Strange Situation to research cross-cultural patterns of attachment. They used the same procedure as Ainsworth of assessing attachment as it shows how not all infants are securely attached. They therefore found the same three types of attachment: Secure attachment, insecure resistant and insecure avoidant. One of the most significant findings was that there was a 1.5 x more varaiations with cultures then between cultures. Also they found that secure attachment was the normal attachment throughout each country.
They believe that securely attached infants would become autonomous adults; these know the importance of their past relationships and can recall positive and negative experiences. Those that had insecure attachments would fall into the dismissing or preoccupied category. They would see their childhood experiences as either unimportant and dismiss them or as important but cannot resolve issues. Using the AAI, Hamilton (1994) studied 30 adolescents and found a strong correlation between infant attachment type and adult attachment type. Similarly Steinberg (1990) found that securely attached adolescents were more likely to maintain healthy relationships with their parents than those classified as dismissive or preoccupied.