Effects of Long Term Deprivation

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Long term deprivation is describes the loss of a formed attachment between a child and caregiver, over a long period of time. Separation, death and divorce are examples of long term deprivation, which could result in depression or intellectual retardation, as demonstrated by Bowlby’s study on 44 Thieves. Other effects include anger, stress, detachment, higher rate of behaviour problems, and a low socio-economic status. Bowlby’s study also shows that the effects of long term deprivation are irreversible, as the boys internalised their situation with time, and showed difficulties in forming another attachment. This stresses the importance of attachment, and therefore the negative impact long term deprivation has on children. Richards (1987) theorised that the experience of divorce seems to affect children more than a parent’s death. This may be due to several factors such as little or no contact if one parent leaves the home; stress of family reordering; or the child may blame themselves for the divorce. However, this was a case study which cannot be generalised as the children’s situations are unique, and therefore different to others. Moreover, death could seem to have a less affect on children depending on their upbringing and nature of the situation. For instance, if a parent is dying of cancer, the child may be told that their parent is leaving soon, and so are given time to adjust to this reality, and learn to accept it. This is further supported by Saler et al. (1992) found that if a child is allowed to mourn the death of a parent, they suffer less from depression as opposed to children who are not allowed to mourn. Divorce on the other hand usually end on bad terms, so conflict could cause the child stress, as opposed to the process of being deprived of an attachment figure. This is supported by Rutter (1970) who found that it is not separation itself
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