1. Outline Mary Ainsworth’s ‘Strange Situation’ Study and Discuss How This Has Influenced Our Understanding of the Importance of a Child’s Attachment to the Primary Caregiver.

1523 Words Nov 22nd, 2012 7 Pages
Outline Mary Ainsworth’s ‘strange situation’ study and discuss how this has influenced our understanding of the importance of a child’s attachment to the primary caregiver.

In 1970 Mary Ainsworth expanded greatly upon Bowblys original work and devised an experiment called the Strange situation. The study focused on the behaviour ,in relation to attachment, of infants who were 12-18 months of age when their mother left the purpose built lab play room. The infants were watched through video cameras in the laboratory. The laboratory had two chairs in it and the play area with age appropriate toys. There are eight stages. Stage one: The mother and her baby enter the lab. The mother sits down and reads a magazine while the baby explores.
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They settled back down quickly. They treated the stranger differently to their mother. 70% of the babies were in the type B category.
Insecure-Resistant infants ( Type C attachments) : They were upset at separation but didn't easily accept comfort when their mother returned. They rejected their mother's attempts to comfort them. They appeared to expect a difficult relationship and couldn't seem to decide whether they wanted closeness or distance, alternating between both. 15% of the infants had this type of attachment.
Disorganised-Insecure attachment ( Type D attachments) : Later, researchers Main and Solomn (1986) added a fourth style based upon their own research. These infants displayed a lack of consistent coherent behaviour. They seems apprehensive and confused.

Theories about the bond between the child, its primary caregiver and its impact on child development had been numerous over the 20th century, yet nothing of scientific foundations could be said with regard to child-parent relationships and its effects, be they positive or negative. This was until John Bowlby developed his theory about attachment and Mary Ainsworth developed a method for assessing infant attachment, the strange situation. The strange situation has influenced our understanding of the importance of attachment between a child and its primary caregiver by giving us perspective on how the type of care given up to the first 18 months can set a precedent on the
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