Mary Ainsworth is known for her ‘Strange Situation’ (Custance 2010) studies with children. Her theory was that the quality of an infant’s attachment depends largely on the kind of attention the infant has received. She observed the attachment styles of children, mostly aged between 12 and 24 months, by placing them in an environment and recording their reactions to their mothers (or primary caregivers) leaving the room and then returning. Based on these observations Ainsworth concluded that there are different types of attachment. Three types of attachment are: ‘anxious-avoidant’, where the child shows little upset with the stranger, but will avoid contact with the parent on their return. The ‘securely attached’ child is one that will show moderate levels of proximity seeking towards the parents and is upset by their departure but deals with the parents return positively, often returning to play. The third type is the ‘anxious-resistant’ child; greatly upset by the parent’s departure and on reunion seems angry and will not be comforted or picked up (Custance 2010).
By responding with care and comfort, this enables for an “attachment bond” to form between the infant and caregiver, most commonly the mother (White et al., 2013). Following on from Bowlby’s theory, Mary Ainsworth investigated the theory of attachment through observing the reactions of infants when their mothers left them alone with strangers. The investigation was named as the “Ainsworth’s strange situation assessment” (White et al., 2013). It was discovered through this investigation that infants who had secure attachments with their mothers were upset when separated and were easily soothed when the mother returns. This investigation implies that infants with secure attachment to their mothers show signs of normal social development.
Together with her colleagues, she laid the foundation that expanded the concept of attachment into an experience that is open to empirical evaluation. Ainsworth’s started her work by strategically observing maternal reaction and sensitivity to the needs of infants in order to further examine and understand the intimate bonding exchange between mother and infant. Therefore, attachment theory explains the behavior of infants towards their attachment figures during separation and reunion periods.
Attachment theory can be described as having the strongest theoretical influence in the studies of an infant-parent relationship (Bee and Boyd 2003). Lindon (2005) argues that attachment is central in any discussion of a child’s social development: ideas and perspectives have varied since the mid-twentieth century however the consistent theme that emerges through is that early experiences matter. Lindon (2005) puts forward a general definition of attachment suggesting that an attachment is, “…a bond of
Attachments are intrinsic to a child’s development both in the short term and for the duration of their lives. Infants have an innate need to develop an attachment with their mother to ensure their survival and are equipped with evolutionary characteristics called social releasers; physical social releasers such as large eyes and a small chin are found to be more aesthetically pleasing to the parents so they are more likely to care for them and behavioural social releasers for example, crying; very young infants typically only cry if they 're hungry, cold or in pain (Gross 2015 p535) this alerts the parents to an infants immediate need. At around 7 or 8 months of age children begin to make specific attachments for reasons other than survival, children display proximity maintaining behaviour normally with the mother,
An infant with a secure attachment style has a natural bond with their parent, where they are able to trust them, at the same time leaving their side to discover and explore their surroundings. In an insecure/resistant attachment the relationship the child has with their mother or caregiver is very clingy, thus making them very upset once the caregiver is away. When the mother or caregiver is back they are not easily comforted and resist their effort in comforting them. In an insecure/avoidant attachment the infant is, “indifferent and seems to avoid the mother, they are as easily comforted by a stranger, as by their parent” (Siegler 2011, p.429). Lastly, the disorganized/disoriented attachment is another insecure attachment style in which the infant has no way of coping with stress making their behavior confusing or contradictory. Through these brief descriptions of the attachment theory, many researchers have defined the turning point in which each attachment definition can have an influence on one’s self esteem, well-being and their marital relationship.
Rudolph Schaffer and Peggy Emerson (1964) also formulated a theory of attachment based on their longitudinal study of 60 babies in Glasgow looking at the gradual development of attachments; they visited them monthly for the first year of their lives and returned again at 18 months. (Bailey et al. 2008). Similar to Bowlby’s research, Schaffer and Emerson also formulated four key stages of attachment and produced
Infant attachment is the first relationship a child experiences and is crucial to the child’s survival (BOOK). A mother’s response to her child will yield either a secure bond or insecurity with the infant. Parents who respond “more sensitively and responsively to the child’s distress” establish a secure bond faster than “parents of insecure children”. (Attachment and Emotion, page 475) The quality of the attachment has “profound implications for the child’s feelings of security and capacity to form trusting relationships” (Book). Simply stated, a positive early attachment will likely yield positive physical, socio-emotional, and cognitive development for the child. (BOOK)
Bowlby’s work on attachment theory shows infants treated well develop a secure attachment. Hence they have a good foundation for healthy self-esteem, behavior, and future relationships (Barnet, Ganiban, & Cicchetti, 1991). If the infant develops an insecure bond with the caregiver, they may develop mental disturbances (Cicchetti, Ganiban, & Barnett, 1991). Mary Ainsworth, Bowlby’s contemporary, applied Bowlby’s theory in her research. In 1978, Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, and Wall, created the strange situation technique to study one year old infant attachments (as cited in Colonnesi et al., 2011, p.631). Results of their analysis led to three categories of attachment. They distinguished a secure (B), an insecure avoidant (A), and insecure ambivalent attachment (C)
“ (The Strange Situation). Based on the results of the Strange Situation, Ainsworth and her colleague identified three types of attachment styles, a secure attachment which composed a majority of the children in the experiment, insecure avoidant and ambivalent/resistant. For a child who has secure attachment can be “able to freely explore when the mother is around, interacts with the stranger when the mother is present but not when she is absent, shows distress when the mother leaves and is happy to see the mother return” (Mary Ainsworth). For a child that exhibits that inhibits “Anxious-Resistant Insecure Attachment is anxious to explore and is wary of the stranger even when the mother is present, is extremely distressed when the mother leaves, but is ambivalent when the mother returns. He will stay close to the mother upon her return, but will show resentment by resisting the mother's attention and pushing her away.” and for the child who inhibits “an Anxious-Avoidant Insecure Attachment will avoid or ignore the mother and show little emotion when his mother leaves and upon her
In order to determine an infant’s attachment type, Ainsworth established an experimental study known as, “Strange Situation” (Berger, 2014, p.144). This study was an experiment off of Bowlby’s findings that suggest attachment “related behaviors, are activated in times of personal distress” (Bernier, Larose, & Whipple, 2005, p. 172). Therefore, within this study, an infant’s attachment was determined by studying their behavior and level of distress within a new environment at the absence or presence of their caregiver. Additionally, Bernier represents the results of Larose and Boivin’s 1998 study that express a possible correlation between “Strange Situation” and the transition from high school to college (Bernier et al., 2005, p. 173) as both
Over the years research has shown that attachment is critical to human development, and that in many ways early childhood attachments set up a framework for intimate relationships in adulthood. As they begin to develop an attachment with their caregivers infants go through several phases. The first phase is the asocial phase, which occurs during the first six weeks of an infant's life (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). The second phase is the phase of indiscriminate attachments, which lasts until the infant is six or seven months old (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). When infants are about seven to nine months of age they are go through what is called the specific attachment phase (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). It is during this time that infants establish their initial genuine attachments (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). The development of a secure attachment during this time is critical for, "… it promotes the development of exploratory behavior" (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014). Finally, during the phase of multiple attachments, in which infants are about nine to eighteen months old, they begin to develop attachments to multiple people (Shaffer & Kipp, 2014).
The concept of infant-mother attachment is as important to the child as the birth itself. The effect this relationship has on a child shall affect that child for its entire life. A secure attachment to the mother or a primary caregiver is imperative for a child’s development. Ainsworth’s study shows that a mother is responsive to her infant’s behavioral cues which will develop into a strong infant-mother attachment. This will result in a child who can easily, without stress, be separated from his mother and without any anxiety. Of course the study shows a child with a weak infant-mother relationship will lead to mistrust, anxiety, and will never really be that close with the mother. Without the
Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), was an influential Austrian psychologist and the founder of psychoanalysis. Freud went on to produce several theories, such as his theory on psychosexual development, which will be the focus of this assignment. Using the case study of a six-year-old patient, I will discuss the key principles of Freud’s theory on psychosexual development. Including, comprehensive definitions of the concepts used, and the stages of Freud’s psychosexual development. Lastly using Freud’s theory, I will explain how the patient’s current behaviour, could impact her behaviour in adulthood.
From a Freudian perspective human development is based on psychosexual theory. From a psychosexual perspective maturation of the sex drives underlies stages of personality development (Shaffer et al., 2010). Ultimately, Freud believed that sex was the most important instinct and any mental disturbance revolved around sexual conflicts that were suppressed from childhood. Furthermore, Freud believed that parents permitting too much or too little gratification of sexual needs led