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1. Bowlby’sTheory of Attachment<br />John Bowlby(1907-1990) was a psychoanalyst (like Freud) and believed that mental health and behavioural problems could be…
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  • 1. Bowlby’sTheory of Attachment<br />John Bowlby(1907-1990) was a psychoanalyst (like Freud) and believed that mental health and behavioural problems could be attributed to early childhood experience<br />
  • 2. Psychodynamic roots<br />Psychodynamic theory suggests that relationship problems can arise from fantasies about relationships with parents.<br />Bowlby thought that real relationships with parents could be the cause of later problems, which meant that he moved away from his psychodynamic roots. <br />However he used psychodynamic ideas:<br />He thought that the child’s mother or main caregiver acted both as ego and superego, before these could develop.<br />
  • 3. Evolutionary Basis of Attachment<br />Bowlby combined Freud’s views on the importance of maternal care and the ethological concept of imprinting to produce a new theory.<br />Lorenz’s (1935) study of imprinting. Lorenz showed that precocial species who are mobile after birth, imprint on and follow the first moving object (usually their mother). This happens within a critical period & has obvious survival value.<br />
  • 4. Evolutionary Basis of Attachment<br />Bowlby (1953)<br />Attachment is biologically pre-programmed into children at birth (innate)<br />Encoded in the human genes<br />Evolved and persists because it has survival value<br />
  • 5. Bowlby’s Theory<br />Main hypotheses:<br />Attachments will form with those who respond to child’s signals (proximity-promoting behaviours)<br />There will be a special attachment figure that is more important than others (monotropy)<br />Attachment takes place between 6 months & 3 years (a critical period) <br />Disruption of attachments (maternal deprivation) will have developmental consequences (physical, emotional & intellectual)<br />
  • 6. Bowlby’s Theory - 1 - Proximity Promoting Behaviours<br />Infants emit social releasers or proximity promoting behaviours, to which adults are biologically attuned<br />Physical appearance <br />Crying, smiling etc.<br />These elicit care giving from adults<br />Infants are programmed to attach to whoever responds to their proximity promoting behaviours.<br />
  • 7. Bowlby’s Theory – 2 - Monotrophy<br />Bowlby suggested that children deprived of their mother – their attachment figure – would have problems later in life. <br />The bond could be with a main attachment figure, not necessarily the natural mother. <br />Bowlby referred to monotrophy, which means a warm and loving relationship with one person.<br />The strong relationship with one person should continue unbroken for the first 2 years of life (critical period) if adverse effects are to be avoided<br />If a child suffers deprivation (loss of attachment) during the first 2 years of life they will develop an internal working model of themselves as unworthy.<br />
  • 8. Bowlby’s Theory – 3 - Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis<br />Bowlby thought that this first main attachment was different from any other attachment.<br />Bowlby thought that social, emotional and intellectual development would be adversely affected if the mother-child bond was broken early in life – this is the maternal deprivation hypothesis.<br />Bowlby believed such problems in adulthood are permanent and irreversible, meaning that once there are problems, nothing can be done about them.<br />Broken attachments lead to delinquency and a lack of guilt & regard for the consequences of their actions (affectionless psychopathy) <br />
  • 9. Bowlby’s Theory – 4 – Safe Haven<br />Attachment provides a safe haven for when the child is afraid and a secure base from which to explore the world.<br />
  • 10. Bowlby’s Theory5 – Seperation distress/anxiety <br />Seperation distress/anxiety serves to draw the attachment figure back to the infant and is a survival mechanism<br />
  • 11. Evaluation of Bowlby’s Theory<br />
  • 12. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />The idea that human babies are pre-programmed to attach to a caregiver is very plausible, and there are plenty of animal comparisons that can be drawn to prove the evolutionary basis of attachment. <br />Lorenz (1935) found that precocial species, who are mobile very soon after birth, imprinted on the mother within the first few days of life. Lorenz referred to this period of imprinting as a critical period, as the birds would attach to the mother within this limited period of time. <br />Bowlby used the idea of a critical period to describe how human infants attach within the first two years of life.<br />
  • 13. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Harlow’s study of monkeys and attachments<br />Harlow and his colleagues studied rhesus monkeys <br />Infant monkeys were removed from their mothers, allowed access to a towel covered wire ‘monkey’ and a food giving wire ‘monkey’.<br />Other monkeys were only given access to the food giving wire ‘monkey’.<br />Those that could access comfort from the towel covered ‘monkey’ did so and were better adjusted physically and mentally than those that could only access the wire ‘monkey’. <br />Harlow concluded that such comfort was important for developing monkeys and that it is not food alone that connects a mother and infant.<br />His research linked to the idea that attachment was part of the mother – infant relationship for monkeys. <br />Bowlby used this as evidence that this was true for human children as well.<br />
  • 14. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Bowlby’s study of Forty-four Juvenile Thieves <br />Aims: To determine whether there is a correlation between maternal deprivation in infancy and adolescent delinquency. <br />Procedure: Bowlby studied a group of 44 juvenile thieves who attended a child guidance clinic, and subsequently compared them with a control group of 44 adolescents &quot;who though emotionally disturbed, did not steal&quot; <br />Findings: Fourteen of the thieves were classified as &quot;affectionless&quot;, compared with none in the control group. Seventeen of the thieves had been separated from their mother for more than six months before they were aged five, compared with only two who had experienced such separation in the control group. <br />Conclusion: Bowlby concluded that there is a correlation between maternal deprivation in infancy and subsequent criminal behaviour in adolescence. <br />
  • 15. Strength – A Great Deal of Research Support <br />Bowlby drew on a great deal of research evidence; He read up on studies of children deprived of attachments as they were raised in institutions by such psychologists as:<br />Spitz <br />And Goldfarb<br />When children live in a hospital, prison or orphanage they are referred to as institutionalised. <br />
  • 16. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Spitz (1945) studied institutionalised children<br />Spitz followed the social development of babies who, were removed from their mothers early in life. <br />Some children were placed with foster families while others were raised in institutions. <br />The nursing home babies had no family-like environment. The setting was very institutional. Care was provided by nurses who worked eight hour shifts. <br />The babies raised in the nursing home environment suffered seriously. More than a third died. Twenty-one were still living in institutions after 40 years. Most were physically, mentally, and socially retarded. <br />
  • 17. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Goldfarb (1947) studied fifteen children who had been reared in an institutions for the first three years of their lives and were subsequently placed in foster care<br />The research involved 2 groups of children:<br />Group 1: spent the first few months in an orphanage and were then fostered.<br />Group 2: spent 3 years in an orphanage before being fostered, (i.e. had little opportunity to form attachments in early life).<br />Both groups were tested to the age of 12.<br />The children who had spent 3 years at the orphanage performed less well on IQ tests were less social and more likely to be aggressive.<br />“Babies should be kept out of institutions“ (Goldfarb 1947).<br />
  • 18. Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Robertson’s naturalistic observations<br />James and Joyce Robertson fostered four children (Jane, Kate, Lucy and Tom) whilst their mothers were in hospital.  <br />Four of the children settled well and soon adapted to the new regimen which the Robertson’s had tried to keep as similar to the children’s home environment as possible.  <br /><ul><li>A fifth child, John, was placed in a residential nursery for nine days. 
  • 19. John became attention seeking and spent lots of time crying.  Not getting the attention he needed he developed an attachment with a teddy bear. 
  • 20. When his mother finally returned from hospital John screamed and tried to distance himself from her.  </li></li></ul><li>Strengths – Research Supporting the importance of attachments<br />Robertson’s naturalistic observations<br />John’s behaviour was observed as consisting of protest, despair and detachment:<br />Protest:  Child cries and calls for its mother.  Panic is usual.  This can last from a few hours to a few weeks!<br />Despair:  Child becomes apathetic (i.e. uninterested in what is happening around them).  They continue to cry occasionally and call for mother.<br />Detachment:  The child cries less and is more interested its surroundings.  Onlookers may think that the child is getting over the separation, whereas in fact the child is hiding its feelings.  When the mother returns the child shows little interest and may even be angry or push the mother away.  However, the attachment is soon rebuilt.<br />
  • 21. Strengths – Application of the Theory to the real world<br />Bowlby’s theory of attachment has been very influential in academic circles but, importantly, has been applied to the real world:<br />Hospitals now allow parents to stay with their child to prevent attachment disruption.<br />Day-care facilities adopt a ‘key worker’ strategy to provide a substitute care giver in the absence of a working parent.<br />Social services support parents who are struggling rather than remove children into foster care.<br />
  • 22. Weaknesses – Deprivation or Privation?<br />The maternal deprivation hypothesis suggests quite serious consequences for even a small amount of separation.<br />Some psychologists believe that these consequences are more likely a result of privation than of deprivation, and that Bowlby failed to distinguish between the two. <br />
  • 23. Weaknesses – Working Mum Guilt <br />Despite its positive contributions, Bowlby’s theory suggests that even temporary separation between child and caregiver has damaging effects and this has led many working mothers to feel guilty for leaving their child.<br />
  • 24. Weaknesses – Political Agenda? <br />Bowlby’s initial WHO report was used politically to remove the new female positions for men returning from the war. <br />
  • 25. Weaknesses – Quality or Quantity? <br />Some argue that a happy working mother is more able to provide quality interactions with a child than a non happy working mother. It is the quality of interaction that is critical, not the quantity, as Bowlby emphasised. <br />
  • 26. Weaknesses -Multiple attachments<br />Schaferson and Emerson, 1964<br />Bowlby’s claim that a single caregiver was the most important figure for a child has been criticised. Instead it has been suggested that children have multiple attachments with caregivers other than the mother. These can be with the father, grandparents and siblings. Once again it is believed that the quality of interaction is more important than the quantity.<br />
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    Jul 23, 2017


    Jul 23, 2017
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