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Psychology of Human Growth and Development
cognitive development part 2
Psychosocial development
Development of emotions
Language development
Cognitive development part 1
Perceptual development part 2
Development of attachment
Nature versus nature
Introduction to developmental theories
Prenatal development and chromosomal abnormalities
Prenatal development and teratogens
Brain development
Motor development
Physical growth
Perceptual development

Development of Attachment

Definition of attachment


         A strong emotional bond that forms between infant and care-giver in the second half of the child’s first year.


         One of the developmental milestones in the first year of life.


attachment Theories


v      psychoanalytic theory ( Freud)

v      Learning theory

v      cognitive developmental theory (Piaget)

v      ethological theory (Bolby)


Four stages of attachment Schaffer (1996)


  1. preattachment
  2. Attachment in the making
  3. Clear cut attachment
  4. Goal-corrected partnership


Explanation for waxing and waning of these fears


1.      Growth of memory capacity

2.      Growth of autonomy


methods to evaluate attachment


a. Strange situaton paradigm (Ainsworth)


        Method to investigate the nature and quality of the mother-infant attachment relationship.


1.     secure attachment

2.       insecure-avoidant attachment


3.      insecure resistant attachment

4.      insecure disorganized attachment (Main and Solomon, 1990)


B. Attachment Q-sorts (Vaughn and Waters 1990)


who the child is attached to





        Relative other than sibling



o        E.g.: Field et al 1984


parents role in the quality of attachment


        Styles of care-giving


o        Sensitive Care


      • Responsive to infants needs


      • Consistently available to her baby


o        Interactive synchrony


      • Mother-infant interaction in which the mother constantly adjusts her behavior to that of her baby.


      • Responding to and respecting his signals as to when he is ready for and wants engagement and interaction.


v                           Other factors affecting attachment between parents and infants

        marital relationship:

        Intergenerational continuity in attachment

            Eg : Internal Working Models Bolby (1973)

                        Mental representations of person as a child and the nature of the interaction with parents.


v                           Evidence of intergenerational continuity


Mother’s attachment relationships with her parents


E.g.: Fonagy, Steele and Steele (1991)


        Enabled the investigators to rule out the possibility that a parents current experiences with her baby was shaping her memories of their own childhood.


E.g.: Main, Kaplan and Cassidy (1985)


        Mothers’ patterns of memories related to the quality of the current attachment relationship.


Father’s attachment relationship with his parents


E.g.: Crowell and Treboux (1995)

fathers who viewed their attachment relationship with their parents as secure more likely to develop a secure attachment relationship with their own infants.


Infant - temperement and its role in the quality of attachment


        Some investigators have found a link between certain temperament characteristics in infants and the kinds of relationships they develop with their parents.


        Other investigators have failed to find clear links between early-infant temperament and later infant-parent attachments


Stability in the quality of attachment


        Attachment behavior is highly stable from one period of time to the next


        Change in attachment relationship possible.


Consequences of attachment quality


A. Cognitive development


Relationship between pattern of early attachment  and the way that an infant copes with new experiences during the next few years.


o        E.g.: Matas et al 1978


o        Early secure attachment appears to be related to


         Positive approach to problem solving


         a more complex exploratory behavior at age 2.


        Securely attached infants likely to be more attentive and participative in the classroom


E.g.: Reykjavik et al 1997



        Quality of the whole attachment network in infancy predicted the children’s scores on a test of intelligence scores when they were 5 years old


B. Social development


        primary attachment relationships

o        become internalized by the child


o        the expectations of self and others become generalized to form the blueprint for future interactions with others outside the primary attachment relationship (Sroufe, 1988).


o        E.g. Sroufe (1983)


o        Securely and insecurely attached infants developed very different social and emotional patterns.


o        E.g.: Lyons-Ruth et al (1997)


o        Avoidant attached at 18 months were likely to develop internalizing tendencies at age 7


o        disorganized attached at 18 months were likely to develop externalizing tendencies


Attachment and internal working models


o        Eg Casidy et al (1996)


o         Insecurely attached 5 year olds

o        more likely to interpret a neutral even as done with harmful intent than children with secure attachments.


Effects of attachment to both parents or only one


o        Eg Main and Weston (1991)


o         1 year old infants


         securely attached to both parents = more responsive to the clown


         securely attached to neither = least sociable with the clown.


c. Sense of self


         The awareness of the self as differentiated from other people.


effects of day-care


        negatively correlated with:


o         the sensitivity mothers express towards their children


o        the affection children show to their mothers


        Other studies show that infants of working mothers are:


o         slightly more likely to be classified insecurely attached than those of nonworking mothers


o        but percentage is small.


o        Might be that the stress of working and also raising a child that interferes with development of a strong attachment relationship.


        Quality and stability of child-care center staff important.


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