Preadapted characteristic – predisposition to form attachments
“Kewpie doll” appearance may promote attachment; not necessary
Crying – difficult to ignore, as are smiles
Figure 11.4 Infants of many species display the “Kewpie doll effect,” which makes them appear lovable and elicits caregivers’ attention. ADAPTED FROM LORENZ, 1943.
Comparing the Four Theoretical Approaches
Caregivers do play an important role in infants emotional development, take care of me and you are worthy of affection
Infants are active participants in the attachment process emitting innate responses
Timing is related to cognitive development
All approaches are important!
Table 11.1 Overview of Theories of Attachment. Each theory of attachment has a different perspective on the basis of attachment and attachment related behaviors, and together the four theories help explain the complexity of the attachment relationship.
Attachment-Related Fears of Infancy
Begin at time of primary attachment
Peaks at 8-10 months, then declines
Appears at 6-8 months
Peaks at 14-18 months
Gradual decline, but may be visible in adolescents
Why Do Infants Fear Strangers and Separations?
The ethological viewpoint
Biologically programmed to fear strangers and circumstances where familiar companions are not present
The cognitive-developmental viewpoint
Violating schemes of familiar faces and knowing someone will return
Table 11.2 The Eight Episodes of the Strange Situation. NOTE: Episodes two through eight last for three minutes each, although separation episodes may be cut short and reunion episodes may be expanded for babies who become extremely upset. BASED ON AINSWORTH et al., 1978.
Secure Attachment (65%)
May be upset by separations
Warm greeting on return, seeks comfort
Outgoing with strangers when mother is present
Resistant Attachment (10%)
Little exploration, want to be close
Very distressed upon separation
Ambivalent on return, want to be close, but will resist physical contact
Wary of strangers even when mother is present
Avoidant Attachment (20%)
Little distress when separated
Ignore mother on return
Often sociable with strangers, but may ignore or avoid them
Disorganized/Disoriented Attachment (5%)
Confusion about whether to approach or avoid the mother when reunited
Strange situation in general not useful for characterizing children much older than 2
Attachment Q-set – for 1- to 5-year-olds
Trained observer sorts 90 descriptors into “most like” to “least-like” categories
Result is level of secure attachment
Cultural Variations in Attachment Classifications
Percentages in each category vary due to variations in child rearing
What is secure or insecure varies also
Stressing dependency on others versus independency
Fathers as Contributors to Emotional Security and Other Social Competencies
Infants with secure attachments to both parents, most socially responsive
Infants securely attached to one parent were better than those insecurely attached to both
Figure 11.5 Average levels of social responsiveness and emotional conflict shown by infants who were either securely or insecurely attached to their mothers and fathers. NOTE: Social responsiveness ratings could vary from 1 (wary, distressed) to 9 (happy, responsive). Conflict ratings could vary from 1 (no conflict) to 5 (very conflicted). SOURCE: Adapted from Main & Weston, 1981.
Factors That Influence Attachment Security
Quality of Caregiving
Mothers of securely attached infants are sensitive, responsive caregivers
Resistant infants have parents who are inconsistent in their caregiving
Avoidant infants have parents who are impatient and rejecting, or overstimulating
Table 11.3 Aspects of caregiving that promote secure mother-infant attachments. NOTE: These six aspects of caregiving are moderately correlated with each other. Source: Based on data from De Wolff and van Ijzendoorn, 1997.
Quality of Caregiving, continued
Disorganized/disoriented infants were often neglected or abused
Who is At Risk of Becoming an Insensitive Caregiver?
Clinically depressed individuals
Caregivers who were unloved, neglected, or abused as children
What Can be Done to Assist Insensitive Caregivers?
Interventions work and promote secure attachments
Temperament hypothesis – infants’ temperament influences style of attachment (Kagan)
Table 11.4 Percentage of 1-year-olds who can be classified as temperamentally “Easy,” “Difficult,” “Slow to Warm Up” who have established secure, resistant, and avoidant attachments with their mothers. SOURCE: Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978; Thomas & Chess, 1977.
Does Temperament Explain Attachment Security?
No – elements are related but not a good explanation
Secure attachment to one caregiver, insecure to another
Interventions increase secure attachment
Role of shared environment
Figure 11.6 Comparing the impact of maternal and child problem behaviors on the incidence of insecure attachments. Maternal problems were associated with a sharp increase in insecure attachments, whereas child problems were not. BASED ON VAN IJZENDOORN ET AL., 1992.
The Combined Influences of Caregiving and Temperament
Quality of caregiving determines whether attachment will be secure or insecure
Temperament determines the type of insecurity displayed by infants
Attachment and Later Development
Long-Term Correlates of Secure and Insecure Attachments
Secure attachments predict intellectual curiosity and social competency later in childhood – visible at 15-16 years old
Why Might Attachment Quality Forecast Later Outcomes?
Attachments as Working Models of Self and Others
Others are dependable or not, I am lovable or not
Stable over time
Figure 11.7 Four perspectives on close emotional relationships that evolve from the positive or negative “working models” of self and others that people construct from their experiences with intimate companions. ADAPTED FROM BARTHOLOGEW & HOROWITZ, 1991.
Figure 11.8 Because of differences in their internal working models, securely attached children are biased to remember positive experiences and insecurely attached children to remember negative experiences. BASED ON BELSKY, SPRITZ, & CRNIC, 1996.
Parents’ Working Models and Attachment
Also impact infants’ attachment style
Even if measured prior to infants birth
Mothers with secure attachment representations like interacting with infants more
Is Attachment History Destiny?
Secure attachment with one person can offset an insecure attachment with the mother
Secure can become insecure as life events change
Working Moms, Day-Care, and Early Emotional Development
40% of children cared for full-time by parents
Quality of Alternative Care
Very uneven in the U.S.
Low risk of adverse outcomes if day care is excellent
Table 11.5 Characteristics of high-quality infant and toddler day care.
Parenting and Parents’ Attitude about Work
Mothers happier and more sensitive if employment status matches attitude
Children who receive sensitive, responsive care at home are at little risk of poor emotional outcomes from day care
Excellent day care helps buffer children against emotional insecurity should parenting be less than optimal
Worst outcome is due to insensitive parenting and poor alternative care
The U.S. needs a better policy for parental leave for child care
4 months of unpaid leave is not optimal
Other industrialized nations are much better
Middle class parents face greatest day care challenge
Table 11.6 Sample parental-leave policies in modern industrialized nations. SOURCE: KAMERMAN, 2000.