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Disruption of attachment   bowlby  - long term disruption
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Disruption of attachment bowlby - long term disruption


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  • 1.  The effects of: disruption of attachment failure to form attachment (privation) institutional care
  • 2. “Prolonged deprivation of a young child of maternal care may have grave and far-reaching effects on his character …similar in form… to deprivation of vitamins in infancy.” Bowlby (1953)
  • 3.  Based on Bowlby’s ideas:  Attachment is essential for healthy development  Must occur within sensitive period  Predicts developmental difficulty if the attachment relationship goes wrong:  General developmental problems  Specific issues with social development
  • 4.  Spitz (1945) Children in orphanages Found signs of ‘anaclitic depression’: apathy, withdrawal, helplessness, low appetite Survival rates of children raised in prison were better than those raised in orphanages
  • 5.  Spitz & Wolf (1946) 100 psychologically normal children in long-term hospital care Most showed signs of depression Recovered quickly if period of hospitalisation was less than 3 months
  • 6.  Aim – To test the MDH by comparing a group of ‘thieves’ to another group of children to see if the ‘thieves’ had experienced early separations from their caregiver.  Procedure – the children and their parents were interviewed by Bowlby. Information was collected about their early life experiences. Disruption of Attachment (long-term) - Bowlby 1944
  • 7.  Findings 88 emotionally maladjusted 5-16y olds 44 thieves 44 controls 16 28 Affectionless not Psychopaths 86% 17% 4% had frequent early separations from mother Bowlby 1944  What did he conclude?
  • 8. Lack of moral constraints on behaviour Inability to form relationships with others Delinquent or criminal behaviour
  • 9.  Evaluation  Information was collected retrospectively -it is likely that such recall was not accurate  lack of internal validity  People often do not answer an interviewer’s question truthfully – the parents may have wanted to present themselves in a better light (social desirability bias)  lack of validity. Bowlby was biased in his observations too.  Used correlation, so we cannot say that early separations were the cause of the behaviour, we can only say they are linked – might be vice versa. Bowlby 1944
  • 10. So... Separation = a physical separation from caregiver, where alternative emotional care is substituted  No long-term problems Deprivation = a loss of emotional care that accompanies separation from the caregiver, occurring when no (or inadequate) alternative emotional care is offered  emotional maladjustment But...
  • 11. Deprivation – an attachment forms but is then discontinued whereas Privation – no opportunity is given for attachments to form