Attachment Flashcards Preview

Developmental Psych > Attachment > Flashcards

Flashcards in Attachment Deck (38):

At what age do clear signs of infant's attachment to primary caregiver become evident?

6-7 mos


What are signs that infants are attached to their caregiver?

Social referencing, separation anxiety, and stranger anxiety


Studies that made use of "strange situation" have identified what 4 patterns of attachment?

(1) secure
(2) avoidant
(3) resistant
(4) disorganized


How did Freud view attachment?

He viewed it as the result of feeding (attachment takes place b/c mother satisfies infant's oral needs by providing nourishment)


Has subsequent research shown Freud's view to be supported?

No, feeding has been shown to be less important to attachment than other factors.


Harlow et al & baby monkeys study : (

Took monkeys from mother at birth and provided surrogate wire monkey mother with food and surrogate cloth monkey mother; Babies preferred feel of cloth mother, spent more time with it, and ran to it when frightened even though food was provided by wire mama monkey


What was Harlow et al's conclusions based on surrogate monkey mother experiment?

"Contact comfort" or the pleasant tactile sensation of a soft, cuddly parent is more important determinant of attachment than feeding


What is the most widely accepted explanation/theory for attachment today?

Bowlby's ethological theory


What does Bowlby's ethological theory propose?

Infants and mothers are biologically programmed for attachment; infant is endowed with built-in set of attachment behaviors (e.g., sucking, crying, smiling, and cooing) and mother responds with behaviors appropriate to infant's attachment needs (for example, she varies the pitch & tone of her voice so baby's sensory recognition of her is enhanced)


What is the purpose of infants & mothers behaviors according to Bowlby's theory?

To keep mother in close proximity to increase infant's chance of survival


What did Bowlby propose about children's mental representations of themselves and their attachment figures?

They begin to develop these mental representations during the first year of life; they are sometimes called "internal working models" of self and others and guide childrens' behavior in later relationships.


At what age do infants start to show a preference for their mother over other people? At what age do they exhibit clear signs of attachment?

4 mos of age; 6-7 months of age


Social Referencing

Begins at 6 mos of age; infants start to 'read" emotional reactions of mothers & caregivers, especially in uncertain situations, and use that info to guide their own behaviors; this is considered evidence of attachment


Separation Anxiety; age it first presents? age it is strongest?

At about 6 mos; at about 14-18 mos and gradually becomes less intense and less frequent during preschool years


Stranger Anxiety; age it first presents? age it is strongest?

As early as 6 mos though more commonly 8-10 mos; reaches peak at 18 mos then gradually declines during 2nd year


Response to Prolonged Separation

Bowlby found when children ages 15-30 mos were separated from mother for prolonged periods of time, they exhibited predictable sequence of behaviors, i.e., protest (loud crying, restlessness, rejection of attention from other adults), despair (crying, inactivity, withdrawal), and detachment (apathy that may continue even upon return of mother)


What is used in experiments to study social referencing?

The visual cliff; mother stands on deep side & child on shallow side; when mothers smile & say something in soothing voices, children will cross visual cliff to be with her; if mother frowns or utters meaningless phrase in fearful tone, child often cries and will not cross the cliff


What can affect Stranger Anxiety?

Situational factors; for example, children are less apprehensive of strangers when mother is nearby


Who noted that children show different attachment patterns and that these differences are the result of how responsive mothers (caregivers) are to the child's needs? What method/technique did this person use to study attachment patterns?

Ainsworth; "strange situation" scenario


Describe "strange situation"

Infant spends time alone, with his/her mother, and with a stranger


How many attachment patterns did this person identify and what are these called?

4 attachment patterns; secure, anxious-avoidant, anxious-resistant, and disorganized-disoriented


Describe secure attachment

Actively explore environment when alone or with mother; may be friendly to stranger when mother present and prefer mother to stranger; show distress when mother leaves and seek physical contact with her when she returns


Describe anxious-avoidant attachment

Uninterested in the environment; show little distress when mother leaves and avoid contact when she returns; may or may not be wary of strangers


Describe anxious-resistant attachment

Anxious even when mother is present and become very distressed when she leaves; ambivalent upon her return and may resist her attempts to make physical contact; very wary of stranger even when mother is present


Describe disorganized-disoriented attachment

Show conflicting responses to mother and alternate between avoidance/resistance and proximity-seeking; overall behavior described as dazed, confused, and apprehensive; this pattern often seen in children who have been maltreated by their caregivers


What are mothers of securely attached babies like?

They are emotionally sensitive and responsive.


What are mothers of anxious-avoidant attached babies like?

Either impatient and nonresponsive or overly responsive, over involved, and over stimulating


What are mothers of anxious-resistant attached babies like?

Inconsistent in their responses to their child; sometimes indifferent to child and other times enthusiastic


What are mothers of disorganized-disoriented attached babies like?

Maltreatment of children


Who studied adult attachment patterns and related them to attachment patterns of children? What measure did she develop to assess adult attachment patterns?

Main et al; the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI)


What does the AAI measure?

Intergenerational transmission of attachment patterns; used to elicit details of early family life, relationships with parents, and unresolved emotional issues


What does AAI ask interviewees to do?

To describe their relationship with their parents during childhood and provide specific memories to support global evaluations


Responses to AAI assigns adults to one of how many attachment categories?

4; these are equivalent to and predictive of early childhood attachment patterns


Are AAI adult attachment patterns similar to childhood attachment patterns?

Yes, there are 3 insecure patterns and 1 secure pattern in both types.


Describe the secure-autonomous adult attachment pattern

Value attachment relationships and have a secure base provided by at least 1 parent; they don't idealize or feel angry about their childhood and are able to integrate both positive and negative experiences; most of their own children have a Secure Attachment pattern


Describe the dismissing adult attachment pattern

Tend to devalue importance of attachment relationships and are guarded and defensive when asked about their childhood; idealize their parents though cannot support positive evaluations with concrete examples; 3/4 of their own children are avoidantly attached


Describe the preoccupied adult attachment pattern

Confused and incoherent regarding attachment memories; childhood characterized by disappointment, frustrated attempts to please their parents, and role reversals; remain enmeshed in their family-of-origin issues and may be angry or have sense of resignation that problems cannot be overcome; most of their own children have ambivalent (anxious-resistant) attachments


Describe the unresolved adult attachment pattern

Experienced severe trauma and early losses; have not mourned or integrated their losses; frightened by memories of the trauma and may dissociate to avoid the pain; tend to have very negative and dysfunctional relationships with their own children, often abusive & neglectful; their children tend to develop disorganized-disoriented attachments