Mary Ainsworth(1978)-The Strange Situation

Mind Map by cthompson08, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by cthompson08 over 5 years ago


Mind Map on Mary Ainsworth(1978)-The Strange Situation, created by cthompson08 on 10/13/2014.

Resource summary

Mary Ainsworth(1978)-The Strange Situation
1 Main aim
1.1 To find out what proportion of children were either insecurely attached or securely attached and how attachments might vary between children
2 It was an observational study of individual differences
2.1 experimantal procedure
2.1.1 The experiment was set up in a small room with one way glass so the behaviour of the infant can be observed secretly The behaviour of the infant was observed in a series of eight 3 minute episodes 1) Caregiver and infant are introduced to the experimental room 2) A second female adult who is a stranger to the child comes in and talks, first to the mother and then to the child 3) The mother leaves the room at some point while the stranger is talking to the child 4) The stranger interacts with the child 5) The mother returns and the stranger leaves 6) The mother leaves the room so the child is alone 7) The stranger returns to be with the child 8) The mother returns to the room again Four categories of behaviourswere measured and observed SECRE ATTACHMENT- Mother is used as a secre base, distressed when mother leaves, glad on reunion, clear reference for mother over stranger ANXIOUS AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT- The child does not seem to care about the mothers activity, unresponsive, indifferent ANXIOUS RESISTANT- Very clingy to mother, distressed when she leaves, glad and angry when she returns, Ambivalence-(wants to cling but doesnt want to), confused about own feelings OTHER-DISORGANISED/DISOREINTATED- No set patterns in bahaviour, behaviour shows mixed reactions, typical of abused or abandoned children, often seen in 'war zones' around the world. Will use mother as a safe base to explore their environment. The mother and stranger are able to confort theinfant equally well Suggested by Main and Solomon (1986)
3 Participants
3.1 Infants were betwwen 12 and 18 months
3.2 The sample consisted of 100 middle class American families
4 Evaluation
4.1 Strengths
4.1.1 Good reliability Demonstrated by Main, Kaplan and Cassidy (1985) They tested babies at 18 months and then retested them at 6 years of age. They found that 100% of the secre babies were still classified as secre and 75% of the avoidant babies were still under the same classification. This called TEST-RETEST RELIABILITY and checks for consistency over time.
4.2 Weaknesses
4.2.1 Carried out in a laboratory The child is placed in a strange artificial environment and the procedure of the mother and the stranger leaving the room follows a script. Meaning it is highly artificial and therefore has low ecological validity
4.2.2 Used middle class American infants and mothers It is difficult to generalise the findings outside of America and to working class families
4.2.3 Demand Characterisitics The child is put under stress (separation and stranger anxiety) the study has broken the ethical guideline protection of participants
4.2.4 Only measures attachment to the Mother (gender biased) The child may have a different type of attachment to the father or grandmother etc. It lacks validity as it is not measuring a general attachment style, but instead an attachment style specific to the mother
4.2.5 Doesnt consider temperament or past experiences Childrens attachment may change perhaps because of changes in the childs circumstances, so a securely attached child may appear insecurely attached if the mother becomes ill or the family circumstances change. e.g Lamb 1997
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