AQA AS Psychology can someone mark my answer please?Watch this thread
Question: "Psychologists have investigated secure and insecure attachment in young children."
Outline and evaluate research studies related to types of attachment. (12 marks)
Mary Ainsworth devised the strange situation scenario as a novelty to investigate different types of attachment between infants and their mothers. She created a scenario whereby the infant and their mother would be left in a room with toys and activities to explore their surroundings. The infant would then be separated from their mother, and a stranger would enter the room. Through this she observed the infants’ willingness to explore, anxiety towards separation from the mother, anxiety towards the presence of a stranger and behaviour at reunion with the mother. From her findings she classified infants into three attachment types: securely attached (66%), insecure avoidant (22%) and insecure resistant (12%).
The strange situation is effective as it emphasises the significance between types of attachment and healthy emotional development. Sroufe’s Minnesota longitudinal study showed that securely attached infants went on to be popular and socially competent. Furthermore, Hazan and Shaver’s Love Quiz questionnaire found that adults who were securely attached were generally more trusting and likely to form lasting relationships. Whereas insecure adults found difficulty in forming relationships and often distanced themselves from the whole concept of ‘love’. This shows that your type of attachment is an accurate portrayal of how emotionally healthy you are.
However, Ainsworth’s strange situation has been criticised for lacking validity. Their study only really measures the quality of one particular type of attachment (with the mother), as opposed to the quality of attachment as a whole. Main and Weston found that infants behaved differently depending on which parent they were with. This shows that the strange situation does not really measure the general quality of attachment lodged in the individual.
Moreover, there are factors which influence types of attachment. Ainsworth herself using her Maternal Sensitivity Scale found that sensitivity towards the child was important for a healthy attachment. In the strange situation, the sensitivity of the mother towards the child was not an observation point. Slade et al found that it is the ability to be able to understand what someone else is thinking (maternal reflexive functioning) that is more important than just the vague idea of ‘sensitivity’.
Lamb suggested that the strange situation measured relationship and not attachment and therefore the child could just not like mum and actually have a more secure attachment to dad. (I know you argued this but you could bring this in to back it up!)
Kagan (i think it was kagan, you might have to check!) suggested that the SS measured temperament and not attachment and so the child may actually be relatively calm and not easily stressed, but because of this was perceived as an anxious avoidant whereas an easily stressed child may be classed as resistant. We could also argue that the child may just be having a 'bad day' so maybe we could repeat the test with the same babies several times and then classify them. (You could argue this point along side the relationship point)
You could also argue the idea that the category system is heavily reductionist and so maybe a continuum would be better! (There was a name for this, if you'd like me to I can go over my noted later! (: )
You could probably bring in the work of Schaffer to introduce how long a secure attachment takes to form from birth.
Hopefully that helped, those are points that my teacher has given me! If your not spec B then it may well have gotten more than 5/6 (I'm not an examiner so it could be more anyway) but that's how way teacher tells us to evaluate our work!
Let me know if I can help you with anything else - it's good revision for me to think of it haha!
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