Failure to Form Attachment

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Discuss research into failure to form attachments

The real term for failure to form attachments is privation; this means someone is unable to form any attachments to anyone.

One case study on severe privation is the study on Genie (reported by Curtis 1977). This case study is about a young girl who had a really bad upbringing and as a result was forever unable to form attachments. Genie was found at the age of 13, for near enough her whole life she was kept tied to a potty chair, she had been severely punished for ever making any noise, and once she was found she had the appearance of a 6/7 year old. Curtis described her as ‘un-socialised, primitive and hardly human’. To make things worse once she was found doctors carried on mistreating her to carry on experiments. Genie was unable to walk, talk or do anything that any average 13 year old could do. She never made any noise because she had been used to being beaten if she did. This series of events caused Genie to suffer from severe privation because she never had any care and never had a primary care giver.

Another study into failure to form attachments is Koluchova (1976) Czech twins, PM and JM. This is on two male twins whose mother died at birth; they then spent 11 months in children’s home before being reared by their father and stepmother. The father was of very low intellect and the stepmother treated the twins very badly. They were locked up in a cellar with no light before they were found at the age of seven. Their speech was poor and they had a bone development disease cause by getting no vitamin D from sunlight. Once they had been found they were adopted by two sisters who really cared for them, when they were examined at the age of 14 they showed no long term ill effects, and formed attachments to the sister who were now their primary care givers.

The differences between these and the reason why the twins then formed attachments with the people who adopted them was because when the twins...
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