Institutional Care and Its Effects

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Institutional Care and its Effects

Bowlby studied institutional care and its effects in the 1930s and 1940s. He studied children being brought up in orphanages and residential nurseries which lacked maternal care. Bowlby believed that the relationship between child and mother during the first 5 years of a child’s life, is at its most crucial to socialisation for which he called the critical period. He claimed that if no attachment was formed (privation) or there was a disruption between the attachment (deprivation) during this time, it would lead to anti social behaviour, emotional difficulties and juvenile delinquency. He claimed if privation had occurred the infant would never be able to form later attachments in life.

One of Bowlby’s experiments to support his maternal deprivation hypothesis, he carried out a study called The 44 Thieves

The conclusion of the above study was that the findings suggested a link between early separations and later, social and emotional maladjustment. Also, in extreme maternal deprivation, it almost seems to lead to affectionless psychopathy, or to at least some kind of anti social behaviour.

Even though Bowlby’s findings did support the maternal deprivation hypothesis I feel that experimental bias could have also influenced Bowlby’s findings. The experiment was designed and conducted by himself and also, Bowlby used supporting evidence such as clinical interviews where he asked PS to look back and recall separations, these memories in deed may not have been recalled correctly. Also, institutional care at the time research took place, lacked appropriate stimulation. This could have had a great effect with the child’s intellectual level later on in life.

Bowlby argued that infants form a special attachment with their mother, any other attachment formed with other persons are very different. He claimed that even fathers are not of any direct emotional importance to the infant, and that their main role was to provide...
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