Outline and Evaluate Research Into Types of Attachment

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Outline and evaluate research into types of attachment.

Ainsworth conducted a study to observe types of attachment behaviours with occur between a mother and a child. She used observation to witness these behaviours. By placing the child in a set up play room with one way glass allowed natural behaviour to be observed without interference from the psychologist. Ainsworth used several situations including a mother a child and a stranger. Firstly the mother and the child entered the room, the child was free to explore whilst the mother sat on a chair and read a magazine, a stranger enters and sits next to the mother, they engage in conversation. The mother leaves, and the child is left alone with the stranger who shall comfort and play with the child. The mother then re-enters, and the stranger leaves. The mother then also leaves, and the child is left alone. The stranger re-enters and the mother re-enter shortly after, and then the stranger leaves again. A problem with the study is it lacks ecological validity; the child may have reacted differently in settings they were familiar with, an example being their own home. The child could already be anxious due to strange surroundings and unusual behaviour by the mother, therefore leading to higher chances of stranger anxiety and other stressful behaviour.

Ainsworth in her study found three types of behaviour, these were Type A – Insecure avoidant, Type B – secure and Type C – Insecure resistant. Type A showed the child being upset when mother left the room, but did not seek comfort when she returned and showed little stranger anxiety. Whereas in Type B the child used the mother as a safe base and was free to explore when she was around, showed distress when she left but still seeked comfort when she returned and showed stranger anxiety. Differently in Type C, the child’s behaviour alternated between wanting comfort and wanting space, and appeared to be angry. The psychologist did not follow all the ethical...
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