Discuss the Research Investigating the Effects of Disruption of Attachment

Topics: Mental retardation, Psychology, Infant Pages: 3 (975 words) Published: June 19, 2013
Disruption of attachment is where an attachment has been formed between an infant and their primary care giver, but some kind of physical or emotional separation has occurred to disrupt its development during the sensitive period. Research investigating the effects of disruption to attachment has showed psychologists that infants forming attachments with a primary caregiver is essential for healthy social, physical and cognitive development. Such disruption could occur as a result of the infant being separated from their primary caregiver, mental illness in the family, stress, hospitalisation, adoption, the arrival of another sibling, divorce work, day-care and death. In many cases, disruption of attachment is unavoidable as infants must spend time in hospital, in day-care or with a babysitter. Psychologists Robertson and Robertson conducted a naturalistic study on John, a 16 month old baby, who was placed in residential care whilst his mother was in hospital. A physical bond was existent as his father visited regularly however after two days of normal behaviour John fought for attention but this became difficult as the nurses were always busy and the other children were more assertive. When he could no longer fight for attention, john sought comfort in an oversized teddy bear. He soon stopped playing and cried constantly. The fact the nurses changed shifts regularly made it difficult for john to attach to one nurse. In the first week he greeted his father enthusiastically however by the second he meekly sat there and did not say anything upon visits. Observations state that for long periods of time he lay with his thumb in his mouth, cuddling his teddy bear. On the 9th day when his mother finally came home, John screamed and struggled to get away from her. For many months afterwards john continued to have outbursts of anger towards his mother. The study is ecologically valid as if was carried out in a natural environment. It also has real life applications....
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