Articles Review on Attachment in Child Development

2021-07-28 17:12:41
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Ainsworth and Bell in their article present a comprehensive analysis of the attachment present in infants in regards to the presence and the absence of their parents. The scholars study involved the incorporation of a strange situation. The associated view is that during a naturalistic study of the attachment between a mother and an infant when the infant is on his or her first year of life, there tend to be a minimum chance in the home surrounding to assess the balance between exploratory and attachment conducts under alarm and novelty conditions. The desired action was to assess the level in which the infant uses his or her mother as a source of security when exploring a strange situation while putting into consideration the fear of the strange. From an individual perspective, I agree with the idea that a mothers presence influences the exploratory tendencies of an infant while her absence minimizes the tendencies while increasing the level of attachment.

Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development - A Review

Ainsworth and Bell (1970) present a comprehensive analysis of the attachment present in infants in regards to the presence and the absence of their parents. From their research findings, a mothers presence prompted exploratory tendencies in an infant while her absence resulted in depressed exploration in addition to heightened attachment behavior. During separation, behaviors such as searching and crying were frequently exhibited. Also, when reuniting with their mothers, the infants exhibited contact-maintaining and proximity-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, contact-resisting behaviors were also exhibited in which the occurred together with the contact-maintaining behaviors resulting in ambivalence. Proximity-avoiding behavior was also associated during the reunion sessions. The scholars highlight the fact that the concept of attachment emanated from Bowlby in which the attachment between the mother and the infant is affiliated with separation anxiety, exploration and the fear of strangers and strange items. They explain that the held notion is that the interrelationships that exist between the associated behaviors illustrate the biological function of the attachment between a mother and an infant as per the evidence of the studies done on nonhuman primates. The scholars also explain that despite the absence of sufficient reports on the interaction of human infants in their natural environments, interaction between attachment behavior, exploration, separation anxiety, and fear of the strange may be observed in a controlled laboratory environmentthe strange or unfamiliar situation, (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970). From an individual perspective, I agree with the idea that a mothers presence influences the exploratory tendencies of an infant while her absence minimizes the tendencies while increasing the level of attachment.

The scholars study involved the incorporation of a strange situation. The associated view is that during a naturalistic study of the attachment between a mother and an infant when the infant is on his or her first year of life, there tend to be a minimum chance in the home surrounding to assess the balance between exploratory and attachment conducts under alarm and novelty conditions. Hence, there was the need of using an experimental situation to assess the impact of introducing a strange situation to a one-year-old. The desired action was to assess the level in which the infant uses his or her mother as a source of security when exploring a strange situation while putting into consideration the fear of the strange. The scholars also focused on observing the level in which the associated attachment behavior might dominate the exploratory behavior in the presence of alarm conditions and conditions associated with the separation of the infant and the mother and their reunion. The alarm conditions, in this case, are introduced when a stranger is introduced (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

The research participants included fifty-six Caucasian infants who were reared by their families in which they all came from middle-class families. The parents were contacted using private practice pediatricians. The scholars included two subsamples of strange situations whereby the first subsample included twenty-three infants who had longitudinally being observed from the time they were born onward, were assessed in the strange situation when they were fifty-one weeks old. The second group was assessed when the infants were forty-nine weeks old. The procedure included eight episodes in the strange situation in which standard order was included for all the subjects. The scholars had do design the situation to be new for it to prompt exploratory behavior but not strange to the extent of bringing about fear and increasing the outsets attachment behavior. The approach used in introducing the stranger was gradual for the purpose of associating any fear with the unfamiliarity rather than using an abrupt approach which can influence alarming behavior. The episodes were organized whereby the least frightening ones were introduced first. The scholars highlight the fact that the organization of the whole study did not exceed the level of disturbance that infants experience on a day to day basis (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

The scholars highlight the eight episodes that include the initials M, B, O, and S in which M represents the mother, B represents the baby, O represents the observer while the S represents the stranger. In summary Episode, I included the M, B, and O whereby M in the company of the observer entered the room with B in which O left afterward. Episode 2 that took about three minutes involved M and B whereby M placed B in a particular place then took a seat quietly and only participated if B required attention. Episode 3 involved S, M, and B in which S entered the room and sat for about a minute quietly, talked to M for a minute and then approached B gradually while holding a toy. M then left the room discreetly after a minute. In episode 4, when B was happy while playing, S acted as a nonparticipant, but when B was inactive, S tried to increase the interest using toys. When B appeared to be distressed, S attempted to provide comfort and is it was challenging to comfort B; the whole episode was cut even though it was expected to last for about three minutes. Episode 5 involved M and B in which M stood in the doorway for B to bring about a spontaneous response after seeing her and then S left discreetly. M did not receive specific instructions on what to do but rather expected to leave when B was settled while playing with the toys and saying bye-bye. Episode 6 involved B alone in which B was left in the room alone for about three minutes except when B appeared to be in distress in which the episode had to be cut. Episode 7 involved S and B in which S entered the room and acted similarly to episode 4 except when B appeared to be in distress. In episode 8, M returned while S left. It involved observing the reunion and terminating the situation. The scholars highlight the fact that they observed the stranger situation using a one-way window on an adjoining room (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

As mentioned earlier, their research findings included the view that a mothers presence prompted exploratory tendencies in an infant while her absence resulted in depressed exploration in addition to heightened attachment behavior. During separation, behaviors such as searching and crying were frequently exhibited. Also, when reuniting with their mothers, the infants exhibited contact-maintaining and proximity-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, contact-resisting behaviors were also exhibited in which the occurred together with the contact-maintaining behaviors resulting in ambivalence. Proximity-avoiding behavior was also associated during the reunion sessions (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

Licata et al. (2014) present the view that maternal emotional presence plays a crucial role in the goal-encoding abilities of infants when compared to mind-mindedness. The link is perceived to be influential when it comes to controlling the temperament of a child, providing maternal education and working memory (Licata et.al, 2014). The association aligns with the view that a mothers presence influences the exploratory tendencies of an infant while her absence minimizes the tendencies while increasing the level of attachment (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

Gartstein and Iverson (2014) in their article, Attachment Security: The Role of Infant, Maternal, and Contextual Factors, present the view that aspects such as parenting, infant temperament, and mother-infant associations influence the formation of the early attachment association between a mother and an infant. High maternal sensitivity and few issues regarding maternal effects were associated with the development of attachment security. The scholars state, infant Negative Emotionality (NE) would be linked with attachment security, and that this relationship would be mediated by maternal parenting efficacy and sensitivity in mother-infant interactions, (Gartstein & Iverson, 2014). This aligns with the view that the absence of the mother results in heightened attachment behavior as an infant feels more secure when the mother is available (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970).

From an individual perspective, two interventions that may be used to assist children in developing healthy attachments include, parents or caregivers, being emotionally available when a child is experiencing distress and providing a positive social environment that includes positive reinforcement and feedback. Being emotionally available includes a caregiver or a parent allowing a child to freely express his or her emotions without any judgment in addition to empathizing with their situation. Such as situation makes it easier for a child to turn to the caregiver during times of distress. A positive social environment involves regarding positive behavior whenever it occurs and frequently incorporating a positive feedback which influences a child to associate with a parent or caregiver without fear freely.

 

References

Ainsworth, M. S., & Bell, S .M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41(1), 4967.

Gartstein, M.A. & Iverson, S. (2014). Attachment Security: The Role of Infant, Maternal, and

Contextual Factors. International Journal of Psychology and Psychological Therapy, 14(2), 261-276.

Licata, M., Paulus, M., Thoermer, C., Kristen, S., Woodward, A., & Sodian, B. (2013). Mother-infant Interaction Quality and Infants' Ability to Encode Actions as Goal-directed. Social Development, 23(2), 340-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/sode.12057.

 

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