A research technique developed by American psychologist Mary Ainsworth and used in the assessment of attachment.. Consequently, the infant is never sure that the world is a trustworthy place or that he or she can rely on others without some anxiety. Svanberg, P.O. & Cassidy, J.  In fact, 56% of mothers who had lost a parent by death before they completed high school subsequently had children with disorganized attachments. Svanberg (Eds.) Strange Situation A research technique developed by American psychologist Mary Ainsworth and used in the assessment of attachment. (2000) 'Change and Continuity in Ambivalent Attachment Relationships from Infancy through Adolescence' in The Organization of Attachment Relationships, ed. Mary Ainsworth and the Strange Situation Technique Developmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth, a student of John Bowlby, continued studying the development of attachment in infants. Child often hugs or cuddles against mother, without her asking or inviting the child to do so. Ainsworth is best known for her contributions to Attachment Theory and for developing the Strange Situation test. In the study, researchers observed children between the ages of 12 and 18 months as they responded to a situation in which they were briefly left alone and then reunited with their mothers.4 Based on the responses the researchers observed, Ainsworth described three major styles of attachment: secure atta… 373-402). Although parenting alone doesn't determine your child's attachment status, it may play a very important role. The child may cry if separated from the caregiver and also cry upon their return. According to studies of children who have not been given warm, nurturing care, they may show developmental delays, failure to thrive, and attachment disorders (Bowlby, 1982). Ainsworth and her colleagues created a laboratory test that measured an infant’s attachment to his or her parent. The strange situation procedure was presented by Mary Ainsworth in 1965, where she assessed attachment of mothers and their babies. The insecure ambivalent style occurs when the parent is insensitive and responds inconsistently to the child’s needs. She became famous for her assessment technique in identifying different attachment styles in infants. Mary Ainsworth formulated a technique called the “Strange Situation” to help determine how attachment differs between various children (McLeod, 2014). An infant who receives only sporadic attention when experiencing discomfort may not learn how to calm down. Mary C. Blehar, Ph.D. is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health. Infants classified as anxious-avoidant (A) represented a puzzle in the early 1970s. Ainsworth and Bell theorised that the apparently unruffled behaviour of the avoidant infants is in fact as a mask for distress, a hypothesis later evidenced through studies of the heart rate of avoidant infants. Secondly, the cognitive processes organising avoidant behaviour could help direct attention away from the unfulfilled desire for closeness with the caregiver – avoiding a situation in which the child is overwhelmed with emotion ('disorganised distress'), and therefore unable to maintain control of themselves and achieve even conditional proximity. This test is used to examine the pattern of attachment between a child and the mother or caregiver. Solomon, J., & George, C. (2006). It was here that she developed her famous "Strange Situation" assessment, in which a researcher observes a c… The procedure begins with the child and his mother in a room where the child is allowed to play and explore alone. Continuation of second separation episode: Stranger enters and gears behavior to that of infant. Joan I. Vondra & Douglas Barnett, Oxford: Blackwell pp. Others have pointed out that there are also other determinants of the child's attachment, and that behavior of the parent may in turn be influenced by the child's behavior. Ainsworth et al. It is by no means free of limitations (see Lamb, Thompson, Gardener, Charnov & Estes, 1984). Mary D. Salter Ainsworth, Ph.D. was Professor Emerita in the Department of Psychology at the University of Virginia. al., 1994). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 2: 640-643, Main, M. (1977a) Analysis of a peculiar form of reunion behaviour seen in some daycare children. In 1969, American Psychologist Mary Ainsworth developed a new procedure for studying attachment types in infants. The stranger anxiety (when the baby is alone with the stranger). Also, because older children have a cognitive capacity to maintain relationships when the older person is not present, separation may not provide the same stress for them. The hallmark of infant attachment is using one or a few people as a secure base from which to explore and as a haven of safety when needed. The Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) was designed as a valid method of measuring attachment in young children. Each of these groups reflects a different kind of attachment relationship with the caregiver. … These differences reflect cultural variation rather than true insecurity, however (van Ijzendoorn and Sagi, 1999). The Strange Situation Procedure is divided into eight episodes, lasting for three minutes each.  Yet the Disorganized/disoriented attachment (D) classification has been criticised by some for being too encompassing. The parent is asked if the behaviors observed are typical for the child. Parenting representations: Theory, research, and clinical implications (pp. The strange situation procedure was presented by Mary Ainsworth in 1965, where she assessed attachment of mothers and their babies.  Readers further interested in the categorical versus continuous nature of attachment classifications (and the debate surrounding this issue) should consult the paper by Fraley and Spieker  and the rejoinders in the same issue by many prominent attachment researchers including J. Cassidy, A. Sroufe, E. Waters & T. Beauchaine, and M. Cummings. For example, a mother who suffers from schizophrenia may laugh when a child is hurting or cry when a child exhibits joy. , Ainsworth's narrative records showed that infants avoided the caregiver in the stressful Strange Situation Procedure when they had a history of experiencing rebuff of attachment behaviour. During the procedure, that lasts about 20 minutes, the parent and the infant are first left alone, while the infant explores the room full of toys. Its objective is to study the interaction that a mother or an adult (stranger) maintains with the childin an unfamiliar environment. In R. Webb (ed.) Resiliency can be attributed to certain personality factors, such as an easy-going temperament. ] The original Richter’s et al. In 1965, Ainsworth designed the Strange Situation Procedure as a way of assessing individual differences in attachment behaviour by evoking individual's reaction when encountering stress. (2005) The Development of the person: the Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood, NY: Guilford Press, p.245, Crittenden, P. (1999) "Danger and development: the organisation of self-protective strategies" in Atypical Attachment in Infancy and Early Childhood Among Children at Developmental Risk ed. The Strange situation is a procedure devised by Mary Ainsworth in the 1970s to observe attachment in children, that is relationships between a caregiver and child. With respect to the ecological validity of the Strange Situation, a meta-analysis of 2,000 infant-parent dyads, including several from studies with non-Western language and/or cultural bases found the global distribution of attachment categorizations to be A (21%), B (65%), and C (14%) This global distribution was generally consistent with Ainsworth et al. Ainsworth, a pioneering attachment theorist, devised the Strange Situation to examine how very young children responded to being separated from their mother. She is also one of the top 100 most frequently cited psychologists in history. Research has shown that abuse disrupts a child’s ability to regulate their emotions (Main & Solomon, 1990). The stranger stays with the infant for a few minutes, and then the parent again enters and the stranger leaves the room. It has 8 pre-determined stages, including the mother leaving the child, for a short while, to play with available toys in the presence of a stranger … Mary Ainsworth: Attachment theory John Bowlby was the original founder of attachment theory this began after World War II where he found many children became orphans at a very young age and concluded that attachment was crucial for development (Miler, 2011).  In particular, the relationship between ambivalent/resistant (C) and disorganisation (D) is still to be clarified. (1998) scale is strongly related to secure versus insecure classifications, correctly predicting about 90% of cases. Another 5 to 10 percent may be characterized as disorganized. A child who is securely attached to its parent will explore and play freely while the caregiver is present, using her as a "secure base" from which to explore. & George, C. (1999a) The place of disorganisation in attachment theory.  For example, Solomon and George found that unresolved loss in the mother tended to be associated with disorganised attachment in their infant primarily when they had also experienced an unresolved trauma in their life prior to the loss. A caregiver who is unavailable, perhaps because of marital tension, substance abuse, or preoccupation with work, may send a message to the infant he or she cannot rely on having needs met. This information is used to test the validity of the Strange Situation classifications across age, cultures, and with clinical populations.  In addition to these findings supporting the global distributions of attachment classifications in Sapporo, Behrens et al. Modified procedures based on the Strange Situation have been developed for older preschool children (see Belsky et al., 1994; Greenberg et al., 1990) but it is much more dubious whether the same approach can be used in middle childhood. Of these two studies, the Japanese findings have sparked the most controversy as to the meaning of individual differences in attachment behavior as originally identified by Ainsworth et al. It is estimated that about 65 percent of children in the United States are securely attached. Ainsworth, in collaboration with colleague Sylvia Bell, developed a technique called the Strange Situation Test. When child returns to mother after playing, the child is sometimes fussy for no clear reason. Sroufe et al. Ainsworth was a student of the leading Developmental Psychologist John Bowlby. There are 90 items in the third version of the Q-sort technique, and examples of the behaviors assessed include: At least two researchers observe the child and parent in the home for 1.5-2 hours per visit. Ainsworth's strange situation evaluation: Good reliability Good inter-rater reliability- general agreement on what type to classify as. Keep in mind that methods for measuring attachment styles have been based on a model that reflects middle-class, U. S. values and interpretation. More specifically, it aimed to assess how infants between the ages of 9 and 18 months behaved under conditions of mild stress and novelty. "Early Attachment Organization With Both Parents and Future Behavior Problems: From Infancy to Middle Childhood." The aims of this study were to assess how infants between 9 and 18 months behave under conditions of mild stress in order to test stranger anxiety, separation anxiety and … Joan I. Vondra & Douglas Barnett, Oxford: Blackwell pp. The child's needs are frequently not met and the child comes to believe that communication of needs has no influence on the caregiver. Mary Ainsworth. Then a strange adult enters the room and talks for a minute to the parent, after which the parent leaves the room. It was developed to help researchers better understand the different types of reactions infants and toddlers have to separations that occur with their mothers. The procedure played an important role in the development of Attachment theory. Social Development in Childhood (pp.33-78), Baltimore: Johns Hopkins, Cassidy, Jude, and Lisa J. Berlin. Oxford; Blackwell Scientific Publications. Ainsworth's student Mary Main theorised that avoidant behaviour in the Strange Situational Procedure should be regarded as "a conditional strategy, which paradoxically permits whatever proximity is possible under conditions of maternal rejection" by de-emphasising attachment needs.  In 1990, Ainsworth put in print her blessing for the new "D" classification, though she urged that the addition be regarded as "open-ended, in the sense that subcategories may be distinguished", as she worried that the D classification might be too encompassing and might treat too many different forms of behaviour as if they were the same thing. In O. Mayseless (Ed). by fear). Reactive Attachment Disorder: Children who experience social neglect or deprivation, repeatedly change primary caregivers that limit opportunities to form stable attachments, or are reared in unusual settings (such as institutions) that limit opportunities to form stable attachments can certainly have difficulty forming attachments. They did not exhibit distress on separation, and either ignored the caregiver on their return (A1 subtype) or showed some tendency to approach together with some tendency to ignore or turn away from the caregiver (A2 subtype). The Strange Situation is a semi-structured laboratory procedure that allows us to identify, without lengthy home observation, infants who effectively use a primary caregiver as a secure base. 159-160, Madigan, Sheri, et al. 's (1978) original attachment classification distributions. (1995) Children classified as controlling at age six: Evidence of disorganized representational strategies and aggression at home and at school. During the entire session, a video camera records the child’s behaviors, which are later coded by trained coders. By artfully weaving together her own experiences as a mother, daughter, and wife with the science of attachment and the fascinating life history of one of its founders, Mary Ainsworth, Saltman helps us to see ourselves—and our relationships with those we love—in an entirely new way.” Regarding the issue of whether the breadth of infant attachment functioning can be captured by a categorical classification scheme, continuous measures of attachment security have been developed which have demonstrated adequate psychometric properties. Each type could be identified based on specific behaviors the child would display. Keep in mind that clingy behavior can also just be part of a child’s natural disposition or temperament and does not necessarily reflect some kind of parental neglect. Q-sort procedures based on much longer naturalistic observations in the home, and interviews with the mothers have developed in order to extend the data base (see Vaughn & Waters, 1990). (2009). have expressed concern that "ambivalent attachment remains the most poorly understood of Ainsworth's attachment types". For most of her career, she studied the relationship between infants and their primary caregivers. One style is secure and the other three styles are referred to as insecure. When assistance is given, this bolsters the sense of security and also, assuming the mother's assistance is helpful, educates the child in how to cope with the same problem in the future. The procedure consists of 7, three-minute episodes in which children are put in different scenarios with and without their mother and with a stranger. " Such observations also appeared in the doctoral theses of Ainsworth's students. Broadly speaking, the attachment styles were (1) secure and (2) insecure (ambivalent and avoidance). Infant behaviours in the Strange Situation Protocol coded as disorganised/disoriented include overt displays of fear; contradictory behaviours or affects occurring simultaneously or sequentially; stereotypic, asymmetric, misdirected or jerky movements; or freezing and apparent dissociation.  A further constraint is that the coding procedure results in discrete categories rather than continuously distributed dimensions. According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013), those children experiencing neglectful situations and also displaying markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate attachment behavior, such as being inhibited and withdrawn, minimal social and emotional responsiveness to others, and limited positive affect, may be diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder. Not only is this likely to provide boundary problems, but also it is not at all obvious that discrete categories best represent the concepts that are inherent in attachment security. Belsky, J. playing with new toys) the child engages in throughout.  Crittenden also argues that some behaviour classified as Disorganized/disoriented can be regarded as more 'emergency' versions of the avoidant and/or ambivalent/resistant strategies, and function to maintain the protective availability of the caregiver to some degree. Even young children can exhibit strong resiliency to harsh circumstances. How common are the attachment styles among children in the United States? In this procedure of the Strange Situation the child is observed playing for 21 minutes while caregivers and strangers enter and leave the room, recreating the flow of the familiar and unfamiliar presence in most children's lives. (1978). ", There is "rapidly growing interest in disorganized attachment" from clinicians and policy-makers as well as researchers. Broadly speaking, the attachment styles were (1) secure and (2) insecure (ambivalent and avoidance). They seek constant reassurance that never seems to satisfy their doubt. Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth (December 1, 1913 – March 21, 1999) was an American-Canadian developmental psychologist known for her work in early emotional attachment with "Strange Situation" as well as her work in the development of Attachment Theory. This type of attachment is also often seen in children who have been abused. Babies and toddlers can’t use words to tell us how they feel so Mary Ainsworth needed to find a way to allow them to show her. , Michael Rutter describes the procedure in the following terms:. "Unresolved states of mind, anomalous parental behavior, and disorganized attachment: A review and meta-analysis of a transmission gap."  In the Strange Situation, the attachment system is expected to be activated by the departure and return of the caregiver. Social Deprivation: Severe deprivation of parental attachment can lead to serious problems. The child experiences the following situations: Four aspects of the child's behavior are observed: On the basis of their behaviors, the children were categorized into three groups, with a fourth added later. Parent and infant are introduced to the experimental room. Firstly, avoidant behaviour allows the infant to maintain a conditional proximity with the caregiver: close enough to maintain protection, but distant enough to avoid rebuff. Ainsworth’s Strange Situation was especially indebted to the ‘strange situation’ of Jean Arsenian, who had examined infant behaviour in response to the novel environment of the laboratory, and in the presence and absence of their mother. First reunion episode: Parent greets and comforts infant, then leaves again. First separation episode: Stranger's behavior is geared to that of infant. The Strange situation is a procedure devised by Mary Ainsworth in the 1970s to observe attachment in children, that is relationships between a caregiver and child. http://dept.clcillinois.edu/psy/LifespanDevelopment.pdf, CC BY-NC-SA: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike. Ainsworth, M. (1990). When the child is upset or injured, the child will accept comforting from adults other than mother. Child development 65.4 (1994): 971-991, Hans, S.L., Berstein, V.J., Sims, B.E. "The insecure/ambivalent pattern of attachment: Theory and research." The quality of the caregiving environment after serious neglect affects the development of this disorder. The insecure disorganized/disoriented style represents the most insecure style of attachment and occurs when the child is given mixed, confused, and inappropriate responses from the caregiver. According to attachment researchers, a child becomes securely attached when the mother is available and able to meet the needs of the child in a responsive and appropriate manner. However, even in cultures where mothers do not talk, cuddle, and play with their infants, secure attachments can develop (LeVine et. “Everyone keeps at a distance.” (David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, 1739-40, Conclusion to Book 1) Is someone up above running a global version of Mary Ainsworth’s “Strange Situation” procedure? Mary Ainsworth's Ethical Aspects Of The Strange Situation Process. Stranger enters, converses with parent, then approaches infant.  found attachment distributions consistent with global norms using the six-year Main & Cassidy scoring system for attachment classification. Infants who, perhaps because of being in orphanages with inadequate care, have not had the opportunity to attach in infancy may still form initial secure attachments several years later. The child does not learn how to interpret emotions or to connect with the unpredictable caregiver. After returning to the U.S. to teach at John Hopkins, she began working on creating an assessment to measure attachments between mothers and children. It seems much more likely that infants vary in their degree of security and there is need for a measurement systems that can quantify individual variation.  Main proposed that avoidance has two functions for an infant whose caregiver is consistently unresponsive to their needs. Strange Situation. , Main and Hesse found that most of the mothers of these children had suffered major losses or other trauma shortly before or after the birth of the infant and had reacted by becoming severely depressed. Securely attached children are best able to explore when they have the knowledge of a secure base to return to in times of need. "Maternal caregiving strategy—a distinction between the ambivalent and the disorganized profile. It can be scarcely expected to tap all the relevant qualities of a child's attachment relationships.  They showed either signs of resentment in response to the absence (C1 subtype), or signs of helpless passivity (C2 subtype). Twenty percent exhibit avoidant styles and 10 to 15 percent are ambivalent. A child with the anxious-avoidant insecure attachment pattern will avoid or ignore the caregiver, showing little emotion when the caregiver departs or returns. It applies to children between the age of nine and 18 months. She called her procedure the Strange Situation Classification – known more commonly as just the Strange Situation. also discuss the Japanese concept of amae and its relevance to questions concerning whether the insecure-resistant (C) style of interaction may be engendered in Japanese infants as a result of the cultural practice of amae. Receiving support from others also leads to resiliency. Attachment theory was further developed by Mary Ainsworth (1913 – 1999) and her assessment technique called the Strange Situation Classification (SSC). This experiment was conducted on infants aged 12 to 18 months old, and included 100 middle class American families (McLeod, 2014). The child will engage with the stranger when the caregiver is present, and may be visibly upset when the caregiver departs but happy to see the caregiver on his or her return. by fear, or anger). Everett Waters, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. The child's reactions to the departure of its caregiver. ", "Cross-Cultural Patterns of Attachment: A Meta-Analysis of the Strange Situation", Dynamic-Maturational Model of Attachment and Adaptation, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Strange_situation&oldid=995724535, Wikipedia articles needing page number citations from May 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Perhaps responding to such concerns, George and Solomon have divided among indices of Disorganized/disoriented attachment (D) in the Strange Situation, treating some of the behaviours as a "strategy of desperation" and others as evidence that the attachment system has been flooded (e.g. After leaving this position, she spent time conducting research on mother-child interactions in Uganda. The child's reunion behavior with its caregiver. Indeed, our hypothesis is that they occur when a child is attempting to control crying, for they tend to vanish if and when crying breaks through. CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (, "Procedures for Identifying Infants as Disorganized/Disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation", "Parents' Unresolved Traumatic Experiences Are Related to Infant Disorganized Attachment Status: Is Frightened and/or Frightening Parental Behavior the Linking Mechanism? In research into the Mary Ainsworth developed a technique called the Strange Situation.! 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