Cultural Variations in attachment

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  • Cultural variations in attachment
    • Bowlby argued that all features of attachment are universal and apply to all human beings, there's an innate biological drive  to protect ourselves and survive, it would be expected that majority of children have a secure attachment worldwide.
      • Puerto Rice: mothers encourage children to be interdependent, calm, obedient, polite and gentle
        • Western World: Mothers encourage independence, self-confidence and assertiveness.
          • Germany: Mothers stay in hospital fro 10 days after the birth of a baby but babies are not in the room with the,- usually stay in the nursery so mother can rest, just brought for feeding. Not unusual to see groups of 6 and 7 year olds walking to school without parents
    • van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenburg investigated cultural variations in attachment using a meta-analysis of 32 studies of attachment that had to use the strange situation technique from 8 countries, 27 individualistic and 5 collectivists
      • Germany: 57% secure, 35% IA, 8% IR
        • Japan: 68% Secure, 5% IA, 27% IR
        • USA: 65% Secure, 21% IA, 14% IR
      • 1. Secure attachment is the 'norm' and most common form of attachment. 2. Supporting that attachment is innate and a biological process. 3. Variations within a culture were 1.5 times greater than variations between cultures, suggesting any one culture compromises of several subcultures.
    • Takahasi, Wanted to see if Strange Situation could be correctly used to assess attachment styles in Japan, using 60 middle class Japanese infants aged 1 years old.
      • Japan: 68% Secure, 0% IA, 32% IR
        • USA: 70% Secure, 15% IA, 15% IR
      • 1. Clearly cross cultural variations to attachment 2. Strange Situation doesn't have the same meaning for Japanese infants. 3. Not a valid assessment of attachment for that culture.
    • Strength of Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg: large sample size of 32 studies in 8 countries; more representative picture of cultural variations in attachment; valid conclusions.
      • Caution needs to be taken when drawing conclusions; only 5 studies used are in non western cultures so may not be applicable to these cultures as there is limited data collected on them.
      • Participant sample: does not truly reflect target population, pps may be from one area of the country rather than from all areas (rural/cities). Study is therefore investigating differences in attachment between countries not cultural differences.
        • Variations within a culture were 1.5 times greater than variations between cultures, suggesting anyone culture compromises of several sub cultures.
    • Research can be criticised for the fact all studies measure attachment using the Strange Situation which was developed on American child rearing practices, so only applies mostly to USA and can't be generalised to all countries.


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