Long-Term Effects of SeparationThe Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis (1953)
John Bowlby’s (1953)
maternal deprivation hypothesis was that breaking the maternalbond with the child during the early years of its life will have serious and irreversibleeffects on its intellectual, social, and emotional development.Bowlby’s Forty-Four Thieves Study
study a group of children who had been referred to a child guidance clinicbecause they were juvenile thieves. He compared them to a control group of childrenwho had been referred to the clinic because of emotional problems but who had notcommitted any crimes. He found that 32% of the juvenile thieves were affectionlesspsychopaths (lacking guilt and remorse), whereas none of the children in the controlgroup were affectionless psychopaths. Of the juvenile thieves who were affectionlesspsychopaths, 86% had experienced early separation.Spitz (1945)
studied children in very poor orphanages and other institutions in SouthAmerica. The children in these orphanages received little attention from the staff andmany suffered from anaclitic depression (helplessness and loss of appetite). Theanaclitic depression was attributed to their lack of emotional care and separation fromtheir mothers.Spitz and Wolf (1946)
Spitz and Wolf (1946)
studied 100 children who became seriously depressed after staying in hospital. The children recovered well if the separation from their motherslasted less than three months.