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Chapter 11

The Development of Social Relationships

Copyright © Pearson Education 2010

Relationships with Parents • Attachment Theory – John Bowlby—ethology and evolution “The propensity to make strong emotional bonds to particular individuals [is] a basic component of human nature.” Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . In an affectional bond. there is a desire to maintain closeness to the partner.” (innate/built-in & maintained over time) • Ensures infant will receive nurturance (survival value) – Mary Ainsworth—affectional bond “A relatively long-enduring tie in which the partner is important as a unique individual and is interchangeable with none other. already present in germinal form in the neonate.

and self-other.Affectional Bonds and Attachment • Attachment – A subtype of affectional bond in which the presence of the partner adds a special sense of security. other.” for the individual – Child to parent but not parent to child—why? – Parent to spouse or friend but not child (security) • Attachment behaviors – All those behaviors that allow a child or an adult to achieve and retain physical proximity to someone else to whom he is attached (observable vs. a “safe base. trustworthiness – Self. internal) – Internal working Models (mental representations – Expectations of support or affection. shape & explain experience Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .

interlocking pattern of attachment behaviors. raised eyebrows.The Parent’s Bond to the Child • Synchrony • The opportunity for the parent and infant to develop a mutual. very wide open eyes – Characteristic high pitch of motherese – Turn-taking behaviors and inflections • Father-Child Bonds • Fathers seem to direct the same repertoire of attachment behaviors to the child as the mother • Fathers spend more time playing with the baby • Mothers spend more time in routine caregiving Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . a smooth “dance” of interaction • All humans know how to do this dance – Smile.

1) – Phase 1: Nonfocused Orienting and Signaling • Baby begins with a set of innate behavior patterns that orient him towards others—proximity promoting behaviors (crying. cuddling)— “come here” • No attachment at this time – Phase 2: Focus on One or More Figures • 3 months—aims behaviors at people who regularly take care of her—no “safe base” yet – Phase 3: Secure Base Behavior • 6 months—forms a genuine attachment • Uses the most important person as a safe base • Proximity seeking behaviors—“go there” – safe to explore Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .The Child’s Attachment to the Parent • Bowlby—3 phases in attachment (Figure 11. clinging.

Strong attachments first seen – Infants prefer either father or mother to a stranger – When frightened or under stress. in which the two partners.“in contact” not necessarily physical presence Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . negotiate the form and frequency of contact between them .Attachment • 7 to 8 months . through improved communication. the child typically will turn to the mother (generally prefer mother) – Father’s attachment depends on the amount of time dad has spent with the child • Attachments in early childhood – Age 2 or 3: Attachment behaviors become less visible – Age 3–4: Use shared plans from parents to lessen anxiety – “Goal—corrected partnerships” • Term used by Bowlby to describe the form of the child-parent attachment in the preschool years.

Attachment (Continued) • Attachments in middle childhood – Elementary school • Overt attachment behaviors are even less visible • The child may take primary responsibility for maintaining contact with the parent • Less safe-base behaviors • Less open affection expressed – Extended separations from parents can be extremely stressful (first day of school. summer camp.) Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . etc. staying at grandparents.

peers • Good relationships with parents and peers go hand in hand • Less likely to engage in risky or delinquent behaviors Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .Parent-Child Relationships in Adolescence • Teenager tasks (contradictory) – Establish autonomy – Maintain their sense of relatedness to parents • Increases in Conflict – Mild bickering over everyday issues – Argue over child’s age at which privileges will be granted • Attachment to parents remains strong and central • Teenagers’ sense of well-being or happiness is more strongly correlated with the quality of the attachment to parents vs.

1) • Measured with Strange Situation (Ainsworth) – Insecure: Avoidant • Avoids contact w/ mother. confused. upset when separated and not reassured by mother’s return or comforting • Seeks and avoids contact – Insecure: Disorganized/Disoriented • Dazed. readily separates & consoled after separation Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . apprehensive. May show contradictory behavior: move toward. especially at reunion • Doesn’t resist or seek contact w/ mother – Insecure: Ambivalent • Little exploration.Variations in the Quality of Attachments • Secure and Insecure Attachments (Table 11. look away. • Highest risk for emotional & behavioral problems • Secure: uses parent as safe base.

mutuality.Origins of Secure and Insecure Attachments • Crucial ingredients to secure attachments – Emotional availability from caregiver – Synchrony. contingent responsiveness • Parent must be attuned to the child’s signals and cues and respond appropriately • Low level of responsiveness is associated with any insecure attachment – Disorganized/disoriented pattern • Child has been abused or the parent has suffered some trauma in their childhood – Avoidant pattern • Mother rejects the infant or regularly withdraws from contact with the infant Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .

S.Attachment Quality across Cultures • Culture influences attachment quality – Secure attachment is the most common pattern in all studies – Avoidant and ambivalent patterns are switched in Japan and Israel when compared to other countries • The Strange Situation may not be an effective measuring device in all cultures – Japanese children are rarely separated from mother creating too much stress in the strange situation – German researchers suggest insecure-avoidant classification may reflect explicit training towards greater independence – Israeli research suggests ties to later social skills like U. Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .

Temperament and Attachment • Emotional intensity varies from child to child – Easy children are more likely to be attached – Some children react stronger to strangers than others because of personality factors – Temperament does not influence attachment. rather it is goodness of fit between the infant’s temperament and his or her environment Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .

the tendency is for attachment quality to persist Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 .Stability and Long-Term Consequences of Attachment Quality • Stability of Attachment Classification – Consistency and inconsistency are evident in attachments over time • Consistent family circumstances – Security or insecurity are constant over many years • Inconsistent family circumstances – Attachment changes – Children can recover from an insecure attachment or lose a secure one over time – However.

disruptive – More intimate friendships – Have higher self-esteem • Securely attached in adolescence • Insecurely attached in adolescence – Avoidant likely to become sexually active early. • Securely attached—formed more friendships and had a greater sense of their abilities • Insecurely attached—showed deviant behavior. bizarre behaviors. hyperactivity. aggressive. empathic. isolation from peers. positive – Less dependent on teachers. aggressiveness Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . passivity.Long-Term Consequences of Secure and Insecure Attachments • Securely attached children – More sociable. emotionally mature. riskier sex – Sroufe longitudinal study of summer camp behavior in adol.

Copyright © Pearson Education 2010 . etc. father. other attachment figures”.Quality of Attachment in Adulthood • • Longitudinal studies show that the effects persist into adulthood – Securely attached adults tend to be more sensitive to their partners – Affects the way they behave towards their own children Main’s adult internal working models of attachment – Secure/autonomous/balanced • Objective in describing childhood and what motivated parents – Dismissing or detached • Minimize the importance of family influences • Idealize parents • Emphasize their own personal strengths – Preoccupied or enmeshed • Inconsistent or role-reversing parents • Actively struggling to please parents or angry at them • Confused and ambivalent towards parents – Assessed using the Adult Attachment Interview (AAI) in video: “name five adjectives that describe your childhood relationship w/ your mother.