Stages of Attachment Development Essay

Stages of Attachment Development, 483 words essay example

Essay Topic: attachment

Stages of Attachment Development
Attachment in infants develops in stages and each stage is characterized by specific infants' behavior. The first stage, known as Initial preattachment phase starts from birth and lasts about 3 months. Infants at this phase enjoy human company and shows indiscriminate attachment where they direct their attachment towards any person. As complete attachment has not formed yet, the baby is still comfortable being left with an unfamiliar person. They respond equally to any caregiver and get upset when an individual ceases to interact with them.
Attachment-in-the-making phase is the second stage in the development of attachment. It occurs at about 3 or 4 months and infants start to display preference for familiar figures, usually a primary caregiver. Attachment is strengthen during this stage where infants respond differently to preferred figures than to strangers. For instance, the infant smiles more at familiar faces and can be easily comforted by a regular caregiver than a stranger.
The third phase of attachment development occurs at about 6 or 7 months and is referred as Clear-cut-attachment phase. It is characterized by intensified dependence on the primary caregiver whom the infant seeks security, comfort and protection from. Infants generally want to be with their preferred caregiver as well as keeping the caregiver's attention on them at all times. Infant at this stage also begins to display fear of strangers (stranger anxiety) and uneasiness when separated from the primary caregiver (separation anxiety).
After approximately nine months of age, infants become increasingly independent and multiple attachments are observed in most babies. Several attachments are formed as infants usually have more than one adult caregiver. They normally form multiple attachments to the father, day-care providers, grandparents and etc.
Mary Ainsworth Strange Situation Procedure
The Strange Situation Procedure is devised by Mary Ainsworth in 1963 to study the attachment behaviours of infants and young children in the laboratory. The experiment allowed Ainsworth to systematically observe infants' reaction to separation from primary caregivers in an unfamiliar environment.
The Strange Situation experiment involved a series of events and the child's behaviours were observed through one-way mirror throughout the experiment. The mother and the infant were first placed in an unfamiliar play room equipped with toys. The infant was then briefly left alone, encountered by a stranger and eventually reunited with the mother. The complete procedure consists of the following eight episodes and each lasts approximately 3 minutes. (Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, & Wall, 1978).
1. Parent and infant are introduced to the experimental room.
2. Parent and infant are alone. Parent does not participate while infant explores.
3. Stranger enters, converses with parent, then approaches infant. Parent leaves inconspicuously.
4. First separation episode Stranger's behavior is geared to that of infant.
5. First reunion episode Parent greets and comforts infant, then leaves again.
6. Second separation episode Infant is alone.
7. Continuation of second separation episode Stranger enters and gears behavior to that of infant.
8. Second reunion episode Parent enters, greets infant, and picks up infant stranger leaves inconspicuously.

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