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Bowlbys child development maternal deprivation hypothoses essay

Such individuals act on impulse with little regard for the consequences of their actions. For example, showing no guilt for antisocial behavior. Robertson and Bowlby 1952 believe that short-term separation from an attachment figure leads to distress i. They found three progressive stages of distress: The bowlbys child development maternal deprivation hypothoses essay cries, screams and protests angrily when the parent leaves.

They will try to cling on to the parent to stop them leaving. If separation continues the child will start to engage with other people again. They will reject the caregiver on their return and show strong signs of anger. This internal working model is a cognitive framework comprising mental representations for understanding the world, self, and others. According to Bowlby 1969the primary caregiver acts as a prototype for future relationships via the internal working model.

There are three main features of the internal working model: He believed that disruption of this primary relationship could lead to a higher incidence of juvenile delinquency, emotional difficulties, and antisocial behavior.

To test his hypothesis, he studied 44 bowlbys child development maternal deprivation hypothoses essay juvenile delinquents in a child guidance clinic. To investigate the long-term effects of maternal deprivation on people in order to see whether delinquents have suffered deprivation.

According to the Maternal Deprivation Hypothesis, breaking the maternal bond with the child during the early stages of its life is likely to have serious effects on its intellectual, social and emotional development. Between 1936 and 1939 an opportunity sample of 88 children was selected from the clinic where Bowlby worked. Of these, 44 were juvenile thieves and had been referred to him because of their stealing.

The psychologist and social worker made separate reports. A psychiatrist Bowlby then conducted an initial interview with the child and accompanying parent e. More than half of the juvenile thieves had been separated from their mothers for longer than six months during their first five years. In the control group only two had had such a separation.

None of the control group were affectionless psychopaths. Only 2 of the control group had experienced a prolonged separation in their first 5 years. He diagnosed this as a condition and called it Affectionless Psychopathy. According to Bowlby, this condition involves a lack of emotional development, characterized by a lack of concern for others, lack of guilt and inability to form meaningful and lasting relationships. The supporting evidence that Bowlby 1944 provided was in the form of clinical interviews of, and retrospective data on, those who had and had not been separated from their primary caregiver.

This meant that Bowlby was asking the participants to look back and recall separations. These memories may not be accurate. Bowlbys child development maternal deprivation hypothoses essay designed and conducted the experiment himself. Particularly as he was responsible for making the diagnosis of affectionless psychopathy.

Another criticism of the 44 thieves study was that it concluded affectionless psychopathy was caused by maternal deprivation. This is correlational data and as such only shows a relationship between these two variables. Indeed, other external variables, such as family conflict, parental income, education, etc.

The study was vulnerable to researcher bias. Bowlby conducted the psychiatric assessments himself and made the diagnoses of Affectionless Psychopathy. Consequently, his findings may have unconsciously influenced by his own expectations. This potentially undermines their validity. They studied 250 women who had lost mothers, through separation or death, before they were 17.

They found that loss of their mother through separation or death doubles the risk of depressive and anxiety disorders in adult women. The rate of depression was the highest in women whose mothers had died before the child reached the age of 6. Although Bowlby may not dispute that young children form multiple attachments, he still contends that the attachment to the mother is unique in that it is the first to appear and remains the strongest of all.

However, on both of these counts, the evidence seems to suggest otherwise. Rutter stresses that the quality of the attachment bond is the most important factor, rather than just deprivation in the critical period. Bowlby used the term maternal deprivation to refer to the separation or loss of the mother as well as the failure to develop an attachment. Are the effects of maternal deprivation as dire as Bowlby suggested? Michael Rutter 1972 wrote a book called Maternal Deprivation Re-assessed.

In the book, he suggested that Bowlby may have oversimplified the concept of maternal deprivation. Bowlby used the term 'maternal deprivation' to refer to separation from an attached figure, loss of an attached figure and failure to develop an attachment to any figure. These each have different effects, argued Rutter.

In particular, Rutter distinguished between privation and deprivation. Michael Rutter 1981 argued that if a child fails to develop an emotional bondthis is privationwhereas deprivation refers to the loss of or damage to an attachment. From his survey of research on privation, Rutter proposed that it is likely to lead initially to clinging, dependent behavior, attention-seeking and indiscriminate friendliness, then as the child matures, an inability to keep rules, form lasting relationships, or feel guilt.

He also found evidence of anti-social behavior, affectionless psychopathy, and disorders of language, intellectual development and physical growth. Rutter argues that these problems are not due solely to the lack of attachment to a mother figure, as Bowlby claimed, but to factors such as the lack of intellectual stimulation and social experiences which attachments normally provide. In addition, such problems can be overcome later in the child's development, with the right kind of care.

This suggested that they were suffering from privation, rather than deprivation, which Rutter suggested was far more deleterious to the children.

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This led to a very important study on the long-term effects of privation, carried out by Hodges and Tizard 1989. Bowlby's Maternal Deprivation is, however, supported by Harlow's 1958 research with monkeys. He showed that monkeys reared in isolation from their mother suffered emotional and social problems in older age.

The monkey's never formed an attachment privation and as such grew up to be aggressive and had problems interacting with other monkeys.

Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis

Konrad Lorenz 1935 supports Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis as the attachment process of imprinting is an innate process. Bowlby assumed that physical separation on its own could lead to deprivation but Rutter 1972 argues that it is the disruption of the attachment rather than the physical separation. This shows the influence of social factors.

  • There have been many attacks on this claim;
  • Mental Health and Infant Development, 1, 117-122;
  • The depressed mother and her one-year-old infant;
  • Some issues and some questions.

Bowlby did not take into account the quality of the substitute care. Deprivation can be avoided if there is good emotional care after separation. As he believed the mother to be the most central care giver and that this care should be given on a continuous basis an obvious implication is that mothers should not go out to work.

There have been many attacks on this claim: There is evidence that children develop better with a mother who is happy in her work, than a mother who is frustrated by staying at home Schaffer, 1990. Mourning or early inadequate care?

Outline and evaluate Bowlby's maternal deprivation hypothesis.

Reexamining the relationship of maternal loss in childhood with adult depression and anxiety. Development and Psychopathology, 4 03433-449. Their characters and home life.


International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 25 19-52107-127. Maternal care and mental health. World Health Organization Monograph. Journal of Consulting Psychology, 16 3232. Child care and the growth of love. Mental Health and Infant Development, 1, 117-122. Symposium on the contribution of current theories to an understanding of child development. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 30 4230-240. Attachment and loss vol. Attachment, communication, and the therapeutic process.

Parent-child attachment and healthy human development, 137-157. A two-year-old goes to hospital. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Medicine, 46, 425—427. Internal working models revisited. Theory, research, and clinical applications pp. The development of affective responsiveness in infant monkeys. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 102,501 -509. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30 177-97.

Bowlby's Child Development. Maternal Deprivation Hypothoses

Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels. The depressed mother and her one-year-old infant: Environment, interaction, attachment, and infant development.

Patterns of attachment in two-and three-year-olds in normal families and families with parental depression. New findings, new concepts, new approaches.

Stress, coping and development: Some issues and some questions. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22 4323-356. The development of social attachments in infancy.