The findings presented in the article called Attachment, Exploration, and Separation: Illustrated by the Behavior of One-year Olds in a strange environment provide a deeper view on the concept of attachment and contribute to better understanding of possible strategies and solutions needed to promote favorable relationships between caregivers and infants.
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This assumption is based on the experiment conducted by the authors where different types of behaviors are discovered during the interaction between stranger and infant. Considering the stranger as a potential caregiver, the research allows to predict more accurate outcomes of these interactions as well as interventions that can introduced to avoid misconceptions and maltreatment.
In addition, the given research creates a solid platform for outlining the main problem and constraints that a caregiver may face while establishing secure attachment with infants in a particular setting. Consequently, despite the limitation of the research, it is still possible to resort to the highlighted assumptions for working out effective intervention strategies with reference to particular episodes.
Main Points and Details of the Experiment
In the article under analysis, the author highlights salient features of the attachment relationships as well as how they are affected by strange situations. The researcher also illustrates interactions and reports on the behavior in strange situation to draw the connection between strange-situation behavior and the one represented in observational, experimental and clinical contexts.
The research is composed of 8 episodes to observe how 56 white one-year olds behave in a strange situation. The participants include mothers, infant, stranger, and observer who behave in different ways.
The introduced episodes are aimed at defining what classes of behavior (proximity and contact-seeking, contact-maintaining, interaction-avoiding, contact and interaction-resisting, and searching) while interacting both with the mother and with the stranger.
While presenting the results of the study, the author pays particular attention to specific aspects, such visual attention to the physical environment, to the mother and to the stranger. While investigating five classes of behavior, the author has managed to find out child reaction to different episodes, such as crying and searching behavior, during all periods of exploration and separation.
The research have also shown that revealed that crying and searching as proximity-promoting behaviors have been enhanced and have remained unchanged even when the mother returns to the room. In this respect, it can be stressed that both attachment and exploratory behavior are significantly influenced by the separation within the identified timeframe.
However, infants’ reaction to separation is reminiscent of those presented by primates while separating for longer terms. In this experiment, searching and distressed callings for the mother were increased whereas exploratory behavior has been diminished.
In whole, the presented finding can give rise to the analysis of attachment establishment in a broader sense, which can also be modified under the influence of external factors.
Presenting Supporting Arguments
In the research, Ainsworth and Bell (1970) shed the light on the significance of considering the relation between attachment and exploratory behaviors, which is the key to fostering positive relations between toddlers and primary caregivers. In this findings, the researchers state, “attachment behavior is incompatible with exploratory behavior” when it is enhanced (Ainworth and Bell, 1970, p. 64).
Nevertheless “the state of being attached facilitate exploratory behaviors” and “the infant is likely to be able to use his mother as a secure base from which to explore, manifesting no alarm in even a strange situation as long as she is present” (Ainsworth and Bell, 1970, p. 64).
Judging from this, short-term absence of attachment behavior cannot be considered as it weakening, which proves the possibility of establishing secure attachment between the infant and the caregiver. More importantly, the presented episodes can be used as a part of an approach to transiting children from home to child-care establishment in a less stressful way.
Despite the fact that the study is not aimed discussing individual differences among infants, the research stipulates, “attachment relationships are qualitatively different from one attached pair to another” (Ainsworth and Bell, 1970, p. 65).
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Such an assumption provides a kind of ambivalence on the study of the concept of attachment, but this difference still provide the necessity to further discuss these issues with reliance on social and cultural factors.
In this respect, Ebbeck and Hoi Yin Bonnie (2009) support the idea that “continuation of cultural practices from home to centers may not only help infant/toddlers feel that they are accepted into the center’s culture, but may also consolidate their sense of security”.
Overview of existing limitations as well as accurate description of the experiment provided by Ainsworth and Bell (1970) contributes greatly to better understanding concerning which strategies should be implemented to eliminate psychological and individual problems during transition.
Presenting Interventions and Recommendations for Developing Health Attachment for Children
It has been recognized that promotion of positive attachment relationships between caregivers and infants is of paramount importance for psychological well-being of children. These relationships create a solid ground for future favorable intervention to providing emotion support to children. In this respect, two interventions should be implemented.
The first one will imply the extension of the adaptation period and spending more time for fostering relationships between toddlers and caregivers (Ebbeck and Hoi Yin Bonnie, 2009). The second approach will involve the enhancement of emotional and responsive reactions while communication with children.
Considering the first method in more detail, caregivers and parents should spend more time for playing, nurturing and teaching them. The next step will be the development of a long-term trust through being affectionate and loving.
Once the emotional ground has been prepared, it is possible to establish attachment relationships. At this stage, caregivers should pay close attention to the development changes happened in the course of time as well as to infants’ needs and preferences.
The second approaches can be carried through several stages as well. To begin with, a caregiver should be as emotionally available as possible; he/she should work and communicate with a child rather than wait until a child adapts to the strange situation. Finally, it is vital for child to feel comfortable in the setting where the communication takes place that should not distract infants from establishing attachment.
Such an approach will contribute greatly to building strong bonds between caregivers and toddlers where visual and oral communication should be efficient for strengthening the attachment. Importantly, cultural and social issues should also be taken into the closet consideration because they are quite helpful while transiting children from home to child-care establishments.
In conclusion, the research under analysis has greatly expanded the viewing the essence of the attachment relationships and behaviors related to this concept. Particular emphasis should be placed on the different attachment and exploratory behavior that are considered in connection.
Ainsworth, M.S., & Bell, S.M. (1970). Attachment, exploration, and separation: Illustrated by the behavior of one-year olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41(1), 49-67.
Ebbeck, M., & Hoi Yin Bonnie, Y. (2009). Rethinking attachment: fostering positive relationships between infants, toddlers and their primary caregivers. Early Child Development & Care, 179(7), 899-909.