The Theory Of Attachment And The Separation Anxiety Test Essay

The Theory Of Attachment And The Separation Anxiety Test Essay

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The theory of attachment, developed initially by John Bowlby, has become richer due to the development of evaluation techniques, which have allowed for an advance in the conceptual and empirical body of this theory. Investigations have clearly and repeatedly shown that infants whose relationships with their parents are characterised as secure as opposed to insecure generally are more competent in later ages (Belsky and Nezworski, 1988). The methodologies for exploring infantile attachment have an indisputable interest for research and for clinical purposes, since they allow professionals to accede to the emotional world of children. In the present paper two techniques: The Strange Situation and the Separation Anxiety Test are described and evaluated.

The most noted procedure in the evaluation of attachment is The Strange Situation This methodology was designed by Ainsworth et al. (1978) to examine the strategies of attachment behavioural system of the children with their principal caregivers. The attachment system is expected to be activated by the departure and return of the caregiver. This technique is specially directed at children aged 12 to 20 months old.
The Strange Situation consists of a procedure of laboratory structured in 8 brief episodes, which provokes a moderated level of stress in the child by three different sources (a. an unknown person, b. a strange environment and c. the separation from the caregiver). This activates the attachment system. Concretely, two separations and two meetings are released by the figure of attachment that attempt to activate and deactivate the attachment system in order to observe how the child organises his behaviour according to the adult.
Due to the fact that The Strange Situatio...


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...racter (Kaplan, 1987), is based on the answers of the child. Children are classified as being “resourceful” (B), “inactive” (A), “ambivalent” (C), or “fearful” (D). Correspondence with attachment classifications was 68% for the four groups.

The use of methodologies for the evaluation of the infantile attachment is consolidated in the area of the investigation. Nevertheless, from an applied perspective, the incorporation of these procedures to the clinical practice is still insufficient (O 'Connor and Byrne, 2007). Trough the observation of children and the knowledge of the elements that form the internal models of attachment it is possible to understand the emotional needs of children and to intervene on them, thus it is very advisable that professionals working with children know, understand and use correctly the methodologies for the evaluation of the attachment.

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