Mary Ainsworth on Affectional Bond - Dictionary of Arguments
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Affectional Bond/Ainsworth: Ainsworth (1989)(1) emphasized that affectional bonds differed on the basis of the behavioral system that motivated bond formation. Whereas children’s bonds with caregivers were motivated by the attachment system, the adult’s bond to the child was motivated by the caregiving system.
Bonds to a peer may be motivated by either affiliation in the case of friends or sexual and reproductive systems in the case of adult pair bonds.
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A major advance in both human and animal models of early social experience was the recognition that there was naturally occurring variability in maternal caregiving behavior. In her observations of mothers and their infants in the home environment, Mary Ainsworth developed codes for discriminating between sensitive and insensitive caregiving behavior (Ainsworth et al., 1978)(2).
Infants who experienced sensitive caregiving were subsequently classified as secure in laboratory tests using the Strange Situation paradigm (>Situation/Ainsworth) at 12 and 18 months.
Infants’ security in the Strange Situation, in turn, has predicted aspects of subsequent child adaptation in preschool, childhood, and adolescence (Sroufe et al., 2005)(3). The notion that individual differences in the quality of care received from the mother can have long-term effects on psychosocial outcomes has generally been supported in several major longitudinal studies (Belsky & Fearon, 2002)(4).
1. Ainsworth, M. S. (1989). Attachments beyond infancy. American Psychologist, 44, 709–716.
2. Ainsworth, M. D. S., Blehar, M. C., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of attachment: A psychological study of the strange situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum
3. Sroufe, L. A., Carlson, E., Egeland, B., & Collins, A. (2005). The development of the person: The Minnesota study of risk and adaptation from birth to adulthood. New York, NY: Guilford Press
4. Belsky, J., & Fearon, R. M. P. (2002). Early attachment security, subsequent maternal sensitivity, and later child development: Does continuity in development depend upon continuity of caregiving? Attachment & Human Development, 4, 361–387.
Roger Kobak, “Attachment and Early Social deprivation. Revisiting Harlow’s Monkey Studies”, in: Alan M. Slater and Paul C. Quinn (eds.) 2012. Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies. London: Sage Publications_____________Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Alan M. Slater
Paul C. Quinn
Developmental Psychology. Revisiting the Classic Studies London 2012