Attachment - Cultural Variations (Evaluation (Use Strange Situation in…
Attachment - Cultural Variations
Study: van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg
Researchers looked at
proportions of secure, insecure-avoidant and insecure-resistant attachments
across a range of countries
32 studies where the Strange Situation had been used
. This included
. 15 were in the USA. Overall the study yielded results for
Secure attachments were most common in all countries
. Ranged from 75% in Britain to 50% in China.
Individualist cultures were found to have insecure-resistant rates all under 14%
collectivist cultures (China, Japan, Israel) had rates over 25%
. Insecure-avoidant rates were also reduced in these countries. Suggests there were cultural differences in distributions of insecure attachments.
between results of studies
150% greater than
Samples may not be representative of cultures
- van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg's meta-analysis made comparisons between
Within any country there are different cultures each with different child-rearing practices
. For example, attachment types in urban Tokyo have been found to be similar to Western studies, but a more rural sample over-represented insecure-resistant individuals. Comparisons between countries may have little meaning.
Very large samples
- van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg's meta-analysis had a total of
nearly 2000 babies
and their primary attachment figures. Even Simonelli et al.'s study had large comparison groups from previous research. This
increases internal validity by reducing the impact of biased methodology or unusual participants
Use Strange Situation in studies so same evaluations apply
Very good inter-rater reliability
- different observers watching the same children generally agree on attachment type. Probably because it happens under controlled conditions and behavioural categories are easy to observe. We can be confident that attachment type given is not dependent on the observer.
May be biased towards British/American culture
- was designed by an American researcher (Ainsworth) based on British theory (Bowlby).
May not be applicable to other cultures
. Trying to apply a theory or technique from one culture to another is called
which disregard the notion of
(cultural uniqueness). Idea that lack of pleasure on reunion indicates insecure attachment is an imposed etic (in Germany this behaviour might be seen as independence and so desirable).
Study: Simonelli et al.
Assessed 76 12-month-olds using the Strange Situation to see whether proportion of attachment types still matched previous studies in Italy.
Mothers reasonably varied in terms of education levels and their professions.
50% were secure, 36% insecure-avoidant
. Lower rate of secure attachment than found in previous studies.
Possibly due to increasing numbers of mothers working long hours and using professional childcare.
However, the research also clearly shows that cultural practices have an influence on attachment type.
Secure attachment seems to be the norm in a wide range of cultures, supporting Bowlby's idea that attachment is innate and universal, and this type is the universal norm.