Child Development 138 (03) - Hembree
Social and Emotional Development
California State University, Sacramento
Spring, 2011 


Attachment and Child Care

Discussion: What is attachment? What behaviors indicate attachment?




I.  Theories of Attachment

A.  Psychoanalytic

1.      Freud



2.      Erikson



3.   Problems with this model



B. Behaviorist

1. Drive reduction model



  • Problems with this model


  • Harlow




2.  Operant conditioning model




  • Problems: 


C. Cognitive-developmental view




D. Ethological theory  


1. development of attachment:

  • Preattachment phase (birth to 6 weeks) 


  • Attachment in the making (6 weeks to 6-8 months) 


  • Clear-cut attachment (6-8 months - 18-24 months)


  • Formation of reciprocal relationship (18 months on)


2. internal working model




II. Measuring the quality of attachment

A. Strange Situation 




1. Secure (65%) 





2. Insecure attachments:

Avoidant (20%) 


Resistant (10-15%) 



Disorganized (5-10%) 


B.  Alternative measures: 

1. Q-sort 



2. naturally-occurring separations 



3. narratives 



4. Adult Attachment Interview




III.  Research on Attachment

A. Consequences of deprivation - Spitz. 





B. Stability of attachment





C. What contributes to attachment?  

  • Temperament vs. Caregiving

1. Difficult temperament linked to insecure attachment  




2. Cultural variation 




3. Quality of  caregiving (DeWolf and van Ijzendoorm)

  • Sensitivity

  • Positive attitude

  • Synchrony

  • Mutuality

  • Support

  • Stimulation


4.  Maternal depression, family of origin effect





D. Fathers and attachment






E. Long-term effects of attachment


  • Attachment and Emotion Understanding - (Laible and Thompson)






  • Intergenerational effects  (Fonagy et al)






  •    Peer relations (Schneider et al.)



IV.  Child Care

A. Introduction (discussion)/Video




B. Progression of Child Care Research

1. Maternal employment (Is maternal employment harmful to children?)



2. Day care effects (Is nonparental care harmful?)

  • Peer skills, interaction



  • Attachment (Belsky, 1988)




  • Limitations of this research


3. Quality of care (Under what conditions is day care harmful?) 

  • What is "quality care"?





  • Effects of quality of care




4. Other factors (How does the day care environment interact with the home environment and child characteristics to affect children's  development?)

  • Child characteristics  


  • Family factors      




C. NICHD Study of Early Child Care
1. Recruitment, data collection



2.  Improvement over previous research




3. Some recent findings





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Send problems, comments or suggestions to:

California State University, Sacramento
College of Education
Department of Child Development

Updated: January, 2011

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