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Title:Day Care Infants' Attachment Behavior Toward Their Day Caregivers and Mothers as a Function of Experimental Setting
Author(s):Shapiro, Meryl R.B.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Early Childhood
Abstract:Videotaped observations of the attachment behavior of 10-31 month-old infants attending group day care were made in three different settings. Each observational session consisted of six 1-minute episodes which varied the pairing of the child's mother, day caregiver and female stranger. This investigation was designed to address a three-faceted problem, i.e., to determine (1) whether the infant's relationship to the day care teacher (caregiver) is more like that to his mother or to a stranger, not only in the day care setting, but (2) in two additional different settings, i.e., laboratory, and home, and (3) if the sex of the infant affects attachment behavior manifested toward these people in these environments.
This problem was investigated within the context of determining whether infant attachment behavior to different people varies adaptively as a function of the appropriate setting or environment, or whether, as is generally assumed, the infant will be more or less attached to different people to the same degree across different settings, i.e., once a specific relationship is formed, the relative amount of interaction will be similar regardless of the setting in which it occurs. The results suggest that the infant's relationship to the day caregiver is more like his relationship to a stranger than to his mother not only in the day care setting but in the home and unfamiliar setting and that sex of the infant did not affect attachment behavior manifested toward these people in these environments. With regard to the context of the problem, it appears that the infant as generally assumed does not vary his hierarchy of attachment figures with setting, but rather maintains an invariant hierarchy of attachment figures with mother heading the hierarchy.
The findings give further theoretical support to the ethological-evolutionary theory of attachment regarding adaptability and the construct of an invariant hierarchy. Of dual practical importance is the major finding that mother is an overwhelmingly preferred figure of attachment to both day caregiver and stranger. First it can help alleviate some of the negative emotions day care parents have in placing their infants in group day care. Additionally, it lends further support to the findings that high quality day care does not affect the infant-mother affectional bond.
Issue Date:1980
Description:139 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1980.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8108656
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-12
Date Deposited:1980

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