The psychology of separation.docx We will use this handout in class when researching James and Joyce Robertson’s work on separation
Separation.pptx A powerpoint which introduces work on separation by The Robertsons
problem page hw.docx This sheet prompts you to apply all your knowledge of Bowlby’s theory/maternal deprivation hypotheses and of all the studies of separation/deprivation.
Long term effects of separation.doc This sheet describes Bowlby’s maternal deprivation hypothesis (MDH) and provides some supporting evidence from which you can weave your evaluation.
Visit the key studies page to find out about Bowlby’s own study ‘The 44 Thieves’ which he used to support the MDH.
How can the negative effects of deprivation be reduced?
How can negative effects be reduced?
What are the negative effects of separation/deprivation?
Protest, despair, detachment model (Robertson’s film footage of hospitals) (make sure you can describe what is meant by each of these terms)
If separation is prolonged or frequent can lead to:
- Loss of appetite
- Anaclitic depression
- Developmental retardation (intellectual delay)
Robertson and Robertson (1971) showed in their study that the effects of separation (i.e. the PDD model) were greatly reduced when children received substitute mothering from a warm, emotionally available, sensitive and responsive care-giver.
This suggests that when children are separated from their families they need to be looked after by people who are well trained in how to care for children social and emotional wellbeing, not just to meet their physical needs (such as feeding and washing them).
Joyce Robertson also …
Make sure you can evaluate this study especially talking about individual differences in the children as bad effects of separation were not reduced in all of the children
This is further supported by the study of Widdowson (1951) who showed that when a harsh and unsympathetic supervisor in the children’s home was replaced by a warmer and more caring supervisor, the children even started to grow and put on weight, reversing the effects of anaclitic depression that had set in with the previous care-giver.
However a study by Bowlby (1956) found that substitute mothering may not be completely necessary as in his study, despite separations of between 5 and 24 months for children who had been hospitalised with TB initially under the age of 4, there were no measurable ill effects; the children showed few differences in terms of educational and emotional development when compared with their peers later in childhood. It is possible that this was due to the fact that the children received regular weekly visits from their families.
This demonstrates the importance of maintaining contact with the children’s own family on a regular and predictable basis.
Studies of day care have shown how the effects of regular but short term separations can be reduced, for example, the EPPE study (Sylva et al 2004) showed that for children’s socio-emotional development to be enhanced rather than hindered, the provision must be high quality meaning that…
other ways in which the effects of separation can be reduced when children start nursery are to have a proper transition plan whereby
- the child is an assigned key worker who is the first point of contact for meeting the child’s emotional needs
- the key worker should be trained in how to fulfil this role effectively
- s/he should liaise regularly with the parents about the child’s routines, needs and progress
- the key worker should collect as much information as necessary from the parents in order to provide an experience which is consistent with the home
- the key worker may visit the child at home (on their own territory) in order that the child feels more comfortable with them
- one the first few visits the parents may stay at the nursery with the child, gradually leaving the child for longer and longer periods
- this is supported by Ahnert et al (2004) who compared attachment security in infants who were left straight away by their parents and infants whose parents used a gradual approach to starting nursery;
- the former group showed more movement from secure to insecure attachment style following the start of day care whilst those in the latter group were more likely to maintain their secure attachment
Michael Rutter noted that Bowlby did not clearly operationalise what he meant by deprivation in his maternal deprivation hypothesis and so he coined the term ‘privation’ meaning a complete failure to form an attachment (distinct from bond disruption, whereby an attahcment if formed and later broken) and suggested that some of Bowlby’s 44 juvenile thieves had experienced privation not deprivation thus accounting for their extreme antisocial behaviour.
Research suggests that the effects of privation may be more severe and pervasive than deprivation including failure to reach cognitive and language milestones and social and emotional problems such as affectionless psychopathy, which may lead to exploitation of others and a failure to experience guilt or remorse.
Case studies of children who have been neglected or abused have conflicting findings about whether the effects of privation are reversible as following rehabilitation, Genie never developed age-appropriate language skills or social behaviour, while the Koluchova twins went onto complete their education, get married and have their own children.
Further research in this area has been conducted on children living in institutions where they have not received adequate ‘mothering’ and have shown enduring social and emotional problems in comaprison to control groups who have been raised at home, (e.g. Hodges and Tizard). Further research in this area has suggested that the longer a child’s privation experience the more ingrained the effects and the more difficult it is for the child to overcome the problems.
This said studies of adopted Romanian orphans conducted by Michael Rutter in the UK have indicated that children are far more resilient than one might think, and many of these children have grown up to live fulfiling and productive lives, meaning that the jury is still out regarding the reversibility of the effects of privation.
Case studies of privation
When evaluating these studies, think about the strengths and weaknesses of the case study as a research method, but always try to make these more general methodoliogcal points relevant to the actual case study being discussed; if they do not apply to the particular study you are talkiing about, do not use them! Also when you are using these studies to argue whether privation is reversible or not, do not get carried away with details of the case description, just outline whether the child has developed normally in each area physcial, intellectual, emotional and social, if they have then this refutes the idea that privation is reversible! You should also practice comparing the studies.
- Curtiss (1977) Genie: A case study of extreme privation This is a key study that you must know inside out and it therefore has its own page to itself!
- Koluchova (1972): The Czech twins koluchova reading.docx
- Freud and Dann (1951) War Orphans: A case of privation in 6 war orphans.docx
Studies of children in institutions
- Hodges and Tizard (1989): This is a good example of a natural experiment and it is also a longitudinal study so don;t forget to use it a an example if you need to hodges and tizard.pdf hodges and tizardsummary.doc The summary does not inlcude conclusions or evalaution points which you will need to add yourselves.
- Dennis 91973): Wayne Dennis.docx
- Skodak and Skeels: privation insitution study readings.docx
Putting it all together
A page to record summaries of eahc of the studies and to make a decision about whether they support or go against the idea that the effects of privation are reversible.
A page to assess your knowledge of studies of privation; guess the study from the clues and then a writign frame to help you preparwe for an essay on privation.
Two example essays about privation and whether the effects can be reversed or not; compare the essays to the mark shcemes and see where you award marks and whether you think there is anything that could be added to improve the essays.