Ainsworth’s study “Strange Situation” showed that bonding between mother and infant
has an effect on the infant’s behavior and development. How mother’s respond to their infant’s
signals is major in the development of mother and infant relationships. Ainsworth study
investigated how attachments might vary between children, the nature of attachment behaviors
and styles of attachment. Ainsworth theory was to help prove validity to Bowlby’s attachment
theory that infants who experienced a secure attachment “is likely to see attachment figures
responsive, and helpful”.
Ainsworth (1970) used experimental procedures in order to observe the variety of
attachment forms exhibited between ...view middle of the document...
The child will not explore to far regardless of who is there and
strangers will not be treated differently from the caregiver.
Ainsworth analyzed her findings further and developed three types of attachment: secure,
avoidant, and resistant. The secure type of child seeks protection or comfort from their mother.
The secure type of infant uses the parent as a safety net to explore the environment and seek the
attachment parent in times of distress (Main, & Cassidy, 1988). The avoidant type of infant resist
attention from their mother. The resistant type of infant tends to stay close to their mother
(Fraley & Spieker, 2003).
Ainsworth’s theory about attachment has been found by many researchers to have
validity. Many researchers have duplicated Ainsworth procedures in order to examine if there is
any change over time between mother and child’s attachment styles. Many studies have shown
validity to Ainsworth findings, such as: Toni Antonucci & Mary Levitt (1984) they found
consistency between attachment styles at 7 and 13 months. Main, Kaplan & Cassidy (1985)
assessed infants before 18 months and with both mothers and fathers and then followed up with
them at the age of 6 and their findings were the same as Ainsworth. They found that 100% of the
secure infants were still secure and 75% of the anxious-avoidant were still anxious-avoidant.
Ainsworth’s research along with other research has shown that the reward for a child
during their first year of life is related to the cues from their parent.
Piaget's theory of development, highlighted for Ainsworth the important role of infant
behavior impact on infant-mother interactions both in causing maternal responses and in active
closeness seeking. This convinced Ainsworth that children are very active and much less passive
than originally thought.
Research has found that attachment patterns are indicators of how a child will develop
later in life. Children who are securely attached as infants tend to develop high self-
esteem and strong social relationships (Jacobsen & Hoffman, 1997). Avoidant children have