(p. 109) Mary Ainsworth and the Strange Situation Procedure
Mary Salter took her undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology in the 1930s at the University of Toronto. Her mentor was the director of the Institute of Child Study, William Emet Blatz. Salter completed her doctorate in 1940, based on Blatz’s ideas. Following time in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps during World War II, she rejoined the University of Toronto as assistant professor in psychology, and worked with Blatz in developing self-report measures of security and insecurity. During World War II, she worked in personnel for the Canadian Women’s Army Corps, attaining the rank of Major. She married Leonard Ainsworth in 1950, and then followed him to London, which is where she met John Bowlby (Chapter 1). In early 1954, Leonard Ainsworth accepted a position in Uganda. Whilst in Uganda with her husband, Mary Ainsworth conducted an observational study of 26 mothers and their infants living in six villages near Kampala. Mary and Leonard Ainsworth left Uganda for Baltimore in late 1955. Mary Ainsworth gained a permanent academic position at Johns Hopkins University in 1958. With funds from the William T. Grant Foundation, she began a study in 1963 of Baltimore infants and their mothers, who were visited regularly until the children were a year old. As a supplement to home observations, Ainsworth invited the mothers and infants for a laboratory-based observational procedure, which she called the Strange Situation. Ainsworth’s findings from this study were reported in numerous articles. Drawing on additional results from her students, she co-authored Patterns of Attachment in 1978, which presented a thorough report on the Strange Situation as a research methodology.1 She was unable to secure funds to replicate or extend her results, despite growing recognition of her work and election to Presidency of the Society for Research in Child Development from 1977 to 1979. Yet her pioneering and profound work established attachment as a paradigm within developmental science, offering a way beyond the opposition between frequency counts of behaviours and subjective judgement about relationships. She also mentored an astonishing cohort of developmental psychologists and clinical researchers, first at Johns Hopkins University and then at the University of Virginia.
In a letter to Everett Waters in 1985, Bowlby wrote of his intense pride at having had the opportunity to work with Mary Ainsworth. He described Ainsworth and himself as horses in (p. 110) ‘double harness’, pulling the cart along.2 This beautiful image of a sturdy, effortful partnership glosses over the fact that, at times, Bowlby and Ainsworth pulled in different directions. As Chapter 1 described, Ainsworth identified limitations in Bowlby’s ideas on several fronts. She felt that Bowlby oversimplified matters when he claimed proximity as the set-goal of the attachment behavioural system, and protection from predation as its evolutionary function. She disliked his imprecision in discussions of separation, and particularly the way that the term ‘maternal deprivation’ could absorb anything from occasional use of professional childcare through to abuse and neglect. She was frustrated that her contributions to research on hospitalised children in London in the 1950s resulted in few publications because Bowlby’s lack of empirical expertise had led to poor choice of measures. Ainsworth also had concerns about aspects of Bowlby’s account of behavioural systems, feeling that he had underplayed the sexual, exploratory, and aggression behavioural systems, and neglected adequate attention to the emotional components of behavioural systems in humans. And yet the image of two horses pulling the cart along is exactly appropriate. Ainsworth’s criticisms came from her overall sense of common purpose with Bowlby, bringing her independent intellectual perspective to shared problems, as well as her own interests.3 In a co-authored article composed largely in the months before Bowlby died and then finished by Ainsworth, the two researchers wrote that ‘their contributions to attachment theory and research interdigitated in a partnership that endured for 40 years across time and distance’.4 The word ‘interdigitated’ is a characteristically stiff one; Bowlby, especially, was a person with significant capacities for reserve. But the phrase ‘enduring across time and distance’ was actually a technical one for these two researchers: it defines one of the qualities of an attachment relationship.5 It comes from the kind of deep happiness in another person that does not require a smile or other marks of informality.
As discussed in Chapter 1, Ainsworth had worked for Bowlby as a clinical postdoctoral researcher within the Separation Research Unit from 1950 to 1953. During this time, they had been colleagues, but Bowlby’s group was run according to a strict hierarchy, with Ainsworth conducting empirical work but with little say on research design or theory development. In an interview with Robert Karen, Ainsworth recalled her experiences of Bowlby during this period: ‘He made no bones about the fact that he was single-handedly fighting the analytic establishment, that it pained him some, but that he was convinced he was on the right track. It was a long time before I felt any sense of getting close to him or being a friend. But I had no difficulty whatsoever making him into a surrogate father figure—even though he’s not much older than I.’6 They remained in touch after this, including through Ainsworth’s period in Uganda, but the correspondence had little impetus. This changed from 1960. In this year, Ainsworth and her husband divorced.7 She became quite depressed, feeling that (p. 111) her life had become empty.8 Gradually, she began to work out new plans, and these brought her into a much closer engagement with Bowlby. Ainsworth had read Bowlby’s ‘The nature of the child’s tie to his mother’ paper in 1958. The account of attachment behaviours helped her make sense of her observations of Ganda infant–caregiver dyads, in terms of both the maturational processes associated with the following response and the role of caregiving in shaping individual differences.9
In 1960 Bowlby came to visit Ainsworth in Baltimore, following his year at the Stanford Institute for Advanced Study. Bowlby discovered Ainsworth’s enthusiasm for his recent theoretical work, and the relationship was rekindled on changed terms. Bowlby remained the senior colleague. However, compared to their years working together in London, the relationship gained greater equality and affection, both of which continued to grow over subsequent years. Where Bowlby had found in ethology the heuristic frame that integrated his otherwise diverse observations, Ainsworth found this in Bowlby’s work, supporting her thinking about infant behaviour and infant–caregiver interaction.10 Yet Ainsworth also found in Bowlby’s ideas from 1958 onwards a deep and persuasive account of the human condition, offering a unifying perspective on relatedness, development, and how we respond when our needs are not met. She saw in attachment theory qualities that resembled existentialist philosophy in its careful reflection on relationships, the uncomfortable feelings that stem from them, and what these suggest about the nature of a human life.11
Following her divorce, Ainsworth also entered into what would be eight years of therapy, which she later described as perhaps ‘the most important positive influence on my career’.12 It is hardly possible to understand Ainsworth’s intellectual orientation, and therefore her contribution to developmental science from the 1960s onwards, without attention to this ‘most important positive influence’. For this reason, Ainsworth was herself candid about her therapy in autobiographical writings as well as in interview. At the start, therapy initially provided ‘some core of stability in what would otherwise be a confused and confusing period’.13 Over the years, however, Ainsworth felt that she gained a greatly deepened understanding of psychological processes, especially emotional life, its conflicts, and forms of defence or inhibition.14 In a late interview, Ainsworth recalled the exploration and learning of her time in therapy. She came to acknowledge and understand ‘the feelings of warmth, love and security’ she received from her relationship with her father. Her mother was jealous of this closeness between father and daughter, and banned her from seeking physical proximity (p. 112) with her father.15 Though her mother made Ainsworth feel rejected, anger in response to this rejection was unacceptable, to the point that Ainsworth lost access to that emotion: ‘I got to the point of not ever being able to feel angry. I would just feel hurt.’16
Therapy also helped Ainsworth think through the rubble and emotional fallout that followed her divorce, and especially her grief that she had been unable to have a child.17 Her one pregnancy had ended in a miscarriage. She would later reflect to Bowlby that she felt that her grief and preoccupied longing for a child ultimately became transfigured into perceptiveness.18 This entailed an unusual ability to see things from the baby’s point of view, through both an awareness of infants’ signals and communications and acuity in interpreting them. In a sense, all subsequent attachment researchers after Ainsworth would, one by one, unknowingly light their own work with the spill from this transfigured loss.
As her therapy was coming to an end, Ainsworth composed an important article, ‘Object relations, dependency and attachment’, published in 1969, comparing Bowlby’s ideas with the mainstream psychoanalytic ideas of the day, and highlighting the strengths of both. In particular, she argued that it was in considering the qualities of individual differences that ‘psychoanalysts have made a valuable contribution’:
They have not been concerned so much with the quantitative dimension of object relations—stronger or weaker love or attachment—as with the qualitative variations among different object relations. How ambivalent is the relationship, what admixture of love and hate, and how well is the ambivalence resolved? How anxious is the relationship? How is it affected by the person’s defenses against anxiety?19
Ainsworth’s stable academic position at Johns Hopkins, her experiences of ethnographic observation in Uganda, and her subsequent thinking about attachment all fed into plans to develop a longitudinal study of infant development, based on detailed observations of Baltimore infants and mothers at home. This plan was difficult to implement. Ainsworth had great trouble finding funds for such a study. Reviewers did not appreciate her desire for in-depth work with a small sample, or her intention to examine many aspects of interaction. And they regarded as unscientific her wish to develop scales after having conducted qualitative analysis to explore emergent findings.20
(p. 113) She eventually received a fraction of the money that she requested from the William T. Grant Foundation, and was able to begin a study in 1963. The multifaceted nature of this longitudinal study allowed Ainsworth to use many of the skills and insights she had previously developed, including attention to feelings of security and insecurity (from Blatz); close observational study (from work with Robertson in London, and then from her Uganda ethnography); and a personal interest in affection, anger, anxiety, the wish for physical contact, and the inhibition of these feelings (from her therapy). Together, these skills and insights combined to give Ainsworth the desire and ability to take on the challenge of empirically examining Bowlby’s hypothesis that early relationships with attachment figures would shape the expression of the attachment behavioural system. This was a radical project. Until Ainsworth, hypotheses about defence mechanisms in young children had been mostly regarded as untestable; the skill of even young children in regulating and redirecting affect, familiar to every clinician working with children, had been regarded as outside the domain of science.
Security and independence
Ainsworth’s concern with feelings of security originated in the lectures she attended with Blatz. Blatz hypothesised a number of distinct needs including food, sex, rest, and novelty.21 According to Blatz, feelings of security are generated if an individual feels their actions will not harm access to the meeting of these needs, whether by the individual themselves or by someone else. Security means that it is possible for an individual to try things out, even to fail or retract a commitment, without this having relevance to whether their needs will be met. By contrast, Blatz proposed that feelings of insecurity are caused by concern that needs might be left unmet. Such concerns prompt anxiety and/or the use of defences.22 Blatz argued that when an individual feels secure this allows them to turn their attention to other matters. As such, in early life, parents who are able to give children confidence in their availability to meet their needs in general will offer what Blatz referred to as a ‘secure base’ from which to explore the world, headlong and fully, without the need for excessive caution or control.
Ainsworth took from Blatz the idea that against this ‘generally secure background, the infant or young child becomes able to tolerate some degree of insecurity’.23 Security allows the child to accept the uncertainties inherent in human relationships without defensiveness, and to seek support within relationships as needed. Ainsworth followed Blatz in the suggestion that security also forms a feature of a broader experience of life: ‘the person feels that he belongs, not only in his more or less intimate relationships, but in the world at large, and that the contribution he has to make is somehow significant in the larger scheme of things. This is in contrast to the feeling of insignificance, helplessness, and isolation that characterises insecurity.’24 On Ainsworth’s interpretation, Blatz’s work highlighted that, in a deep (p. 114) sense, the people we need are ultimately independent of us. Others’ independence can be regarded as a source of worry or as a source of reassurance, depending on what this freedom has implied in the past. If the independence of others can be the basis of security and reduce anxiety, it can nonetheless also be an irreducible threat, and may even expand the scope of potential anxiety: ‘no matter how secure a person may be in his everyday life, his security will be shaken when he first encounters catastrophe, serious illness, injury, or the possibility of death, whether the threat is directed towards himself or towards other people on whom his security depends’.25
Blatz’s security theory had a powerful appeal for Ainsworth, especially as compared with other theories available at the time. It offered a model of thinking about development in terms of both individual needs and environmental experiences, in which each had a role in shaping the other. Furthermore, the model acknowledged the potential role of different sources of security for one another, so that even if security in family relationships had a particular primacy since it related to a wide variety of needs, this sense of security in family relationships was in turn influenced by various other sources of security or insecurity for a person in childhood and over the lifespan26—not least economic insecurity, and the political security of civil rights.27 For Ainsworth, following Blatz, a feeling that emergencies can or cannot be confidently handled in social relationships, in athletic or cultural activities for instance, can in turn influence the security of family relationships. In this, Blatz’s account differed in important ways from the emphasis of the day in psychoanalytic theory on innate drives and the singular primacy of the family, and the emphasis in behaviourist approaches on learned responses.
Indeed, in one of her final publications, Ainsworth would take a Blatzian approach to offer a criticism of attachment research: ‘By focusing so closely on intimacies some attachment researchers have come to conceive of them as the only source of security—which is a pity.’28 The ethological concept of security in the use of the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven was, for Ainsworth, a particular form of a broader concept of security. Other sources of security are not detailed in theoretical terms by Ainsworth, but might include reliable experiences of successful exploration, and reliable experiences of safety when the fear system is activated. Such a broader cross-domain concept of ‘security’ seems to have been inherited only by Ainsworth’s direct students and immediate collaborators, presumably as a result of oral transmission.29 Shaver and colleagues also later adopted a broader conceptualisation of security, though seemingly without awareness of Ainsworth’s stance (Chapter 5).
(p. 115) Both psychoanalytic and behaviourist theories of the 1940s and 1950s presumed that infants would be more clingy and dependent the more their needs were satisfied. They assumed continuities in the form of behaviour with development. Blatz’s model led to the exact opposite conclusion. Blatz’s perspective suggested that confidence and an appropriate level of self-reliance would grow out of experiences of being able to rely and rest our weight upon others, and of their availability to help us as needed. Though this was not a point made clear by Blatz himself, Ainsworth drew the implication that mutual reliance within family relationships and an independent and confident attitude in other areas of life could be compatible. In fact, Ainsworth concluded, forming close relationships is itself a human need. As a result, insecurity will result if these are not available, and security will provide a springboard for confident and flexible action in other areas such as in school and work.30
Harry Harlow and Robert Zimmermann had used the phrase ‘haven of safety’ to refer to the way that an infant’s alarm and motivation to seek their caregiver would be terminated once they achieved proximity with the caregiver.31 Ainsworth cultivated the concept of ‘secure base’ to refer to the way that an infant—or, indeed, humans in general—can feel free to explore the world with confidence, as he or she knows that protection and care is available if needed.32 A secure base permits negative experiences in the world, even pain, to feel more bearable and less overwhelming.33 Harlow and Zimmerman’s ‘haven of safety’ was about termination of the attachment behavioural system and its associated distress. By contrast, the concept of ‘secure base’ was not, for Ainsworth, primarily about the achievement of independent self-reliance, as has sometimes been presumed by anthropologist critics.34 Instead, seen in the context of Ainsworth’s debt to Blatz, the secure base concept was more about the role that a person can play in helping another to live a larger life than the latter would be able to on their own, with the freedom to chase and tumble after the world without worry.35 This (p. 116) may have been hidden somewhat by the overridingly spatial and territorial image of a secure base,36 resulting from Ainsworth’s insertion of Blatz’s concept into the Hinde–Bowlby ethological account of proximity-maintenance.
Ainsworth was the first to attempt to develop empirical measures based on Blatz’s idea of security.37 In her 1958 book Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment, Ainsworth reported findings from her use of self-report measures of security, drawing on the skills in measure design and administration from her time as an Army Examiner (personnel selection) during World War II.38 However, the self-report scales did not generate results that particularly interested her. This work also led her to conclude that individuals with a chronic experience of insecurity, especially from childhood, may develop anxiety and/or defences to such a degree that self-report measures lose validity.39 Such a person may be ‘so handicapped in his communication with others and in insight into his own needs and feelings that pencil-and-paper tests cannot reflect the nature and extent of his maladjustment’.40 Ainsworth would later conduct a study, which remained unpublished, utilizing the scales to assess patients in a psychiatric hospital. She found that her scales ‘did indeed highlight depression. Those emerging with highly insecure scores felt insecure and unhappy and readily said so.’ However, her items failed to differentiate patients with anxiety disorders, paranoid and psychotic symptoms, and those with personality disorders.41 Ainsworth came increasingly to question whether security was, as Blatz had assumed, solely a conscious attitude, measurable in a valid way using self-report methodology.
In 1953, Leonard Ainsworth took up a job at the East Africa Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda. Ainsworth joined him for their two-year stay.42 This was a period of (p. 117) growing demands for political independence. The colonial British government seemed to be seeking to encourage Ugandan independence whilst fearing what it might bring.43 Social scientists were being encouraged by the colonial government to pursue ethnographic and social scientific studies in Uganda, in an attempt to understand and respond to these tensions.44 Together with her husband, Ainsworth pursued some research explicitly studying political attitudes in Uganda and sociological factors that might contribute to insurrection against the colonial government.45 This was, in a sense, the ‘day job’.
However, Ainsworth’s primary concern was to continue the study of early infant–caregiver relationships, which had been the focus of Bowlby’s research group. She received funding for this from the anthropologist Audrey Richards, the director of the East Africa Institute of Social Research.46 The condition of the funding was that Ainsworth pursue research with a significant qualitative, ethnographic component. With Robertson’s detailed notes on hospitalised children as a model, Ainsworth embarked on an ethnographic study of 26 mother–infant dyads from villages near to Kampala, visiting families for two hours, twice a month, over a nine-month period. Seeking to offer recompense that would disturb as little as possible the opportunity for naturalistic observation, Ainsworth paid for the healthcare of her participants. The political context of Uganda is notable in its absence from Ainsworth’s Infancy in Uganda, published in 1967. She seems to have separated her research with the mother–infant dyads from her attitudinal research with her by-then-former husband. The attitudinal research may have had associations with her painful divorce, though it also clearly interested her less. Throughout Infancy in Uganda, however, she displayed great attentiveness to the effects of poverty on the care that families could offer their children, as well as other observable aspects of the families’ social context.
One early discovery from Ainsworth’s observations was the variety of forms of attachment behaviour. Whereas Bowlby had built from Hinde’s work in modelling the attachment behavioural system on the following response and approach through locomotion, Ainsworth documented that the attachment behavioural system could be terminated by various other behavioural sequences that predictably led to the caregiver’s availability. These included crying, smiling, or vocalisation directed towards the caregiver; scrambling on the mother’s body or nestling into her lap; raising arms or clapping in greeting; and crying when she left the house.47 She found that the infants used these different behavioural sequences flexibly, depending on present context, but that they seemed to have preferred forms of attachment behaviour built up through routine interaction and experience.
Ainsworth suspected that human evolution had led many of these behaviours to be especially easy for children to learn.48 However, she also emphasised the role of childcare (p. 118) culture in shaping their possibility, frequency, and intensity of expression. The clearest example was clapping hands in greeting on reunion: Ainsworth saw this frequently among the Ugandan infants, who were enculturated to treat this as a way to express greeting. By contrast, Ainsworth never saw this form of greeting behaviour towards attachment figures among American infants.49 Ainsworth was also attentive to relationship-level differences that could prompt differences in the display of attachment behaviours. Some children, for example, seemed more or less inclined to physically follow their caregivers. A large part of such preferences seemed to Ainsworth to be shaped by how the caregivers responded when the infant followed them. Another influence seemed to be the position of the relationship within the broader life of the infant: the same child might show different configurations of attachment behaviour towards different caregivers, and at different times. One infant, for instance, tended to preferentially follow her older sister when she was home, even above her mother, but did not necessarily seek to be held. However, when the infant was ill, she showed a strong preference for her mother, and wanted to be held all the time.50
One important line of difference among the Ganda infants was that ‘there were some babies, who seemed clearly attached to their mothers, who did not dependably cry, follow or cling when their mothers showed signs of leaving’.51 Some of these infants appeared relatively unruffled by signs of impending separation, seeming confident in the availability of another caregiver, or in the expectation that the separation would be brief and unthreatening. Another set seemed to have had insufficient interaction with their caregiver, for instance if they were often away for long periods; Ainsworth would wonder whether they had, in fact, developed an attachment relationship yet.52 A further group of infants, however, were clearly attached and seemed concerned about their caregiver’s availability, yet did not show attachment behaviours on separation. These infants tended to be those whose caregivers were less responsive to their signals when the child was distressed. However, Ainsworth also noticed that some infants who seemed less confident in their caregiver’s availability displaced insistent and frequent attachment behaviours. It appeared to Ainsworth that a child’s lack of confidence in their caregiver’s responsiveness could be expressed in a variety of ways.
Ainsworth anticipated that an ordinary attachment relationship makes use of proximity-seeking only occasionally, or under circumstances of alarm. Most of the time, interactions to affirm caregiver availability are achieved through expression, movement, gesture, and vocalisation at a distance. It was, on Ainsworth’s observation, only ‘the anxious infant who requires close physical contact with his mother, and who is not content to maintain interaction through a middle distance at least part of the time’.53 For instance, one mother had to work very long hours in a desperate effort to establish a new garden in order to ensure (p. 119) food for the family, and left the baby with a neighbour during this time. Even when mother and baby were together, the mother was too tired to respond with patience to her child. Ainsworth described ‘a vicious spiral’ in some of the dyads in her sample in which ‘the baby’s fussy demands exasperated the mother, who then overtly or covertly rejected the baby, who in turn responded to the rejection by anxiety and by increasing his demands’.54 Reflecting on these behavioural observations, Ainsworth identified that diverse forms of attachment behaviour could generally have the predictable outcome of increasing proximity with the caregiver, but that some repetoires seemed to risk alienating the caregiver. However, at the time of writing Infancy in Uganda, Bowlby’s control system model of the attachment behavioural system was not yet available to Ainsworth for interpreting her observations.
Ainsworth’s study utilised qualitative observation and also the construction of quantitative scales. As she analysed her quantitative data, an unexpected finding emerged. Two variables stood out as predictors of infants who appeared to be able to effectively use their caregiver as a secure base and safe haven.55 One was the quantitative amount of care provided by the mother. This supported Bowlby’s emphasis on the importance of hours of care by a primary caregiver (Chapter 1). Ainsworth, however, distrusted the finding. Though she felt she lacked firm data, her general impression was that it was not the amount of care, but—at least above a minimum threshold—how the care was provided that most contributed to security. She interpreted the finding as indicating that whilst quality of care is most important for security, the caregiver’s understanding of her child’s signals can be hindered if there is insufficient opportunity to learn about them. The qualities and the quantitative extent of care were both, she suspected, also shaped by the attitude of the caregivers towards their infants.56
A second variable that stood out as a good predictor of use of the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven in Ainsworth’s Uganda data was the extent to which the mothers could give a lively account when interviewed about their infant. This was not so much details of the child’s schedule as ‘idiosyncracies and sensitive little things that testify to a mother’s interested perception’.57 This was unexpected: it was not obvious why a mother’s capacity to talk freely and fully with Ainsworth should be associated with her infant’s behaviour towards her when worried or on separation. Ainsworth concluded again that both the mother’s capacity to offer an effective interview about her caregiving and her infant’s attachment behaviour reflected the depth and fluency of her engagement in the caregiving role.58 The relationship between maternal coherence in interview and infant attachment behaviours would recur as a central theme in the work of Ainsworth’s student Mary Main (Chapter 3).59
(p. 120) The Baltimore study
Her observations in Uganda confirmed for Ainsworth the value of exploratory observational research with mother–infant dyads in the home. As discussed in the ‘Introduction’, after joining Johns Hopkins University in 1958, she was successful in obtaining a grant to begin a short-term longitudinal study from 1963. The study was undertaken to examine the role of caregiving factors in shaping the development of infant attachment relationships and attachment behaviour. Fifteen families were observed from 1963 to 1964 by Ainsworth and her assistant Barbara Wittig; eleven families were observed from 1966 to 1967 by Ainsworth’s assistants Bob Marvin and George Allyn, thanks to additional funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). Baltimore during this period was in the process of losing its industrial base, and the net population of the city was in decline. However, this demographic shift comprised two trends: a rapid decline in the white middle-class population of the city, and a less rapid but still substantial increase in the African-American population, living in poverty and facing substantial discrimination.60 Ainsworth wanted to understand infant–caregiver interaction under favourable socioeconomic conditions in order to reduce confounds and complexity for her exploration of the role of caregiver–infant interaction on attachment. As a result, she sought a sample of white and middle-class families, recruiting through paediatricians. Visits were made approximately every three weeks from three weeks after the child’s birth to 54 weeks . They generally took place during office hours, with the consequence that the mother was home with the baby and the father was out at work. Ainsworth reported that visits, at least in the first wave of work, lasted around four hours,resulting in 72 hours of home observation for each dyad.61 ‘It is a very onerous and time-consuming research’, Ainsworth wrote, ‘but it has captured me heart and soul’.62
Looking back a few years later, Ainsworth reported that she felt that her study had aligned with a growing interest from the scientific community and the public in the naturalistic development of children and in family relationships.63 Ainsworth’s observers were responsive to overtures by the mother, baby, or others in the house, since to do otherwise would have been rude and disruptive. However, they otherwise kept from interfering with ongoing activities, and above all avoided any implied judgement of the mother’s behaviour. The observers wrote what they saw, and after the visit narrated an account onto tape. These records used ‘common English usage in describing behaviour, with all of its advantages and disadvantages. The advantages were that the descriptions were vivid; the disadvantages were that the same verbal labels might be used to describe different behaviours, with only the qualifying words and the context serving to differentiate them, whereas different verbal labels might be used with reference to behaviours that were essentially similar.’64 Observers made (p. 121) home visits individually and took written notes; observer reliability was not assessed, except on a few occasions when Ainsworth accompanied one of her students on a visit.
Whilst the Baltimore sample was generally reported in print by Ainsworth as a randomly selected community sample, albeit all middle-class, in fact in a late interview she acknowledged that ‘the pediatricians who recruited potential participants for us tended to select women who interested them—“this one is a charmer, that one puzzles me, I wonder how motherhood will work out for this one”—and that this led to our getting a particularly diverse group’.65 This approach to recruitment may have somewhat increased potential lines of difference between participants, making contrasts sharper. At a statistical level, it made it more likely that Ainsworth’s data would appear to be categorically rather than dimensionally distributed, compared to the population from which the sample is drawn. This effect would likely have been intensified by the fact that Barbara Wittig only wrote up half of her observations many months after her home visits, contributing to sharper contrasts through potential recollection biases.66 As Ainsworth and her group began to analyse the data, they began to notice such a distribution. In a letter to Bowlby from 1967, Ainsworth wrote:
One of my impressions of my current sample is so bizarre that I hesitate to mention it. I can dichotomise my mother–infant pairs. On one side are the good mothers with the normally-attached infants and on the other side are the non-good mothers with infants who are not normally attached. The not-good mothers are diverse and so are their infants. But, and this is the bizarre part, there seems to be no truly middle or average group. Our ratings reflect this. Usually rating scales tend to lump most cases in the middle … I find our ratings tend towards the extremes with the middle of the scales scarcely represented in the sample. At first I scolded my team for halo effect, and urged them to judge the variables separately and to feel free to use the scale-points intermediate between the extremes—but when we went into it more deeply, and really tried to get rid of the halo effect it looks as though there is another genuine effect which truly does dichotomise the sample.67
The sharpening of certain contrasts in the data may have helped Ainsworth and colleagues find order within the astonishing detail of the information they had collected. Yet it may also have overstrengthened certain signals, such as perhaps the centrality of caregiver sensitivity for secure attachment, discussed below.68
(p. 122) Sensitivity
Perhaps the most important contribution made by the Ainsworth’s home observation study was her development of a construct, ‘sensitivity’, which sought to capture this quality of caregiving.69 This construct would have as much influence on the direction of subsequent attachment research as Bowlby’s headline term ‘attachment’, though not on reception of the theory by the public, practitioners, and researchers in other fields. The term ‘sensitivity’ was used by Ainsworth from the late 1960s in a wholly technical sense, described in her unpublished manuscript ‘Sensitivity vs. Insensitivity to the Baby’s Signals Scale’. This manuscript would eventually appear in print only in the 2015 reissue of Patterns of Attachment by Waters.70 In Ainsworth’s usage, the term ‘sensitivity’ referred to the ability of the caregiver to ‘perceive and to interpret accurately the signals and communications implicit in her infant’s behavior, and given this understanding, to respond to them appropriately and promptly’.71 Conversely, insensitive caregiving had the same four components in reverse: less awareness of the child’s signals; inaccuracies in interpreting them; inappropriate responses to the signals; and a lack of timeliness in these responses. Until that point, researchers in developmental psychology had tended to regard relationships as incalculable aspects of human life: too ‘squidgy’ and amorphous to measure in themselves.
The first component of sensitivity was ‘awareness’. Ainsworth conceptualised awareness in terms of the ‘threshold’ at which a caregiver would become responsive to infant cues: at a higher threshold, only the baby’s most blatant and obvious communications prompt a response, whereas caregivers with ‘the highest thresholds seem often oblivious, and are, in effect, highly inaccessible’.72 A high threshold for awareness of infant cues also contributes, Ainsworth suggested, to poor accuracy in interpreting them, since when these signals do break through to the caregiver’s awareness, they do so without contextual information such as what prompted them. This means that interactions are often less satisfying, and can be poorly coordinated, incomplete, or even somewhat fragmentary. However, even caregivers with a low threshold for awareness may have poor accuracy for interpreting infant signals if ‘perception is distorted by projection, denial, or other marked defensive operations’.73 When caregivers are able to perceive and to interpret signals accurately, the child’s whole behavioural repertoire takes on signal value, as having relevance for understanding the infant’s experience and the implications that stem from this.74
(p. 123) As Waters and colleagues observed, a problem with the term ‘sensitivity’ is that it comes with familiar, ordinary language connotations: ‘Sensitivity suggests warmth, tenderness, and attention to detail.’75 If this were what Ainsworth’s scale measured, these would be qualities that, in theory, could be assessed with a checklist. They would also be overtly ethnocentric as a cultural ideal of parenting.76 It is unsurprising that these ordinary language connotations were what Ainsworth’s critics presumed that she meant, since the scale itself remained unpublished! In fact, however, what Ainsworth operationalised with her scale was—mostly—something quite different to what her critics presumed. It is true that at times she slid towards the everyday language connotations of sensitivity in using ‘warm’ as a characterisation of the sensitive caregiver; this led many later attachment researchers to include warmth in their assessments of sensitivity or extrapolation of assessments of sensitivity of caregiving provided to older children.77 However—contrary to Bowlby’s expectations78—Ainsworth herself found that maternal warmth was not associated with infant attachment security in her Uganda data.79
In fact, Main recalled that Ainsworth’s work on the sensitivity scale was actually prompted by the finding that there was no association between maternal warmth and infant behaviour in the Strange Situation.80 Later researchers, including Egeland and colleagues (Chapter 4), confirmed that many caregivers can be warm and display tenderness without being sensitive in Ainsworth’s technical sense.81 Ainsworth’s construct of ‘sensitivity’ primarily captured the extent to which caregivers detect and successfully interpret behaviours that may convey their child’s experience, and offer a relevant response in a timely manner. This was an assessment more of the form than the content of interactions, allowing for a huge variety of ways in which these formal features may be met within caregiving practices, whilst also anchoring these features in concrete examples.82
(p. 124) Ainsworth’s concept of attending to the infant’s signals has been interpreted by some critics as ethnocentric. They construe Ainsworth as ascribing a kind of liberal autonomy to the infant, and valuing autonomy and individual will over connectedness and joint needs.83 Certainly there is evidence that Ainsworth personally valued acknowledgement of infant autonomy: another of her scales—‘Interference with baby’s ongoing behavior’—characterised the ‘highly interfering mother’ as one with ‘no respect for her baby as a separate, active, and autonomous person’.84 However, it is not clear that criticism of Ainsworth’s liberal values applies to the sensitivity scale, and may have been influenced by the connotation of the word ‘sensitivity’ as non-conflictual interaction; the criticism does not appear to be grounded in observation of how coders actually use the scale in practice.
Various critics have interpreted Ainsworth’s notion of sensitivity as mandating that ‘the normative imperative is to take the infant’s cue’,85 an oppressive demand on mothers. Again, this interpretation seems shaped by the lack of availability of Ainsworth’s sensitivity scale, showing actually what it measured. For a caregiver to respond to signals does not necessarily mean obedience to a child’s dictates. The sensitive caregiver, Ainsworth proposed, ‘acknowledges the baby’s wishes even though she does not unconditionally accede to them’, since much of what is ‘for the baby’s own good is done contrary to his wishes’.86 The caregiver is supporting the infant to achieve a sense that there is contingency between the infant’s activity and the activity of the world, even when this contingency and acknowledgement of agency comes together with a response that is contrary to the baby’s wishes. There is some ambiguity in Ainsworth’s account on this matter, however. Despite having acknowledged that much of what is done for the baby’s own good is contrary to his wishes, the highest point on the sensitivity scale identifies a caregiver who ‘nearly always gives B what he indicates that he wants, although perhaps not invariably so’. The difference between acknowledgement of infancy signals and following of infant signals is a somewhat unstable distinction for Ainsworth, in part because she underspecified what actually is being signalled.
The signals Ainsworth anticipated that a sensitive caregiver will attend to include the baby’s ‘tempo, state and communications’.87 However, tempo, state, and communications are quite different phenomena, and responding to them has quite different challenges and consequences. Not least, an important aspect of sensitivity is the active support of helping a child interpret their state—for instance, whether they feel hurt after falling over—rather than the (p. 125) passive receipt of pre-formed signals from an ‘autonomous’ infant.88 Admittedly, even advocates of Ainsworth’s coding system acknowledged that it is relatively poor at explicitly indexing caregiver behaviour that pre-empts infant signals, so that these are not shown.89 Ainsworth’s overarching point, however, was that detection and response to tempo, state, and communications are all part of sensitivity, as are responses that attend to the baby’s experience as a whole, rather than necessarily either following their wishes or waiting for their signals. Some forms of insensitivity can come from lack of awareness or inaccurate interpretation of tempo, state, and communications. But Ainsworth believed that significant insensitivity is most likely when caregivers are geared largely by their own experience, rather than taking that of the infant into account. This did not imply ascription of full autonomy or personhood to the baby or the assumption that a baby, like a liberal citizen, can be assumed to know his or her own wishes.90 It did, however, imply some attribution to the baby of a capacity for experience relevant to the caregiver’s actions, revealed to some extent in the baby’s mood and behaviour.91
Ainsworth identified that her measure of sensitivity had a high degree of stability over time in her Baltimore sample, a finding replicated by later researchers working with samples of caregiver–infant dyads drawn from the community.92 Later researchers also found that, remarkably, even if Ainsworth’s sensitivity scale was built for observations of infant–caregiver interactions, the principles could readily be extrapolated to different ages without needing to be recast. The construct of sensitivity as the perception and accurate interpretation of signals, together with a prompt and appropriate response, has as much relevance for setting boundaries with a toddler as it does in identifying the needs of an infant.93 Yet, already in infancy there are varied important aspects of caregiving that are not reducible to (p. 126) awareness and accurate interpretation of the child’s signals.94 Some of these may be valuable in particular ecological and cultural contexts.95 Others may have some claim to more general relevance.96 For instance, an important later addition to Ainsworth’s concern with sensitivity has come with growing attention amongst attachment researchers to the caregiving provided by traumatised or abusive parents (Chapter 3).
Ainsworth found that caregiver sensitivity predicted children’s cooperativeness, distress, and aggression on brief everyday separations within the home, and other positive aspects of their home behaviour.97 Later researchers confirmed these findings, and contributed other associations of sensitivity with psychological, linguistic, neurological, and even immunological correlates.98 For example, Manning, Davies, and Cicchetti documented that caregiver sensitivity fully buffered the association between toddlers’ exposure to partner violence and their later behavioural problems and prosocial behaviour. As Manning and colleagues observed, this finding was theoretically expectable since sensitivity signals the capacity of the parent to provide a safe base and secure haven, a capacity that can be anticipated to help regulate the difficult feelings evoked for children in violent family contexts.99 Such associations have provided evidence of predictive validity by confirming Ainsworth’s interpretation of sensitivity as relevant to a child’s later development.
Yet, as well as supporting Ainsworth’s concern with sensitivity, later researchers altered some aspects of Ainsworth’s approach to measuring it. Caregiver sensitivity has often subsequently been assessed in the context of play; this was a significant part of the activity observed by the naturalistic observation of Ainsworth and her students.100 But it is not clear that play is a good environment for understanding attachment processes specifically, especially given that subsequent attachment researchers observed dyads for much briefer periods than Ainsworth’s study.101 It is possible that some infant signals are more attachment-relevant (p. 127) than others, though this will be a matter of degree. Leerkes and colleagues drew a distinction between sensitivity to signals suggesting infant distress and sensitivity to non-distress signals. They found that only the former predicted later child attachment, conduct problems, and social competence, as Ainsworth expected. The effect was particularly strong for children who appeared temperamentally inclined to be easily distressed. By contrast, caregiver sensitivity to non-distress signals did not have this effect, at least in the shorter observations used in studies after Ainsworth.102 Though a qualification of Ainsworth’s operationalisation of sensitivity, this finding is exactly in line with her theory, since signals suggesting infant distress would have particular relevance to the attachment behavioural system, and to the provision of a safe haven in particular.
Bowlby vs Ainsworth on feeding
Ainsworth’s inquiries in Uganda and in Baltimore sought to examine the caregiving behaviours associated with the development of attachment behaviour and an infant’s confidence in his or her caregiver. One form of caregiving behaviour of particular salience at the time was infant feeding, given the emphasis psychoanalysis had placed on the pleasure of feeding in shaping the infant–caregiver relationship. Chapter 1 described how the rejection of Bowlby’s ‘Child’s tie’ paper by Klein and her followers in 1957 was a defining moment in his career and contributed in a profound way to his expectation that his ideas would be rejected. In particular, the Kleinians made repeated attacks on Bowlby for underplaying the importance of feeding in the origins of ambivalence within family relationships. As a consequence, only in the most passing references did Bowlby acknowledge that feeding deserved the status of a behavioural system.103 For the rest of his career, Bowlby heaped scorn on anyone who assigned importance to feeding interactions for later psychological development: ‘It seemed to me the feeding variable was totally irrelevant, or almost totally irrelevant.’104
However, this put Bowlby at odds with Ainsworth. In Uganda, Ainsworth observed that reductions in breastfeeding, such as weaning, would lead to an increase in attachment behaviour by infants. Her Baltimore home observations led her to the conviction that social interactions around feeding were relevant to the development of the child–parent attachment relationship. In January 1967, she wrote to Bowlby to say that she was ‘astonished and—yes—horrified at the tension and anxiety which attended feeding in the majority of infant–mother pairs’. The feeding interaction was clearly one that both caregiver and infant regarded as important, complex, and troubling.105 Ainsworth did not agree with the Kleinian perspective, or regard feeding as offering insight into an infant’s motivational underpinnings. However, she saw the way that infant feeding served as a close interactive behaviour that required skill, (p. 128) prompted complex emotions in caregivers, and afforded opportunities to observe a higher rate of interaction than during many other activities.
In April, having received an early draft of Attachment, Volume 1, Ainsworth was full of enthusiasm for the book. However, she was critical of Bowlby’s perception that in order to show the importance of attachment, he must downplay feeding interactions:
While agreeing with all that you say in the chapters you sent to me, I feel that there is still something to be said about feeding and especially about mother–infant interaction in the feeding situation. I hope that there may be room in your Chapter 10 to restore the balance. I think you have pushed feeding behaviour very much out of the picture … Far too many people confuse what happens in the so-called ‘oral phase’ with orality. There is obviously much that goes on in the first year of life that is not linked in any way with hunger, feeding behaviour, nurturance, dependence and the link. Nevertheless in my American sample such a large proportion of the interaction between infant and mother during the first three months of life took place in the feeding situation or relevant to it.106
In Ainsworth’s home observation data, infant signals related to feeding were a powerful predictor of later attachment.107 She agreed with Bowlby that this was not because the child’s tie to his or her mother occurs because of a need for food. However, Ainsworth’s impression from her data was that when infants were hungry, attachment behaviour, not just food-seeking behaviour, became activated.108 Furthermore, in her observations of infant care practices in Uganda, breastfeeding served as both the major source of infant nutrition and a primary means of soothing infant distress. She wrote to Bowlby that early feeding interactions were emotionally charged, and the extent to which this was handled with sensitivity had ramifications for other forms of interaction in the first year: ‘I do think that feeding can become entangled with the development of attachment, and something more is needed here.’109
In the final version of Attachment, Volume 1, Bowlby discussed the development of the feeding response in infants, and conflict behaviour shown by animals when alarmed by a threat whilst feeding. However, he ignored Ainsworth’s concerns. The power imbalance that had characterised their early relationships remained at least partly in place here, as Ainsworth publicly accepted Bowlby’s position even though her empirical data on this matter ran contrary. At least in part as a consequence, later attachment researchers generally followed Bowlby’s lead, and did not discuss the specific qualities of feeding interactions even when they were used instrumentally to measure sensitivity or infant secure base behaviour.110 (p. 129) Ainsworth would later write that Bowlby’s neglect of the topic had ultimately won out: ‘the feeding situation has been neglected as a context for mother–infant interaction’.111 And the direct role of food as a safe haven for many adults, or its role in family life as a symbol of caregiving, has been ignored by researchers.112 Yet even if the particular issue of feeding interactions was lost, Ainsworth’s deeper point was that certain kinds of interaction, like feeding, offer an especially valuable window into the attachment relationship. Another such form of interaction, as we shall see, was brief separations.
The Strange Situation
Origins of the procedure
The Strange Situation procedure was not planned when Ainsworth’s project was originally proposed. However, Ainsworth decided to supplement her naturalistic observations with a structured observation more intelligible to the academic psychology journals of the time. She began privately to use the term ‘critical situations’ as the generic characterisation for any predicament that activated the attachment behavioural system, thereby allowing ‘both occurrence and nonoccurrence of expected behaviors’ to be observed: ‘A baby does not spend his day consistently manifesting a certain degree of attachment to this, that and the other person. The quality and strength of his attachment is likely to be seen only in certain critical situations.’113 Ainsworth and colleagues had seen feeding operate as just such a critical situation: the interplay of feeding and attachment was intense, complex, and often challenging, and it was this interactional demand on the dyad that made it predictive of later attachment behaviour by the child. Her home observations also led Ainsworth and colleagues to regard the departure of a person from the room as another ‘critical situation’, and therefore a useful vantage for relevant observation.114 Furthermore, Bowlby’s work strongly emphasised that (p. 130) evolution made children disposed to experience unanticipated separations, even brief, as a potential source of threat—what he would later term a ‘natural cue for danger’ (Chapter 1). This stress was anticipated to increase the frequency and thus predictability and reliability with which observers could directly examine attachment behaviour. Ainsworth decided to bring her sample into the laboratory to participate in a study entailing brief separations of a few minutes.
Ainsworth was impressed with the work of Bettye Caldwell’s Syracuse group, who had combined interviews with mothers and observation of infant behaviour under standardised laboratory settings.115 However, she felt that Caldwell and colleagues had conducted their study in such a way that it was difficult to cleanly distinguish the role of different behavioural systems in the interpretation of behaviour:
One of their projects—a study of visual following in the first year of life—is so neatly controlled that its equivocal results give one little chance of sorting out the variables. (The problem is that visual fixation, searching and following may indicate a) attachment; b) keeping the secure base in view; c) curiosity and exploration of a new stimulus; and d) keeping a wary eye on the stranger who is a threat.) In ordinary free observation with the context clearly in mind, it is no real problem to differentiate between these four possibilities. But it is in an experiment in which the four possibilities were not clearly envisaged to begin with.116
In 1964, when the first wave of her sample of infants were 11 months old, Ainsworth attempted a study to cleanly distinguish prompts for behavioural systems.117 Van Rosmalen and colleagues documented that the term ‘strange situation’ was already in circulation before Ainsworth, to describe a procedure in which the responses of young children to an unfamiliar environment were observed, and compared with other information known about the child’s life.118 ‘Strange’ here referred to the novelty of the environment for the infant. Ainsworth’s Strange Situation was especially indebted to the ‘strange situation’ of Jean Arsenian, who had examined infant behaviour in response to the novel environment of the laboratory, and in the presence and absence of their mother.119 Arsenian’s sample was drawn from mothers (p. 131) and children in a reformatory, and the mothers were permitted only limited access to their children. Arsenian sought to confirm Blatz’s idea that, with the caregiver available, children feel more secure and respond to the environment with more exploration and less distress. The availability of security from the caregiver counteracted the ‘fear of the strange’ prompted by the unfamiliar environment, as did more time in the setting. As well as demonstrating the importance of the caregiver for providing the confidence for exploration, Arsenian also showed that caregiver availability reduced the incidence of crying, and of stereotypic and other anomalous behaviours without ‘goal-directedness’, and which primarily ‘appeared to be determined by a condition of excess tension’.120
Following Arsenian, the presence of the caregiver as secure base was expected by Ainsworth to serve as adequate reassurance for most infants. After the novelty of the environment itself, a second prompt was the availability of toys, a little distance away from the caregiver’s chair. This was a cue for the exploratory system. Infants were given around three minutes to acclimatise to the room and, should they wish, explore the toys, before a stranger enters. In Uganda, Ainsworth saw that her own entrance, as a relative stranger (and as a white Canadian), provided the most reliable prompt for the display of attachment behaviour by infants.121 In the Ainworth Strange Situation the stranger begins by sitting quietly and observing the dyad; the stranger then speaks with the caregiver, which conveys to the infant that the caregiver does not regard the stranger as a threat; finally, the stranger attempts interaction with the infant. This was expected to activate the attachment behavioural system another increment. The caregiver then takes leave of and returns to the infant twice. These separations, in turn, ratchet up the activation of the attachment behavioural system further.
The Strange Situation used the combination of separations and the unfamiliar environment to achieve a functional equivalent of instances of availability or unavailability embedded in the wider life of the child.122 With the behaviour of the caregiver partially standardised, and the attachment behavioural system activated by careful increments, Ainsworth aimed to mobilise the infant’s expectations based on what happened when he or she has felt anxiety in the past about the availability of the attachment figure, and allow a viewer to interpret these expectations from observed behaviour. As the episodes of the procedure modulate the infant’s anxiety, Ainsworth anticipated that the infant’s movement between behavioural systems would be displayed: the interplay of exploration of novelty and attachment behaviour, in the presence and in the absence of a parent.123
(p. 132) The Ainsworth Strange Situation was, then, a means for coaxing to visibility infants’ expectations about the availability of their caregiver as a secure base and safe haven, and arraying these expectations and their associated affects within physical space and over episodes to make them available for analysis. In this way, the Strange Situation was intended to dramatise a predicament faced in an ordinary, low-level way by the infant–caregiver dyad in everyday life: the question of the extent to which the infants’ experiences led them to believe that the caregiver was available when needed. The highly contrived situation was intended to intensify and display specific aspects of real life experience, to be interpreted in the context of home observations of these dyads.124
Ainsworth anticipated that, with the attachment behavioural system activated through ‘cumulative stresses’, infants would be increasingly disposed to seek their caregiver as a safe haven:125
The results are very much in accordance with expectation. Nearly all children explore vigorously when mother is there and not when she is absent; nearly all protest and attempt to follow when she leaves; stranger anxiety is variable, but mother is used as a secure base and/or a haven of safety when a stranger is there.126
In general terms, Bowlby’s description of the expectable behavioural expression of the attachment system was confirmed. Ainsworth was therefore all the more intrigued, however, by the fact that some of the Baltimore infants made no approach to their caregiver after the first reunion. However, the second separation seemed to activate the attachment behavioural system to an intensity that they abandoned this task, and instead sought their caregiver:
Two little girls faced the strange situation with remarkable poise, to the extent of interacting with the stranger and offering her toys—only to disintegrate when mother returned for the second time, to cry and cling and carry on, as though they had borne as much as they could, and now could give delayed expression of their distress.127
Yet several infants did not display distress even after the second separation, and Ainsworth also noted the display of tension behaviours during reunion, suggesting the strain of holding back the expression of the attachment behavioural system. She wrote to Bowlby:
A couple of babies who are clearly attached to their mothers showed relatively little stranger anxiety and separation-disturbance, although showing subtle differences in behaviour in the various phases of the strange situation, but they manifested the strain that had been placed upon them by disturbance when the mother returned.128
(p. 133) The apparent lack of distress on separation was reminiscent of some of the infants Ainsworth had observed in Uganda, who showed few attachment behaviours in response to separations and reunions with their caregivers. These had often been infants with relatively less-sensitive caregivers, by Ainsworth’s ethnographic assessment. The unruffled behaviour of these infants also resembled the avoidant or ‘detached’ behaviour of some of the long-term hospitalised children seen by Robertson when observed in reunions with their caregivers. Ainsworth quickly concluded that these individual differences in infant behaviour reflected differences in the history of the caregiver–infant relationship.
Within Bowlby’s research group at the Tavistock in the early 1960s, Rudolph Schaffer studied 60 infants, who were observed at four-weekly intervals until they were one year of age.129 Ainsworth acknowledged the importance of this study in documenting the development of attachment behaviour towards the infant’s primary caregivers through the first year of life. However, Ainsworth’s grounding in Blatz’s ideas made her troubled by Schaffer’s approach. Schaffer assumed that more attachment behaviour directed towards a figure would indicate more attachment—except in situations like foster-care where an attachment bond may still be in formation.130 Ainsworth wrote that such a quantitative approach missed important qualitative differences resulting from security, anxiety, and defences.131 On the one hand, her basis in Blatz’s work led her to anticipate that a secure attachment would be associated with less clinging, crying, and following, except when the child needed comfort. When using the caregiver as a secure base for exploration, Ainsworth anticipated that babies would show little attachment behaviour towards the caregiver, except to periodically check in with them and confirm their availability.132 On the other hand, Ainsworth worried that counting attachment behaviours would be a treacherous research strategy, since a child unsure about the availability of their attachment figure may intensify attachment behaviours, and a child who has learnt that attachment behaviours will be ignored or punished by an attachment figure may show fewer.133
(p. 134) Ainsworth therefore stressed that researchers should not count behaviours in order to assess the ‘strength’ of an attachment, but take note of qualitative differences in attachment relationships under conditions where the attachment system was anticipated to be activated. When the second wave of her sample reached 11 months, Ainsworth and her team conducted the Strange Situation again with these infant–caregiver dyads. In total, 23 of the 26 dyads in her sample were seen in the Strange Situation. On the basis of these further observations, Ainsworth distinguished three groups. Initially she termed them ‘prematurely independent’ (6 dyads), ‘secure’ (13 dyads), and ‘disturbed’ (4 dyads). However, Bowlby urged that these terms were ‘shot through with value judgements & hidden predictions’.134 He suggested that the labels ‘A’, ‘B’, and ‘C’ should be used instead to avoid prejudging what the individual differences would mean.135 This was a strategy used by Ainsworth, Robertson, and Bowlby from their earliest work together, analysing Robertson’s notes to distinguish different groups of children based on their response to reunion after hospitalisation.136
In a letter to Bowlby from 1967, Ainsworth described Group B as ‘normally attached’. The attachment behavioural system was activated and expressed in infant behaviour according to the expected increments, and could be deactivated again by the presence of the caregiver. The attachment behaviours shown were various. Infants could crawl or waddle to their caregiver on reunion, lift their arms to be picked up, signal with a directed cry, or clamber up onto the caregiver. Group A initially comprised those dyads with infants who did not show separation anxiety as expected; Ainsworth observed that these infants had a variety of different histories of care. But—at least by the standards of her low-risk sample—her home observations suggested ‘a deprivingly disturbed relationship with their mothers’.137 In 1969 Ainsworth changed the distinction, so that Group A was no longer defined by the lack of separation anxiety but rather classified those infants who did not show more attachment behaviour as the situation contributed greater anxiety, and instead directed their attention and their movements away from their caregiver.138 Ainsworth found no infants who avoided both the mother and the stranger, contrary the idea that ‘avoidance’ might simply be regarded as a trait of the individual infant. The groups were not ultimately defined by countable behaviours, but by whether the attachment behavioural system was inferred to have found expression in behaviour (see Table 2.1 for Ainsworth’s Strange Situations classifications).
Table 2.1 The Ainsworth Strange Situation Classifications, as outlined in Patterns of Attachment (1978)
Strange Situation Behaviour
Lower proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on reunion than B or C, together with some proximity-avoiding behaviours. The infant’s behaviour, attention and affect are integrated in a coherent way to downplay the communication of distress and keep focus away from the caregiver, e.g. by attention to the toys.
Lowest proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on reunion than B or C; strongest proximity-avoiding behaviours.
Low to moderate proximity-seeking on reunion. Marked proximity-avoiding behaviours.
Strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on reunion compared to A. Low contact-resisting compared to C. The infant’s behaviour, attention and affect integrate in a coherent way which allows distress to be communicated to the caregiver and assuaged, allowing the child to then return calmly to play.
Weak proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining. Weaker proximity-avoiding behaviours than A1. Strong communication and affective sharing with their caregiver from a distance. Conceptualised as intermediate between the A and B infants.
Low to moderate proximity-seeking and marked proximity-avoiding on first reunion. But then strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on second reunion.
Strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on reunion. No contact-resisting or proximity-avoiding.
Some proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining prior to separation from the caregiver. Strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining prior to separation from the caregiver on reunion. Some contact-resisting.
Marked contact-resisting behaviour. The infant’s behaviour, attention and affect integrate in a coherent way which strongly communicates their distress and frustration to the caregiver.
Strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining on reunion. Strong contact-resisting behaviour punctuates the contact-maintaining, as the child switches between communicating distress and a desire for contact, anger, and a desire to be put down.
Weak proximity-seeking but moderate to strong contact-maintaining, particularly on second reunion. Moderate contact-resisting.
In Patterns of Attachment, reporting results from Ainsworth’s original samples plus doctoral projects by her first students, 66% of the total of 106 infants were classified as (p. 135) Group B.139 The largest proportion of dyads showed a smooth balance between attachment and exploration: with increasing prompts for the attachment behavioural system, attachment behaviour increased; when the caregiver was present, the child was comforted and could return to play. Ainsworth labelled dyads where this pattern of behaviour was shown (p. 136) as B3. Out of 106 infants, 42% were classified B3, compared to 23% other kinds of B.140 One kind of Group B response that differed from the prototypical B3 was evident in the difference between infant behaviour on first and second reunion. From the very first, Ainsworth had been interested in the fact that some children showed avoidance on the first reunion, and then attachment behaviours on the second reunion. Their behaviour conveyed a sense that with the increasing activation of the attachment behavioural system, these infants felt that they were no longer able to manage their distress on their own, and that their caregiver would be receptive under such circumstances. Their avoidance thawed as their desire for comfort increased. These dyads were labelled B2.141
Another group of infants did not display much separation anxiety or proximity-seeking on reunion, but were unmistakably happy to see their caregiver again on reunion. And the attachment system seemed to be able to be terminated through distance interaction. Ainsworth termed dyads with such infants B1.142 This ran counter to Bowlby’s assumption that proximity would be the set-goal of the attachment behavioural system in infancy, and ultimately led to his qualification in his final writings that the set-goal is caregiver availability (Chapter 1). Nonetheless, Ainsworth and colleagues described B3 as the short and most direct expression of the attachment behavioural system, whereas B1 and B2 were regarded as ‘complicated’ expressions of the behavioural system.143 The Ainsworth laboratory considered B1 and B2 as, ultimately, intermediate between Group A and Group B in their Strange Situation behaviour.144 In work using the Strange Situation by Ainsworth’s student Sylvia Bell, an additional subgroup was added for infants who displayed more distress and resistance than the infants of B3 dyads, but who ultimately were able to be comforted by the presence of their caregiver and return to exploration within the Strange Situation.145
Ainsworth and her group also distinguished subtypes of Group A. These subtype groupings evolved over time, but had stabilised by the mid-1970s. A1 dyads were characterised by the infant’s rigidly held avoidance; A2 dyads were characterised by a partial approach by the infant, succeeded by avoidance. In both cases, the infants ultimately (p. 137) did not engage in affective communication with their caregiver, even as the attachment behavioural system was presumed to be incrementally activated by the episodes of the Strange Situation. Instead, a characteristic of the group was that they would often engage with the toys or point out toys to the caregiver precisely when another child showed distress and attachment behaviour. Despite individual differences within the groups, at base the predicaments faced by the Group C and Group A dyads differed from one another. Ainsworth and colleagues offered the dictum that ‘the C baby fears that he will not get enough of what he wants; the A baby fears what he wants’.146 In other words, C babies are not confident in the availability of the caregiver in the Strange Situation to offer the comfort and protection they desire; A babies are concerned that expression of desire for the caregiver will not be effective or, indeed, will backfire by eliciting rebuff or punishment. In Patterns of Attachment, 21% of the total of 106 infants were classified as Group A.147
Ainsworth put dyads in Group C if the infants did not show the A or B responses.148 It is curious to see that even in Patterns of Attachment as late as 1978, Ainsworth was still using Group C in part as a residual category for generally ‘maladaptive’ behaviours.149 However, this was in part a holdover, and was not how she discussed the category with her students and collaborators. Though it began as a residual category, through the late 1960s Ainsworth’s comparison of the Strange Situation and home observations led her to identify a common theme in the behaviour of most of the Group C infants: ‘They are diverse, but they have in common the trait of low frustration tolerance, and the experience that their own actions have no consistent consequences, because so much that happens to them is the result of the mother’s timing, not theirs’.150
In the 1960s, Ainsworth and her group came to distinguish two subtypes of Group C behaviour from within the ‘mixed bag’.151 The overall group became characterised as ‘babies who were markedly distressed in both separation episodes, and whose behaviour throughout the strange situation showed disturbance of a passive–aggressive nature’.152 The C1 classification was used for infants whose behaviour towards their caregiver clearly suggested frustration or anger, most notably in resisting being held by the caregiver and less active in maintaining contact. The C2 classification was used when infant behaviour was conspicuously ‘passive’, though also had more of a tone of anger in their interactions with their caregivers than the Group A or B infants.153 C1 infants would approach the caregiver on reunion or reach for a pick-up, showing a mixture of attachment behaviours and signs of frustration. By contrast, C2 infants would wail helplessly and gaze beseechingly at the caregiver, without (p. 138) taking much determinate action to achieve their evident desire for closeness, and without being fully comforted when that closeness was achieved. All of Ainsworth’s C2 infants also displayed stereotypic behaviours, such as rocking to themselves;154 and Ainsworth later wondered whether what she was seeing were infant ‘attempts to cope with a threat of psychotic fragmentation’ by quite mentally ill mothers.155
C1 and C2 infants had in common that the attachment behavioural system had a low threshold for activation and termination: Group C infants were more wary of the stranger than the other children seen in the Strange Situation, and might stop play and show a degree of attachment behaviour even before the first separation. Additionally, following the reunions, they were not comforted or able to return to play. Whereas Group A infants seemed unwilling to permit tension or drama, Group C infants seemed not to permit their resolution. Ainsworth termed Group C ‘ambivalent/resistant’. Bowlby regarded this as an unhelpful label since both Group A and Group C infants were ambivalent about contact and comfort from their caregiver: Group A because they felt that they were not permitted to seek their caregiver; Group C because they were not satisfied by the contact and comfort they received.156 Ainsworth, on the other hand, did not use the term ‘ambivalent’ to refer to the inner experience of conflict inferred to be common to Group A and Group C infants. Instead, she used the term to refer to the child’s observable mingling of contact-seeking and contact-resisting behaviour.157 In Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues reported on the proportions of infants in different groups, drawing on the original Baltimore study and further Strange Situations from studies by Silvia Bell and Mary Main (Chapter 3). Thirteen percent of the 106 infants were classified as C.158
Strange Situation scales
Reflecting on the subtypes, Ainsworth came to the conclusion that infants could be distinguished by four kinds of behaviour. She developed scales that took account of ‘1) the degree of activity and initiative of the behaviour; 2) promptness of the behaviour; 3) frequency of the behaviour; and 4) duration of the behaviour’.159 These scales have only recently been published as an appendix to the 2015 Psychology Press edition of Patterns of Attachment. In the decades before that, they circulated as an unpublished manuscript, passed to individuals attending a training institute. The Ainsworth scales are, in practice, partly a written and partly an oral tradition. Richters, Waters, and Vaughn found that without training in (p. 139) using these scales, inter-rater reliability is no better than chance.160 When the written text is combined with training, three of the scales have incredible clarity and usability, a kind of deftness of touch. These are the proximity-seeking, contact-maintenance, and avoidance scales. Based on examples from a very small sample, Ainsworth managed to characterise infant behaviour in terms of (i) initiative, (ii) promptness, (iii) frequency, and (iv) duration within single dimensions. And this measure has captured the behaviour of the large majority of infants in all subsequent samples with a surprising degree of effectiveness. There is certainly some shoehorning that takes place as coders work with samples with very different caregiving cultures; but, as Behrens observed, what is curious is that there is much less than might be expected.161
In the case of proximity-seeking, higher scores have to do with the efforts the infant puts into getting proximity. In the highest score on the scale, ‘the baby purposively approaches the adult, creeping, crawling, or walking. He goes the whole way and actually achieves the contact through his own efforts, by clambering up on or grasping hold of the adult.’162 A lower score is assigned when the initiative, promptness, frequency, or duration is lower. So, for instance, if the baby makes three full approaches to the caregiver, but without completing contact, this scores 4 out of 7. In the case of contact-maintenance, higher scores reflect the initiative of the baby and the duration of contact. As such, even a baby who is held for a long time can receive the lowest possible score—1 out of 7—on contact-maintenance, if when picked up ‘he neither clings nor holds on, and when he is put down he makes no protest; if he is not put down he may still be coded (1) if he seems indifferent to being held’.163 By contrast, a lower score is assigned when desire to maintain contact is less visible, or relatively less effort is engaged to achieve it. For instance, a score of 4 out of 7 is assigned when ‘the baby has been held, perhaps clinging a little, perhaps having diminished his crying when picked up; when put down he decisively protests, giving more than a brief cry’ or when ‘The baby, having been held, is released; he resists release briefly, by attempting to hold on or by clinging briefly, but when this is ineffective he accepts the release without protest and without further effort to maintain contact.’
The avoidance scale emphasises especially promptness, frequency, and duration of attempts to direct attention or behaviour away from the caregiver. However, the initiative taken by the child is also emphasised. The highest score on the scale can only be achieved by an infant who ignores a caregiver attempting to directly attract his or her attention: ‘The baby does not greet the mother upon her return in a reunion episode neither with a smile nor with a protest. He pays little or no attention to her for an extended period despite the mother’s efforts to attract his attention. He ignores her, and may turn his back on her. If his mother nevertheless picks him up he remains unresponsive to her while she holds him, looking around, interested in other things.’164 A lower score is assigned if avoidance is persistent but low-keyed or only occasional. A score of 4 out of 7 is assigned, for instance, if ‘the baby fails (p. 140) to greet his mother and ignores her for a time and then takes the initiative in making contact or undertaking interaction, even though the mother has not sought his attention’.165
Ainsworth also developed a resistance scale, which measures the intensity, frequency, and duration of frustration or aggression directed towards the caregiver, including frustrated resistance to being held. This scale is somewhat less polished and well characterised, likely because incidence of aggression towards the caregiver was less frequent in the Ainsworth sample than proximity-seeking, contact-maintenance, and avoidance. However, the resistance scale has appeared to have equivalent inter-rater reliability to the others. The relevant behaviours are: ‘pushing away, throwing away, dropping [toys passed to the infant by the caregiver], batting away, hitting, kicking, squirming to be put down, jerking away, stepping angrily, resistance to being picked up or moved or restrained. More diffuse manifestations are angry screaming, throwing self about, throwing self down, kicking the floor, pouting, cranky fussing, or petulance.’166 The highest score can be assigned, for instance, if the coder sees the infant enter into ‘a full-blown temper tantrum, with angry screaming—the baby either being rigid and stiff or throwing himself about, kicking the floor, batting his hands up and down, and the like’. A lower score is assigned if displays of anger are persistent but low-key or only occasional, for instance if the infant engages in ‘persistent low-intensity pouting or cranky fussing’ or ‘one strong but isolated behavior, accompanied by a cry’.
Infants in dyads classified as Group B were characterised especially by strong proximity-seeking and contact-maintenance following reunion, and relatively low levels of avoidant and resistant behaviour. Infants in dyads classified as Group A were distinguished by low levels of proximity-seeking and contact-maintenance, and high levels of avoidant behaviour. Infants in dyads classified as C1 were distinguished by high levels of infant resistant or frustrated behaviour. C2 dyads were poorly characterised by the four scales, and no independent ‘passivity’ scale was developed by Ainsworth. Over time, they have subsequently become a rare subclassification—though they are more common in samples drawn from some countries, such as Israel and Japan.167 Some samples with a significant proportion of neglecting parents also had several C2 infants. One instance is the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (Chapter 4). In Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues reported a discriminant function analysis, drawing on Everett Waters’ expertise with this procedure. They found that a two-function model performed extremely well.168 The first function essentially comprised scores on the avoidance scale for the first and second (p. 141) reunions. This distinguished the A from the B and C dyads. Avoidance in the second reunion made a large additional contribution to variance, over and above the first reunion. There was also a negative relationship with the proximity-seeking and contact-maintaining, especially in the second reunion.
The second function was mainly constituted by scores on the resistance scale on first and second reunion, and with crying through the two reunion episodes. This function distinguished the C from the A and B dyads. Contrary to the coding protocols, which give particular weight to the second reunion, in fact the discriminant function analysis revealed that both episodes made the same contribution to variance in classification. Though rare, the best predictor of a C classification was displays of distress before any separation in the Strange Situation, indicating little ability to use the caregiver as a safe base to deal with the novel setting. However, overall, the second function was not as effective as the first. The two-factor model could almost always predict whether a case would be A or B, but misclassified 30% of C dyads. Whereas A/not-A was defined cleanly by the avoidance scale, the C/not-C distinction appeared to include distress and anger, and appeared to also include other elements. For example, Ainsworth developed no scale for passivity, and was not surprised when the C2 infants were poorly characterised by the discriminant function analysis.
Despite limitations in characterizing the C dyads, Ainsworth and colleagues regarded the two-function model as having performed very well. This relative translatability between categories and scales might imply that either can be used by researchers in analysing their data. In Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues stated clearly and explicitly that in adopting a categorical approach to their data they did not assume a ‘rigid typological concept of the way in which human behaviour is organised, with implications of discontinuity in the various quantitative dimensions’.169 They held that ‘it is inconceivable that any system based on a relatively small sample could comfortably accommodate all patterns’.170 Nonetheless, they argued in favour of group categorisations in running analyses and reporting data, whilst keeping an eye out for anomalies that suggest the need for revision.
As mentioned above, there was a marked bimodal distribution in Ainsworth’s initial data, with few children occupying middle positions on scales of proximity-seeking, contact-maintenance, avoidance, and resistance. This would have made the use of categories rather than dimensions especially intuitive, since both ends of the spectrum were sharpened. The data reported in Patterns of Attachment may also have retained a bimodal distribution. For instance, it would seem unimaginable today to recruit a sample which, like Ainsworth’s, had 42% B3s. By way of comparison, in the milti-site NICHD sample collected in the 1990s as part of a study of the effects of daycare, there were 224 B3 dyads out of the 1281 seen in the Strange Situation (17.5%). And even this is a substantially higher proportion than most samples that have reported subtype classifications.171 Against claims by colleagues and contemporaries that attachment phenomena were likely best measured (p. 142) dimensionally using scales,172 in print Ainsworth defended her advocacy of categories with four arguments:
1. A first argument was that categorical measures are appropriate when equivalence is assumed between behaviours with a common goal.173 This is an effective argument against approaches to the Strange Situation that merely counted the frequency of particular behaviours, a popular approach in the early 1970s.174 Ainsworth appeared not to have noticed that this argument is not an effective one against the use of her own scales for coding the Strange Situation. The scales already captured the fact that there were a diversity of ways that infants could seek proximity, retain contact with their caregiver, avoid expression of the attachment behavioural system, or display aggression. The fact that Ainsworth’s protocols mandated that coders should first score the scales, and then use them in informing a categorical judgement, meant that over time the field accumulated a vast amount of largely unpublished data on scale scores both for Ainsworth’s Strange Situation coding system and for all coding measures based on it. As a by-product, an archive of data on scale scores was produced that would, in the 2000s, be a fundamental resource in the revolt of several younger attachment researchers against the Ainsworth categories (Chapter 3).
2. Ainsworth proposed that categories are useful in helping to identify the relevant dimensions.175 Indeed, Ainsworth’s identification of proximity-seeking, contact-maintenance, avoidance, and resistance came out of her initial distinction between Group A and Group B, and then her subsequent attempt to find order within Group C. However, if this was the only function of categories, then it would seem that they would be superseded by the scales. No further dimensional scales have been developed for the Ainsworth Strange Situation (with the exception of the D scale; Chapter 3), so this argument would appear to no longer hold.
3. A third advantage of a category-based system, according to Ainsworth, was that categories sharpen attention to potential causal factors.176 This was, she believed, in contrast to scales, which flatten different causes of behaviour. So, for instance, both B1 and Group A infants do not show separation anxiety on separation or proximity-seeking on reunion. However, Ainsworth believed that the reason for this is different. B1 infants are able to terminate their attachment behavioural system through distance interaction, whereas Group A infants inhibit signals of their wish to approach their caregiver. However, later attachment researchers would identify that many decisions on the A/B boundary are arbitrary, reducing inter-rater reliability, as the distinction seems dimensional in certain regards. It also remains an open question whether a category-based system has indeed contributed to a better identification of causes. Some second-generation attachment researchers have remained firm defenders of (p. 143) Ainsworth’s distinction between avoidant and ambivalent/resistant patterns. But Fonagy has argued that Ainsworth’s advocacy of categories precisely directed attention away from the causal mechanisms underlying the behavioural clusters, and away from important psychometric questions about the phenomena.177 And recently it was remarkable to see Alan Sroufe, one of the primary defenders of a category-based approach to the Strange Situation, writing to acknowledge that ‘there also are very few data regarding experiences that lead to resistant versus avoidant attachment. There is a modicum of data suggesting that avoidance results from rejection precisely when the infant signals a tender need (e.g., Ainsworth et al., 1978; Isabella, 1993),178 but the origins of these two patterns—if indeed they are coherent and distinctive—is not really established.’179
4. A fourth advantage proposed by Ainsworth was that categories capture salient information in a ‘picture’, some of which ends up lost in quantitative scales.180 A category-based coding system appeared to offer a kind of restricting lighting to focus, highlight, and burnish the scene of observation, keeping contrasts in view even if sometimes they were oversharpened. For instance, a B2 infant shows avoidance and then proximity-seeking. The average of the two proximity-seeking scores may be little higher than a Group A infant, who engages in some proximity-seeking on first reunion, but inhibits attachment behaviour more firmly on second reunion in response to stronger activation of the attachment behavioural system. The Strange Situation prompts activation and deactivation of the attachment behavioural system carefully across episodes, and a purely quantitative approach, at least an unweighted one, would miss this process and its implications.181 How much difference this would make to prediction was unclear, and the question soon fell away as the Ainsworth coding protocols became taken for granted within developmental science.182
(p. 144) In the 1980s, as researchers in the developmental tradition of attachment research were inheriting Ainsworth’s measure, they frequently commented that the category-based system captured additional information about the operation of the attachment behavioural system that was not available through the scales alone. Kroonenberg and van IJzendoorn, discussing this argument, expressed concern, however, that no one seemed to know exactly what information exactly was being added, making it a matter of faith.183 Equally, they worried that no one seemed to know exactly what additional information might be being captured by the scales, compared to categories, other than the fact that continuous measures tend to deal better with individual variation. Both approaches might have pragmatic advantages, but without explicit discussion and testing, it would not always be clear why.184
Furthermore, even if categories offer a ‘picture’, capturing more information than scales, additional information is not always a blessing. In psychology, when overarching and encompassing categories are reified, it is then difficult to separate out the relevant elements from all the other information. The clarity with which relationships with other variables can be picked out is therefore weakened. An important case would be the Group C classification, which is coded on the basis of information about anger, inconsolability, and/or passivity. Yet only inconsolability—understood as anxiety about the availability of the attachment figure—was directly taken up by the social psychology tradition of attachment research. This contribution to differences between the measures of adult attachment has been an underrecognised source of confusion and miscommunication between the social psychology and developmental traditions (Chapter 5).
Considered as a whole, it must be acknowledged that Ainsworth’s own writings were ambivalent as to whether categories were pragmatic tools to be taken up or put down as needed, or whether they should be regarded as reflecting truths cut into the nature of individual differences in attachment and a requisite of orthodox attachment research.185 On the one hand, in Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues stated that advocacy of a category-based system was not meant to imply a rigid typological concept of the way in which human behaviour is organised, with implications of discontinuity in the various quantitative dimensions. Yet at other times Ainsworth seemed to imply that the attachment patterns represent distinct kinds of relationship. When questioned by Michael Lamb in correspondence, Ainsworth described herself as ‘stubborn’ in her conviction that scales will never ‘be able to capture everything that should be taken into account when assigning an individual infant to a classification’.186 Many of Ainsworth’s students, including Main (Chapter 3), came to the (p. 145) conclusion that she had discovered ‘natural kinds’, representing qualitatively different forms of relationships and patterns of child socioemotional development.187 They acknowledged that scientific constructs are always approximations and simplifications of reality. However, discourses that situated attachment as by nature divided into categories influenced and infiltrated activities such as research design and coding.188
The Ainsworth categories were initially important in the 1970s and 1980s in countering social learning theorists, who argued that secure attachment behaviour was caused simply by the mother having reinforced approach when her infant cried. Yet Ainsworth could counter by showing that neither distressed approach nor the absence of distressed approach defined Group B, but rather the use of the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven. Yet, subsequently, the category-based system helped contribute to both the popularity and reifications of attachment theory. A tale about ‘three kinds of infants’ is one that can carry a tune, and it fitted well with the ascendence of diagnosis-based thinking about psychological processes in the wake of DSM-III (Chapter 1). Even if it was not Ainsworth’s intention, then, a significant part of what has rippled out from the coding system for the Strange Situation was an impression of ultimate certainty.189 The Ainsworth categories were taken as part of, or at least close to, the inner core of the attachment paradigm as a cumulative research endeavour, perhaps with some role as a symbol of the field of attachment research as a differentiated entity. And when the categories were questioned, attachment researchers tended to circle the wagons.
An illustrative case was Chris Fraley and Sue Spieker’s 2003 paper ‘Are infant attachment patterns continuously or categorically distributed?’190 From the late 1990s, there had been growing concern across psychological science to replace categories with dimensions in the interests of psychometric precision and statistical power.191 Influenced by these discussions, Fraley and Spieker held that individual differences in infant attachment were likely influenced by a variety of factors. It would therefore be expectable for these differences to occur by degrees, depending on how much one factor or another was in play. This implied quantitative, not simply qualitative, variability. Fraley, especially, was concerned that a category-based system would not only neglect this variability, but also misdirect discussions of the meaning of attachment: ‘Even professional scholars have often misunderstood the theory as implying a strong continuity between early experiences and adult romantic relationships (p. 146) styles. We think that the typological approach … may help promote the widespread belief that there is a single etiology.’192
To support their claims, Fraley and Spieker used taxometric analysis to show that Ainsworth’s three patterns of attachment were better modelled as two dimensions: a dimension between avoidance and security, crossed by a dimension between resistance and security. Part of the attractiveness of this proposal was that dimensional scales might well contribute to greater statistical power; differences between dyads in the middle-range would be captured, rather than forcing cases artificially into categories. Another part of the attractiveness of the proposal was that these scales had been coded by researchers as part of making judgements about the categories. So the field could use the already-existing data on the scales from decades of work. Proximity-seeking and the absence of resistance and avoidance could offer an approximation of a dimensional characterisation of security, even if this was imperfect. A disadvantage was that scales are not coded independently, and likely influence the scoring of one another. At least, however, there would be no need to start from scratch.193
The Fraley and Spieker paper was initially rejected flat out by Child Development as too heretical. Eventually published in Developmental Psychology, the paper was met by hostile peer-reviews, and accompanied in print by discouraging replies from other attachment researchers.194 This may have been prompted by the fact that the initially submitted draft of the Fraley and Spieker paper did, by the authors’ own admission, at points adopt quite a strident evaluative tone.195 Yet, as Fraley set out in his letter to the editor responding to the peer-review feedback, he regarded his position as a defence rather than attack on attachment theory. He was primarily concerned that ‘if variation in attachment organisation is continuously distributed—and if it plays a strong role in shaping developmental outcomes—then attachment organisation will appear to have weak effects on other outcomes when studied categorically … It would be an unsatisfactory state of affairs if the larger field of developmental psychology eventually became disenchanted with the study of attachment for reasons, such as measurement imprecision, that have little to do with the validity of the theory per se.’196
(p. 147) There is often discussion today about opposition between a ‘category’ and a ‘dimension’ camp to Strange Situation data. However, in fact, this is something of an artefact. Both sides seem to agree that there are underlying dimensions. The question is whether a dimensional approach to the data would offer better prediction. Author of one of the critical replies to Fraley and Spieker, Alan Sroufe stated in 2000 that ‘traditionally, the measurements of security of attachment have been categorical, although it would seem conceptually that there are underlying dimensions’.197. In fact, from the late 1980s Sroufe’s close colleague Byron Egeland even used group exercises to encourage parents in their STEEP intervention (Chapter 4) to think about aspects of care and parenting as dimensions, as a dimensional perspective was regarded as likely to improve attachment security in the caregiver–infant dyads by contributing to a more ‘informed, realistic understanding’.198
It is curious that so many years after Fraley and Spieker’s paper, the field is yet to see a published comparison of the relative merits of dimensions versus categories in predicting later correlates of interest, such as externalizing behaviours. A first comparison of their relative merits for understanding antecedents of attachment was published only recently, and reported better prediction for the analysis in terms of two latent dimensions.199 The reasons for the delay in pursuing comparative analysis are not clear, given that such inquiry could have been pursued already on the data available to Fraley and Spieker. One reason may have been that large datasets are needed to adequately address the question.200 Nonetheless, it can be anticipated that the issue of individual differences in attachment as dimensionally or categorically distributed is likely to be one of the major objects of attention for the third generation of attachment researchers over the coming years, given their greater concern for the psychometric standing of attachment methods and coding systems, and the recent availability of pooled datasets (Chapter 6).
Interpretation of the Strange Situation
The identification of distinct attachment classifications raised the question of their defining characteristics and antecedents. In interpreting the behaviour shown by infants in the (p. 148) Strange Situation, Ainsworth and colleagues drew on observations of the dyads at home and particularly caregiving behaviour by the mother. The strong relationship between the two sources of information gave Ainsworth’s team confidence that the Strange Situation tapped patterns of attachment, since results were congruent with the history of infant–mother interaction.201 In publications, Ainsworth felt obliged by the genre of academic writing in developmental psychology in the 1970s and 1980s to present her research as setting out to test hypotheses and, on this basis, discovering correlations. This gave many readers the impression that Ainsworth had more confidence in her findings than she did, and that she was emphasizing the importance of infant–mother interaction over all other factors. In fact, Ainsworth regarded her work as exploratory, seeking to identify previously unnoticed associations between infant attachment behaviour and the infant’s history of receiving care, by wading around, up to the knees in her hundreds of hours of observational data.202 In a letter from 1969 she wrote to Bowlby:
To discover the interrelationships implicit in these data is my chief talent and all-absorbing aim. I realised that when my own intuitive feel for the data is blocked by our elaborate reliability machinery and do not hesitate to go beyond it. Thus with our attachment–exploration balance classification. I was more concerned to find the “right” basis of classification than to stop with the semi-satisfactory basis that was subject to our reliability-checks. Research is always a compromise—and presumably the most important things are to know what one’s own compromise has been and not to attempt to convince either oneself or others that one has done the impossible.203
In a letter from 1970, she added: ‘Our horrible hypothesis-testing traditional leads us (me and especially my co-authors) to lead the reader to the conclusion that we are claiming successful hypothesis testing, whereas in fact we are presenting a new viewpoint together with one small but “telling” body of evidence that seems congruent with it and hence to offer some support.’204 Main later recalled that Ainsworth repeatedly applied over subsequent years for funding to conduct a replication of her Baltimore study without success:
Worrying about the possibility of contaminations among variables which were only identified during the course of the study—she had intended it as a pilot investigation. In her second, planned replication study, she would make no changes, develop no new infant or maternal variables, re-conduct the strange situation procedure with no revisions in her sub-groupings, and hence properly and completely re-test her initial results. However, her applications to granting agencies to conduct this new Baltimore study were repeatedly turned down.205
(p. 149) It is important to highlight that in pursuing an interpretation of the Strange Situation in light of infant–mother interaction, Ainsworth was not ruling out the role of fathers on theoretical grounds, though neither did she encourage it. In part this was a distal reflection of the cultural values of the time, which emphasised the importance of maternal care. However, proximally, inattention to fathers was a by-product of Ainsworth’s research design: she did not have data on infant–father interaction, since she had conducted her study during office hours in a sample where the fathers all worked away from home. She was also not ruling out that infant temperament could play a role in their behaviour during the Strange Situation procedure. ‘Everybody knows that … there is something innate that each child brings’, Ainsworth observed.206 However, she anticipated that these qualities would interact with the caregiving the child received in important ways, and that it would be caregiving that would ultimately make the more important contribution to the Strange Situation classification. Ainsworth was sympathetic, for example, to the idea that some children might be predisposed to resistant behaviour in the Strange Situation as a result of a difficult or fussy temperament.207 Some colleagues also held that it is probable that ‘ambivalent babies differ from others from the beginning of life’.208 However, Ainsworth and her group felt that the history of caregiving in the dyad was also an important contributing factor to ambivalent/resistant attachment, and that it was of overwhelming importance for secure and avoidant attachment.
Later empirical research supported Ainsworth’s general position. Attachment research was an early adopter of a meta-analyses, a technique for the quantification of the combined effect of a set of study outcomes. An especially important contribution to attachment research were the conclusions regarding the role of infant temperament, in the context of raging debates about nature vs nurture in child development. Combining the effect sizes of studies to date, in a paper from 1997 van IJzendoorn and De Wolff reported a correlation of r = .17 between infant–mother and infant–father attachment across 14 independent samples, indicating less than 3% overlap in variance.209 This supported Ainsworth’s assumption that only a small proportion of Strange Situation behaviour could be explained by child temperament, unmodified by the particular attachment relationships infants had experienced. Indeed, a later meta-analysis of 69 independent samples by Groh, van IJzendoorn, and colleagues found that infant temperament did have an association with resistant attachment (r = .15). However, as expected, it had a very weak association with security (r = .04), and no association was found for the avoidant attachment classification.210 The researchers flagged, however, that assessments of infant temperament are often conducted with the parent present. One of the defining characteristics of the resistant attachment classification is that the attachment behavioural system has a low threshold for activation, and is accompanied (p. 150) by fussing and distress already when the stranger seeks to engage the child in the Strange Situation before the separations. As such, the temperament assessment itself may serve to elicit the resistant attachment pattern, confounding the assessment of temperament with attachment. In line with this supposition, resistance was found to be more strongly associated in the meta-analysis with greater levels of fearful distress, rather than lower levels of the expression of positive emotions.
Rather than infant temperament, Ainsworth argued that the antecedents of individual differences in attachment lay primarily in experiences of caregiving. This argument was based on close comparison of elements of infant behaviour in the Strange Situation with the infant and the mother’s behaviour at home. This comparison revealed that Group B infants cried less than non-B infants, especially in response to the ordinary brief separations of everyday life. They responded more positively to being picked up, and less negatively to being put down. And they were more cooperative to their mother’s requests.211 Ainsworth and colleagues also found an astonishingly strong association between the Group B classification and caregiver sensitivity: r(21) = .78. The association was even stronger for the prototypical B3 subtype. This was in contrast, in the data Ainsworth had available, to the non-significant association between child behaviours in the first few months of life and the Group B classification at 11 months.212 The strong correlation with caregiver sensitivity implied that Group B represented infants who anticipated that their signals would be heeded by their caregiver. Ainsworth therefore reinstated the label ‘secure’ as the name for Group B, which she had initially left aside on Bowlby’s urging as too value-laden.
In retrospect, this was an unfortunate decision in some ways, as the term ‘security’ has its own connotations that differ from Ainsworth’s intended meaning of the term. Or at least, Ainsworth failed to clarify that she intended the term in a technical sense, one that departed from ordinary language. Admittedly there is no ready alternative single word in English that conveys a sense of confidence in the other’s availability and responsiveness. Nonetheless, other choices could have been made by Ainsworth, such as to retain the label ‘Group B’, or to discuss ‘care-confident’ or ‘availability-trusting’ infants, though both are ungainly constructions. Yet the term ‘secure’ was already value-laden in Ainsworth’s time, and furthermore has subsequently been infiltrated by a whole range of connotations.213 Not least, the rapid rise of (p. 151) morally laden discourses about security in contemporary ‘risk society’ has helped failures of security connote danger and destruction.214 A semantic mapping exercise conducted by Waters with psychology students found that they used the connotations of the word to make spurious assumptions. For instance, it was assumed that ‘security’ for Ainsworth meant confident, and therefore someone socially dominant.215 Sociologists have observed that the connotations of Ainsworth’s terms have helped support both the popularisation and popular misconceptions of attachment ideas, including moralizing narratives in which insecure babies have been broken by their caregivers.216 Ainsworth’s students, especially those with clinical training, have made much the same point. The eminent clinician Alicia Lieberman, a graduate student of Ainsworth’s, offered a rare criticism of her teacher for failing to adequately clarify that the meaning of ‘security’ differed from ordinary language. Lieberman alleged that attachment researchers since Ainsworth have slid about unsteadily between various connotations of the term ‘secure attachment’.217 Other attachment researchers also trained as clinicians, for instance Pasco Fearon, have made the same point.218
Though warned about the unhelpful connotations of the term ‘secure’ by Bowlby, Ainsworth felt that this Blatzian concept captured the infant confidence in the caregiver’s availability, a confidence that seemed to be reflected in behaviour and that was at least somewhat stable over time. Use of a term from everyday language also perhaps appealed to help signal that there would be multiple contributories to a sense of confidence in the availability of others, not just early care. Furthermore, use of a term with strong and evocative meanings in ordinary language, even if they were rather misleading, may have been attractive for supporting interest in the nascent area of attachment research, though there is no evidence to suggest that this was intentional on Ainsworth’s part. Ultimately, Ainsworth felt that she could rest on the etymological meaning of ‘security’ as being without concern or worry.219 Not only were Group B infants able to use their caregiver effectively as a secure base and safe (p. 152) haven in the Strange Situation, but also this security seemed intelligible in the context of the sensitive caregiving the infants received at home, which would make them unconcerned or not worried about the caregiver’s availability. As a consequence, these infants could implement the ‘short version’ of the expression of the attachment behavioural system, since the system was not complicated by inhibition, anger, or other forms of conflict or guardedness.
Looking back, researchers such as Sroufe and van IJzendoorn recalled that early reports of the strength of the association between Strange Situation behaviour and caregiver sensitivity reported in Patterns of Attachment contributed to an intense interest in attachment theory and to use of the Strange Situation among a generation of younger researchers.220 It was, though, very rare for extensive naturalistic observations at home to take place; such an expenditure of resources would have been reckless for a developmental psychologist in a field increasingly focused from the 1970s onwards on quantification and rapid research. The naturalistic observations conducted by Ainsworth and colleagues were, perhaps in part as a result, treated as sufficient, especially since the association between secure attachment and caregiver sensitivity would replicate time and again through the 1980s. In the 1990s, Ainsworth’s conclusions were also backed up by findings that naturalistic or intervention-based changes in caregiver sensitivity had significant effects on the frequency of secure attachment, supporting the idea of a close causal relationship.221
The relationship between caregiver sensitivity and infant attachment appeared to be well replicated. However, few studies found an association with anything like the strength of Ainsworth’s original Baltimore study. A meta-analysis in 1997 by Wolff and van IJzendoorn found a much lower association than Ainsworth, with r(835) = .24 for mothers and r(544) = .13 for fathers.222 Van IJzendoorn commented that it has been disheartening for younger researchers to find such modest effect sizes, when they had been led by Ainsworth’s initial work to expect vast correlations.223 Nonetheless, he emphasised that these are still very notable findings, reflecting processes that, over time, are threaded through thousands upon thousands of child–caregiver interactions. Furthermore, many of the studies included in the meta-analysis depended on very short periods of observation; the study with the second longest period of observation after the Baltimore study found associations between sensitivity and security similar to those of Ainsworth.224 Recent work by Madigan and colleagues found that the association between caregiver sensitivity and infant Strange Situation classification was moderated by the measure used. The Maternal Behaviour Q-sort (p. 153) developed by David Pederson, Greg Moran, and Sandi Bento,225 and the CARE-Index developed by Patricia Crittenden during graduate study with Ainsworth226 had the strongest associations, whereas other assessments of sensitivity, including Ainsworth’s original measure, had weaker associations.227
Researchers have generally not returned to Ainsworth’s methodology of naturalistic observation to reconsider the sensitivity–attachment link inductively. Instead, the approach adopted by attachment researchers has generally been dedictive identification of other factors. In subsequent years, other factors besides sensitivity have been identified deductively and then found to be important. One is the emotional climate of the home in higher-risk samples, which appears to exert direct influence on child security unmediated by the behaviour of the parent towards the child.228 Researchers also found important moderators of the sensitivity–attachment link. Child genotype may play a role, with a gene × environment interaction proposed by Barry, Kochanska, and Philibert, though evidence to date has not consistently confirmed this proposal.229 Another moderator of caregiver sensitivity for attachment security may be the extent and manner of parental involvement with the child, which have substantial gender differences in many samples.230 Further study of moderators of the relationship between sensitivity and attachment has flourished recently, with the availability of large datasets permitting comparison of the correlates of sensitivity in low-risk and high-risk samples.231
Researchers such as Elizabeth Meins have proposed that at least some of the association between caregiver sensitivity and infant attachment can be explained by the caregiver’s (p. 154) attention to and interest in the child’s emotional experience.232 Fonagy and colleagues even argued that this association is an artefact, with both caregiver sensitivity and individual differences in the Strange Situation reflecting the caregivers’ capacity to imagine, perceive, and interpret their child’s behaviour in terms of intentional mental states (e.g., needs, desires, feelings, beliefs, goals, and reasons), as well as their own behaviour towards the child in such terms. They have termed this general capacity ‘mentalisation’, and as ‘reflective function’ when it is applied within an attachment relationship.233 Recently, Fonagy and colleagues proposed that individual differences in infant attachment reflect forms of trust or distrust in information given by caregivers about the environment and their own availability. Whereas Ainsworth argued that Bowlby missed the value of learning in thinking about the evolutionary function of attachment relationships, Fonagy and colleagues took this argument further. They speculated that the most important evolutionary function of attachment relationships is that young children learn from their caregiver whether trust or distrust is the safer response to personally relevant information.234 Evaluating the criticisms of Ainsworth by Fonagy and colleagues, Zeegers and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to investigate the relative contributions of sensitivity and mentalisation to infant attachment classifications. They found that together the two predictors accounted for 12% of variance in attachment classsifications. After controlling for sensitivity, the relationship between parental mentalisation and infant–caregiver security was r = .24. And after controlling for mentalisation, the relationship between parental sensitivity and infant–caregiver security was r = .19. Sensitivity also partially mediated the association between mentalisation and infant–caregiver security (r = .07).235 Such findings suggest that Meins, Fonagy, and others were right to argue for the importance of mentalisation, but that sensitivity is not reducible to mentalisation.236
Besides her emphasis on the causal role of caregiver sensitivity, another source of later controversy lay in Ainsworth’s description of Group B, and the prototypically secure B3 subgroup in particular, as ‘normative’:
Subgroup B3 is the largest in the sample, and accounts for 42% of the total sample. We consider it to be the normative group, not merely because it is the largest, but also because, as (p. 155) we subsequently show, it is the subgroup whose members have the most harmonious interaction with their mothers.237
‘Normative’ is a tricky word. As Cicchetti and Beeghly observed, the term confusingly hinges judgements about what differs from a constant or average with assumptions about deviance or defectiveness.238 The frequency of B3, the fact that it seemed a prototypical expression of the attachment behavioural system, uncomplicated by avoidance or resistance, and the strong relationship between B3 and caregiver sensitivity led Ainsworth and colleagues to speculate that this is the natural state of mothers and infants. They argued that the human attachment behavioural system is ‘adapted (in the evolutionary sense) to include a mother whose reciprocal maternal behaviours are sensitively turned to infant signals’.239 Ainsworth and her group accepted Bowlby’s dictum on this matter that ‘natural is better’ (Chapter 1),240 and hence that sensitive caregiving was both evolutionarily expectable and had the best implications for a child’s mental health, in both the short and long term. In Ainsworth’s view, ‘the ordinary expectable social environment for a young child is both responsive and protective. These assumptions imply a fundamental compatibility between man and society’;241 in contrast, Groups A and C were believed to represent “developmental anomalies’.242
This is a conclusion that Robert Hinde contested on two counts.243 In criticizing Ainsworth’s position, Hinde drew upon developments in ethology in the 1970s that were subsequent to Bowlby’s development of his theory of the evolutionary function of attachment. John Maynard Smith and Richard Dawkins introduced the idea that evolution may have selected for a repertoire of behavioural patterns for achieving reproductive success in diverse circumstances (Chapter 3).244 The ‘optimal strategy’ would be the one preferred when circumstances were favourable, and would generally be the most direct way of achieving reproductive success. However, ‘conditional strategies’ would be available as alternatives that would have greater likelihood of success under less-favourable circumstances. On the basis of these developments in the theory of evolutionary biology, Hinde argued that just because (p. 156) it was common, and a direct expression of the attachment behavioural system, B3 could not be treated as an ideal appropriate to all circumstances. Nor could sensitivity be assumed to be expectable for human infants in the environment within which humans evolved; quite the opposite. Even if the secure pattern of attachment might have the better long-term outcomes, the other patterns of attachment may offer short-term advantages for achieving caregiver availability. Ever cautious about presenting proposals about the evolutionary origins of behaviour, Hinde did not press on to discuss what the advantages might be of the non-secure patterns of attachment.245 His point was primarily to offer caution regarding the assumption that security is always best, both in the short and long term. Ainsworth was displeased with Hinde’s remarks.246 However, as Chapter 3 shows, Main came to much the same conclusions as Hinde, and took these conclusions further.247 Though the debate has continued, Hinde’s position seems certainly the more common one today among attachment researchers.
Avoidant behaviour on reunion with the caregiver in the Strange Situation may last just a few seconds. Nonetheless, Ainsworth thought that the behaviour seemed important. Comparing Group A behaviour in the Strange Situation with their home observation data, Ainsworth and colleagues found apparently paradoxical results. Though infants in Group A dyads were precisely those that did not show distress in the Strange Situation, at home they were the most frequently distressed and aggressive.248 The avoidance shown in the Strange Situation was definitively not a stable trait between the laboratory and the home setting. Curiously this point was missed by many of the second generation of attachment researchers, who assumed that lack of distress would characterise Group A infants across contexts in their theory and even in their design of measurement instruments.249
(p. 157) A secondary analysis conducted by Main revealed that Group A infants exceeded both the other groups in terms of the number of times contact was initiated at home.250 However, this proximity-seeking tended to have a ‘tentative’ quality, ‘making partial approaches followed by moving off, or by going the whole way and then merely touching her’.251 Yet when they did achieve close physical contact, they did not show active contact behaviour such as sinking in or relaxing comfortably against the mother’s body. ‘When put down they were more likely than infants of other groups to protest or to signal to be picked up again’, despite the fact that protesting on being put down was the Group C signature move in the Strange Situation.252
Group A behaviour in the Strange Situation was also associated with relatively less-sensitive behaviour by caregivers towards their infants at home. The strongest association between Group A and caregiver behaviour in the home observation data was ‘picking the baby up in an abrupt and interfering manner’. There was also a substantial negative relationship between Group A classification in the Strange Situation and a measure of ‘affectionate behaviour while holding the baby’ by the mothers in the home environment over the first year.253 For instance, Tracey and Ainsworth reported that the mothers in Group A dyads kissed their babies more frequently than other dyads, but cuddled their babies proportionately less.254 Ainsworth noted, however, that the baby also contributed to these dynamics. Assessments of ‘tender, careful holding’ of the baby predicted positive infant response in subsequent quarters, whereas positive infant response to holding did not predict maternal careful holding going forward. That is, the mothers’ tender holding seemed to be driving the infants’ response to holding and not vice versa.255 This profile of findings together suggested to Ainsworth and colleagues that Group A attachment, and perhaps all attachment patterns, could be regarded as partly the result of a spiral between caregiver and infant signals.
Whilst, in general, ‘tender, careful holding’ aligned with Ainsworth’s measure of sensitivity, an exception was the B1 subgroup of dyads. These dyads were classified as secure since infants greeted their caregiver with joy on reunion in the Strange Situation. However, like Group A, the infants did not approach their caregiver. In the home observations, B1 caregivers were found to be relatively sensitive: the average score out of 9 on the sensitivity scale was 7.4 for B3 dyads and 4.5 for B1 and B2 dyads, compared to scores 2–3 for Group A and C dyads.256 However, in contrast to the other Group B dyads, the caregivers in B1 dyads received high ratings on apparent aversion to physical contact with their infant, though (p. 158) caregiver aversion to physical contact in B1 dyads was still lower than that for caregivers of Group A dyads.257
Ainsworth sought to make sense of the profile of behaviours of Group A infants in the Strange Situation and their experience at home. It appeared at first sight very surprising that Group A infants were the most distressed and angry at home, and yet responded to the Strange Situation with attentional and behavioural avoidance of the caregiver on reunion. Yet this discrepancy made sense in light of findings that infants in Group A received relatively less sensitive care. What appeared to Ainsworth to be taking place was visible and predictable evidence of a psychological inhibition: the attachment behavioural system was being activated by the Strange Situation, but its expression was being suppressed. In a letter from 1967 with some early speculations, Ainsworth wrote to Bowlby:
This makes me think that at the same time that the baby is developing attachment behaviour (and I think of this as being developed through a feed-back rather than a reinforcement model) he may well also be developing defensive reactions to bring into play when he doesn’t get the feedback he has come to expect. So a baby at one-year who seems relatively little attached may merely be one who has already built up a primitive but fairly effective defensive system. The whole thing makes considerable sense to me—especially because the babies of A1 nearly all had some fragments of attachment behaviour.258
At a time when speculations about motivation and inner processes were still anathema in much of American psychology, in the context of a backlash against the speculative and untestable mechanisms posited by psychoanalysis, this was an electrifying finding. The priority given to scientific prediction, feedback, and passively learnt behaviour in behaviourism was achieved precisely through the characteristic concerns of psychoanalysis on family context, internal conflict, the active defensive strategies of the individual, and the role of invisible motivations in prompting and inhibiting behaviour. Ainsworth’s distinction between Groups A and B integrated apparently irreconcilable trends within psychology: she was studying family context and defensive strategies precisely through a laboratory-based, replicatable observational study. This made her work especially eye-catching to contemporaries. Ainsworth later recalled that ‘the fact that the Strange Situation was not in the home environment, that it was in the lab, really helped. I only did it as an adjunct to my naturalistic research, but it was the thing that everyone could accept somehow. It was so demonstrable.’259
With new doctoral students entering the research group in the early 1970s, Ainsworth’s team became interested in why infants from Group A dyads concentrated their attention on toys just at the moment when other infants showed distress. The quality of this attention to the toys was poor, ‘showing no investigative interest in the objects that they were either manipulating or moving toward, but rather banging them about repeatedly or throwing and retrieving them repeatedly’.260 It seemed that the toys were being used as a distraction to avoid attending to the caregiver and other cues for the activation of the attachment system. Group A was therefore termed ‘avoidant’ by Ainsworth.
(p. 159) Influenced by Main’s emerging ideas (Chapter 3), Ainsworth came to believe that the avoidant behaviour ‘protects the baby from experiencing the rebuff that he has come to expect when he seeks close contact with his mother. It thus somewhat lowers his level of anxiety (arousal). It also leads him to turn to the neutral world of things.’261 Avoidance allows the infant to remain alongside the caregiver, even if closeness is not achieved, whilst also escaping the contradiction between a desire to approach the caregiver and concern about what has happened in the past when physical closeness has been sought. The attention and orientation to the toys are aspects of what from the 1980s Ainsworth would term, following Bowlby, the ‘defensive exclusion’ of the attachment behavioural system: ‘It is suggested that Pattern A babies under stress systematically exclude from perception (i.e. from highest-level processing) information that might intensely activate attachment behaviour. Thus they tend not to be distressed when the mother leaves the room in the separation episodes of the strange situation and when she returns to the reunion episodes, resorting instead to diversionary activity, which in this situation commonly consists of what appears to be exploratory behaviour.’262 Both distress and the desire for comfort are excluded, resulting, Ainsworth speculated, in the maintenance of equilibrium.
Subsequent researchers have taken from Ainsworth’s findings and theory the conclusion that avoidant attachment results from caregiver insensitivity in the form of rebuff of attachment signals. Though showing weaker effects than Ainsworth, later research generally replicated Ainsworth’s findings that caregivers of avoidant dyads show lower levels of sensitivity than securely attached dyads,263 and that caretakers in avoidant dyads specifically display higher levels of intrusive behaviour towards their infants.264 Until recently, there has been remarkably little discussion of alternative pathways to avoidant attachment besides rebuff of attachment signals.265 This is despite the fact that researchers have, over the years, empirically documented that other caregiver behaviours in naturalistic settings are associated with avoidance in the Strange Situation. Main’s own analysis of the Ainsworth home observation data revealed that not only maternal rejecting behaviours but also maternal angry (p. 160) behaviours predicted infant avoidance in the Strange Situation.266 And in her analysis of videos of mother–toddler free play from her dissertation sample, Main reported:
Mothers of mother-avoidant infants mocked their infants, or spoke sarcastically to or about them; some stared them down. One expressed irritation when the infant spilled imaginary tea. Our ratings showed a strong association between avoidance and maternal anger.267
Grossmann and colleagues found that North German mothers’ expectation of self-reliance from their infants meant that half their sample received an avoidant attachment classification in the Strange Situation. This was despite the fact that, for a proportion of these infants, the expectation of self-reliance was not linked to other forms of maternal rejection, or to the later outcomes measured by the Grossmanns.268 In contrast, both maternal and paternal sensitivity to the infant as assessed in home observations made sizeable contributions to later outcomes. Such findings suggest that one pathway to an avoidant attachment classification lies in cultural values around the suppression of distress signals, but that this pathway is not necessarily one with the same implications as when avoidance stems from caregiver insensitive and rejecting care.269 (The issue of the contribution of cultural differences in care to the distribution of Strange Situation classifications is discussed further in the section ‘Cross-cultural applicability of the Strange Situation’.)
Comparing the Strange Situation behaviour of infants from Group C dyads to the home observation data on the sample, Ainsworth and colleagues found that these infants displayed more distress at home than the secure infants, and especially on occasions when the caregiver attempted to leave the room.270 However, few other differences were noted in the children’s behaviour at home. Ainsworth reported the qualitative impression of a mismatch between (p. 161) infant signals and caregiver response, which contributed to low sensitivity. Even in the face of queries regarding the integrity of the C classification, Ainsworth felt there was a defining characteristic that linked the otherwise diverse behaviour of C1 and C2 infants. This was the resistance and displays of ambivalence when the caregiver offered comfort, across contexts:
The ambivalence of Pattern C babies, both at home and in the strange situation, is easily understood. Their mothers, who were very inconsistent in their responsiveness to signals, often failed to pick the baby up when he most wanted contact, and often put him down again long before he was ready to be put down. Consequently, when attachment behaviour is intensely activated the baby has no confident expectation that his mother will respond to his need for close contact. Having been frustrated in such situations often enough in the past, his desire for close contact is intermingled with anger, because he rather expects his mother to be unresponsive. He wants contact and is angry if his mother does not respond, or if she tries some other mode of interaction, and yet he is still angry if she picks him up and is difficult to soothe; indeed, he may struggle to be put down only to protest and seek to be picked up again.271
The term ‘inconsistent’ was a common one in Ainsworth’s lexicon, and regularly used with a variety of non-overlapping meanings. For instance, ‘inconsistent sensitivity’ is actually the technical label for the mid-point (5) on her sensitivity scale; caregivers from ambivalent/resistant dyads had scores on sensitivity well below this.272 Yet from the mid-1970s, ‘inconsistency’ was a term she frequently used to describe the caregivers of ambivalent/resistant dyads, and was subsequently picked up by later attachment researchers as the defining cause of ambivalent/resistant attachment in Ainsworth’s account. On this basis, later researchers assumed a model in which inconsistent care creates a lack of contingency for the infant: infants know that they can have their attachment signals heeded, but it is not clear when. As such, the threshold for the activation of the attachment behavioural system is lowered, and the threshold for termination raised. When the infant’s intensified attachment behaviours and distress are accurately interpreted by the caregiver, this reinforces the strategy.273 Much about this pathway is plausible, but the idea that it is ‘inconsistency’, specifically, that is the key ingredient remains unevidenced.274 In fact, Ainsworth offers no data to suggest that the caregivers of ambivalent/resistant infants are unpredictably sensitive: in Patterns of Attachment, the specific behaviours that distinguished these mothers were in fact ‘delay in responding (p. 162) to cry signals and occupying the time when holding the baby with routines’.275 Their mean scores for sensitivity were the same as those of avoidant dyads. Though Ainsworth and colleagues found that mothers in ambivalent/resistant dyads displayed somewhat fewer rejecting behaviours towards their babies, the difference was not marked.276
However, there appears to be a second model in Ainsworth’s writings regarding caregiving in ambivalent/resistant dyads. The quantitative findings reported in Patterns of Attachment (1978) were of (i) delay in responding to cry signals and (ii) occupying the time when holding the baby with routines. Main later described unpublished data from Ainsworth’s Baltimore study, showing that ‘in the first 3 months of life, the mothers of the infants who would later be resistant were extraordinarily inept in holding their infants (inept in 41% of holding episodes) and almost never “tender and careful” (tender and careful in 2% of episodes). Their face-to-face interactions with their infants were marked by the absence of contingent pacing.’277 This suggests a caregiver who is not adverse to closeness with their baby but who finds it difficult to hold them fully in mind—leading to a delay in responding and less full, satisfying, and well-judged responses when they do occur.
Indeed, Ainsworth herself specifically claimed that ‘the mother of a Pattern C baby is likely to enjoy contact with him even though she is often imperceptive of his need for it’.278 The idea that the caregivers of ambivalent/resistant dyads are less effective at tracking their infant’s inner states is supported by findings that they make comments relevant to their child’s inner states during free play, but these appear to observers to have little relationship with the child’s actual states.279 It would be this imperceptiveness that would lead to a lack of confidence on the part of the infant in the attentional availability of the caregiver, the reduced threshold for activation of the attachment behavioural system, and the intensification of attachment signals. Ainsworth’s final word on the classification made no mention of ‘inconsistent’ care, and instead foregrounded any caregiver behaviour that would lead a child to be uncertain about availability.280
Overall, however, the relative infrequency of ambivalent/resistant dyads in most American and European samples, the absence of a scale for coding the passivity characteristic especially of the C2 infants, and the lack of a sharp theory of caregiving antecedents have all contributed to distinterest in the ambivalent/resistant classification over the decades. Even when researchers found distinct correlates of the ambivalent/resistant classification, there has been little support for interpreting them from a network of other findings (p. 163) and hypothesis-generating discussions.281 Ambivalence/resistance retains a place in the system—17% of dyads received this classification according to a recent meta-analysis282—but without researchers finding much need to give it discussion, with exceptions such as Crittenden and Mayseless.283 The weak network of theory and empirical findings around the ambivalent/resistant classification has led to significant problems for the field in pinning down the relationship between the C and D classifications (Chapter 4).
Conflict behaviours in the Strange Situation
Ainsworth was generally of the view that the classificatory system she had developed was open-ended. In Patterns of Attachment, she wrote ‘it is inconceivable that any system based on a relatively small sample could comfortably accommodate all patterns represented in the total population’.284 She wanted to ensure space to accommodate the unforeseen. One strategy Ainsworth used to keep her system open was to have an explicit residual category, to serve as a worksite for identifying further patterns. At the start of her work with the Strange Situation, she used Group C to encompass infants who did not fit the other two groups, especially on the basis of seeming ‘disturbed’. This was still part of the function of the classification as late as Patterns of Attachment, though the classification came increasingly to be defined by resistance (C1) and passivity (C2)—and then, after Ainsworth, generally just by resistance. During her sabbatical at Stanford, Ainsworth wrote to Bell of the value of having an intense and critical relationship between theory and observation, where each could change a researcher’s perception of the other:
Even the most beautiful of theories is never as beautiful as truth or fact. To have destroyed a theory is therefore an excellent thing. It is a step forward. And one need not tremble lest a fact destroy a theory, even one’s own. One must seek it. Underneath lies a discovery.285
One unexpected discovery occurred when Ainsworth attempted to assess the stability of her categories by bringing the dyads from one wave of her sample back two weeks later for a second Strange Situation. Whilst the response of the infants in dyads classified as secure was very largely the same, the response of the seven infants in avoidantly attached dyads was (p. 164) quite different. Every one now approached the caregiver on reunion. But they did so whilst showing fragments of avoidant behaviour. Ainsworth concluded that the infants had been overstressed.286 The approach to the caregiver shown by these infants did not reflect their expectation that the caregiver would be available, like the infants in secure dyads. Instead it reflected the extent of their distress and fear.287 In this context, the avoidance was breaking down into the kinds of conflict behaviour that had been described by Hinde (Chapter 1), displaying wishes to both approach and avoid.
Between 1968 and 1973, Main undertook her doctoral research with Ainsworth. As well as the measures required for her doctoral research, Main instructed her coders ‘to note each time that the toddler did anything which seemed odd to them’; this included ‘hand-flapping; echolalia; inappropriate affect; and other behaviours appearing out of context’.288 Five out of the forty-nine infants were found to display such odd behaviour that it was difficult to fit them within the Ainsworth classifications: two of these infants were force-classified as secure, whereas three ‘were informally termed A–C infants within the laboratory’ and classified either as A or C.289 Main noted that two of these ‘A–C’ infants showed reunion behaviour that combined an attempt to approach the caregiver with signs of fear and avoidance. One threw her hands in front of her face on reunion, whereas the other engaged in asymmetric handslapping whilst creeping forward. Main ‘asked Mary Ainsworth as my dissertation advisor what to do. Characteristically cautious, but certain these infants were insecure, she recommended that for the time being (until more samples were collected and studied) ‘we place them in Group A’.290 Main wrote wryly in a footnote to her doctoral thesis that, though this technique was pragmatically useful, ‘Linnaeus might not approve’.291
From the 1970s, Ainsworth also took an interest in stereotypic and tension behaviours, though this interest was hampered by the fact that the set-up of her Strange Situations had only given observers a ‘profile view (at best)’ rather than a frontal view of the baby on reunion.292 Ainsworth was also reliant on detailed written observations, rather than the full video recording used by the next generation of attachment researchers. Initially Ainsworth (p. 165) associated stereotypic and tension behaviours with the B4 subclassification. B4 was introduced in 1969 to capture infants from Silvia Bell’s sample who were very upset by the separation episodes, but who did manage to use their caregiver as a source of support and calm before the end of the Strange Situation.293 In Patterns of Attachment, one of the criteria used to define B4 was that the subclassification included any ‘other signs of disturbance, such as inappropriate, stereotyped, repetitive gestures or motions’.294 As a consequence, the B4 subtype was regarded by some as a rather unstable element within the system.295 The inclusion of other signs of disturbance as one of its criteria was later formally retracted as a criterion for B4 by Ainsworth, with the introduction of the D classification (Chapter 3).296
In Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues explicitly considered the discrepant behaviour they were seeing in the Strange Situation in terms of Hinde’s concept of ‘conflict behaviour’:
When two antithetical systems are activated simultaneously, they may be said to be in conflict … The other system may not become manifest in behaviour until either the overriding behaviour is terminated (or becomes less strongly activated) or some shift in the situation increases the activation of the system until it overrides the behaviour of the previously stronger system. When two conflicting systems are more nearly equal in level of activation there may be alternation of behaviours, ‘compromise’ behaviours in which behavioural elements of both systems are combined, or intention movements or other fragmentary behavioural representatives of one or the other system. Furthermore, the behaviour activated by one stimulus object may be redirected towards another that is not involved in the conflict … Finally, overt behaviour may be determined by a third system, which is also at a moderate level of activation, although not as high a level as the two conflicting systems that tend to block each other—a phenomenon the ethologists label ‘displacement behaviour’.297
In an unpublished paper from around the period of composition of Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues argued that there was a ‘distress language’ to be deciphered in these odd behaviours, and that this language would be important for comprehending infant experience: ‘Once one has gotten to know the distress language, these subtle signals make the distress of the child who is trying with might and main to control it all the more poignant’.298 The final pages of Patterns of Attachment were dedicated to a strong call—which has never been quoted by subsequent researchers—for study of the meaning of conflict (p. 166) behaviours seen in the Strange Situation, and their different potential causes. In the early 1980s, Ainsworth wanted to hold a conference for Strange Situation coders, dedicated to exploration of anomalous behaviours. Ultimately, though, she decided that she lacked the time and money to host this event. Meanwhile, however, she encouraged her graduate students Mary Main and Patricia Crittenden in their study of infants who showed behaviours discrepant with her categories for coding the Strange Situation.299 And she anticipated that research with clinical samples would ultimately lead to additions to her coding system, with particular relevance for coding clinical samples. After all, her three categories had been developed on the basis of a sample of participants recruited according to demographic characteristics that would reduce adversities.300 In the meantime, the anomalies did not appear to threaten use of the Strange Situation as the basis for building a research programme. Bowlby’s position seems to have been aligned with Ainsworth’s. Bowlby was not reconciled to the idea that the three Ainsworth classifications were sufficient for work with clinical samples.301 However, he did not pursue the matter in print, except in his remarks on the work of Ainsworth’s students. The issue would ultimately be left for the next generation of attachment researchers (Chapter 3).
Part of Ainsworth’s legacy for the field of attachment research was her mentorship of a remarkable cohort of students, many of whom became leaders of the second generation of attachment research. Among the undergraduates she taught who would become colleagues in attachment-related research were Mark Cummings, Mark Greenberg, Robert Marvin, David Olds, and Everett Waters. Her graduate students at Johns Hopkins were Silvia Bell, Mary Blehar, Inge Bretherton, Alicia Lieberman, Mary Main, and Sally Wall. Michael Lamb was a student with her for a year at Johns Hopkins, before Ainsworth left for Virginia. Ainsworth’s graduate students and mentees at Virginia included Jude Cassidy, Deborah Cohn, Virginia Colin, Patricia Crittenden, Rogers Kobak, Carolyn Eichberg, and Ulrike Wartner.302 In later life, Ainsworth wrote fondly of her students as her ‘academic family’, a phrase that continues to be used by attachment researchers in the developmental tradition to describe their community.303 The phrase has perhaps recurred in part because it captures the warmth, care, and (p. 167) loyalty of the field of attachment research, which matches well the common idea of family; and in part because it captures the conflict, compassion, and compromises of the field of attachment research, which matches the all-too-human, fumbling-at-times actuality of family.
One of Ainsworth’s students who was important in shaping her legacy for developmental psychology was Everett Waters. Waters worked with Ainsworth for almost two years, taking courses and graduate seminars and acting as a research assistant. In addition, he joined graduate students Mary Blehar and Sally Wall helping Ainsworth prepare the book length report of her Baltimore project, Patterns of Attachment. Waters’ roles included preparing the report on multivariate analysis of the ABC classification system and editing draft chapters.304 In 1972, on the strength of Ainsworth’s recommendation, Waters was admitted to the University of Minnesota’s Institute of Child Development. Classmates soon directed him toward assistant professor Alan Sroufe and his work on the development of smiling and laughter. Sroufe’s interests inclined toward a general theory of emotional development and he was eager to tap Waters’ first-hand experience with attachment research. Mentoring led to collaboration and soon a fast friendship, and a series of influential papers.
An early paper by Sroufe and Waters was a turning point for acceptance of Ainsworth’s Strange Situation classifications within the wider developmental science community.305 In this paper ‘Attachment as an organizational construct’, published in 1977, Sroufe and Waters summarised the cornerstones and significance of the theoretical work of Bowlby and Ainsworth and discussed recent empirical results in a pointed response to several criticism rooted in temperament and learning theory paradigms.
A first criticism that Sroufe and Waters sought to combat was that Ainsworth’s secure vs insecure distinction could be explained as temperamental differences in sensitivity to the stress of separation or in terms of how often mothers reinforced crying and dependency. The mistake was that the secure vs insecure distinction did not map onto crying vs non-crying in the separation episodes. In fact, half of secure one-year-olds protested separation in the Strange Situation (primarily B3 and B4) and half did not (B1, B2, and some B3). Thus, as Sroufe and Waters pointed out, classifications depended not on separation protest but on responses to mother’s return. Moreover, Sroufe and Waters pointed to data showing that minimal separation protest in A infants was not simply a matter of temperament or reinforcement cycles. These explanations assumed that non-crying infants were indifferent to separation. Certainly research with American parents indicated that many regarded the infants who showed avoidant behaviour in the Strange Situation as the most competent, since they seemed to not be distressed by the separations.306 In a piece of swift ingenuity, Sroufe and Waters reported evidence from concurrent heart-rate recordings that ‘avoidant infants showed sustained heart-rate acceleration on reunion (in the absence of vigorous motor activity), suggesting clear affective response rather than indifference’.307 Infants in dyads (p. 168) classified as avoidant were interpreted as inhibiting a display of attachment behaviour and keeping their distress secret from the caregiver, rather than having less desire for comfort than other infants in the Strange Situation.
A second criticism was that infant attachment behaviours do not intercorrelate highly, show weak stability over time, and are strongly influenced by context. This was taken by critics as an invalidation of the construct of infant attachment.308 Of particular importance was a paper published in Psychological Bulletin by Masters and Wellman from 1974, which offered a detailed critique of attachment research, including a report that ‘little stability of attachment behaviors was found if the intervening time was three minutes, one day, three months, four months, or longer’.309 This was a potentially decisive criticism in light of the central role early experience plays in attachment theory. Ainsworth and her small group of collaborators experienced these critiques as a serious threat to the emerging paradigm. There was ‘a real sense of emergency’ in the small attachment research community.310 One response to Masters and Wellman was theoretical counterargument and clarification. Sroufe and Waters argued that attachment is a behavioural system, not the particular behaviours selected to achieve the set-goal. Particular behaviours are of primary relevance only to the inferred inner organisation they are understood to express. If reaching works quickly to achieve contact with the caregiver, there might be no need to also engage crawling towards the caregiver. If fussing works, there might be no need to use crying. The selection of behaviours will be sensitive to context.311
A second response to Masters and Wellman was empirical. Waters undertook to demonstrate that the results Masters and Wellman had reported regarding the absence of stability stemmed from their focus on individual behaviours, rather than the organisation of behaviour. He collected Strange Situation assessments with 50 middle-class dyads at 12 months and 18 months of age. There was almost no continuity of attachment behaviours displayed towards the caregiver across the half-year period, as Masters and Wellman had predicted. Only (p. 169) smiling at the mother and touching the mother were stable across time; there was no continuity in other important behaviours such as proximity-seeking.312 Yet using Ainsworth’s more broadly defined proximity-seeking, contact-maintaining, avoidance, and resistance constructs, there was a consistent pattern of stability, particularly in the key reunion episodes (for example, .62 for avoidance and .58 for resistance, both significant < .01). This empirical result demonstrated more effectively than any narrative rebuttal the limitations of Masters and Wellman’s critique as well as the strength and potential of the new attachment paradigm.
Forty-eight out of the fifty infants received the same classification at both 12 and 18 months. This confirmed Waters’ expectation that more broadly defined and integrative assessments would yield even higher stability than even individual scales. At the same time, this result is much higher than in subsequent studies. Several factors could contribute to this. First, each case was scored on the basis of a consensus among several experienced independent coders. Moreover, the sample consisted of first-born infants from intact middle-class families. None of the infants had experienced regular out-of-home care. It is also important to note a methodological limitation of the study. At the time, the only trained scorers for the Strange Situation were Ainsworth and her students and the small Minnesota team. Consequently, the same experts coded both time-points. Though coding the two time-points six months apart, the overlap in coders may have unintentionally reduced the independence of their assessments and elevated the stability of the clasifications.
There are times when having an extreme statement made allows the deep truth within it to be released; and there are times when the extreme qualities end up skewing reception of a complex truth in ways that are difficult to subsequently get heard. The sheer strength of stability of attachment classifications over time reported by Waters reflects a little of both predicaments. This was the first independent test of the stability of Ainsworth’s categories, and would prove critical to their acceptance by the wider community of developmental scientists. Indeed, Waters’ study appeared as empirical support for an image—suggested at times by Bowlby and Ainsworth—of the results of early care as impervious to change, at least in the short term. This image was further supported by the use of continuity from the Strange Situation by Main and colleagues in the development and validation of new attachment measures (Chapter 3).313
Baldwin and Fehr suggest that a contributing factor to the birth of the social psychological tradition of attachment research in the 1980s (Chapter 5) was the impression, given by the reported findings of Waters, of individual differences in attachment as stable trait-like variables.314 As well as among many researchers, the idea of attachment patterns as set in early childhood also became a pervasive part of the reception of Bowlby, Ainsworth, Waters, and Main among clinical and child welfare readers.315 Aligned with Waters’ findings, several (p. 170) other samples in the 1980s similarly demonstrated high stability of the categories over time.316 However, Waters was clearly concerned that such high levels of stability suggested a lack of environmental responsiveness, which seemed implausible. He was also worried that with only 50 infants in his original study, chance might have contributed to an overestimate of stability. He therefore sought to conduct further research with high-risk dyads in order to put boundaries on the previously reported stability before misapprehensions could arise about attachment classifications being fixed for good in infancy.
Studying 100 high-risk dyads in the Strange Situation, Vaughn, Waters, and colleagues found only 62 allocated to the same classification six months later. Discontinuities, however, were often logical: dyads that changed from a secure to an insecure classification tended to be those where the mother had experienced more stressful life-events in the meantime.317 Vaughn, Waters, and colleagues argued that this implied that patterns of attachment could change if caregivers faced factors that would contribute to more or less sensitivity to their child: ‘There is little room today for a construct that does not recognise the environmental responsiveness of individual differences. The validity of the attachment construct is greatly enhanced by our prediction and confirmation of stability in some cases and change in others.’318 Ainsworth herself fully agreed that a child’s experiences of changes in interaction with caregivers ‘predictably lead to changes in patterns of attachment’.319 She described herself as ‘delighted that researchers are increasingly turning to an examination of exceptions to stability of attachment-pattern’,320 and encouraged her students to explore such exceptions.321 At the same time, Ainsworth cautiously anticipated that early experiences of secure base/safe haven availability or unavailability may have relevance for later development, even in the context of subsequent change (Chapter 4).322
It became a common finding that the Ainsworth classifications were generally less stable in studies with participants drawn from high-risk samples. However, in the 1980s, studies were also reported, even with low-risk samples, that found no short-term stability of the categories. Sociologically, it may be noted that this coincides with a sharp rise in use of day-care from the 1970s, which could be expected to loosen the association between maternal care and attachment classifications since less time would be spent together by mother and child.323 The most influential study to show weak stability in the 1980s was a report (p. 171) by Thompson, Lamb, and Estes.324 Like Vaughn and colleagues, they found that both continuity and discontinuity in attachment classifications was predictable in light of changes in care: over half of infants changed attachment classification with their mother when she entered full-time employment, and all the infants in the sample changed attachment classification if they began receiving over 15 hours a week of non-parental care. However, the relative instability of attachment classifications in the sample provided part of the staging platform for Lamb and colleagues’ important early criticisms and qualifications of Ainsworth’s Strange Situation procedure, which were published as a long article in Behavioral and Brain Sciences in 1984. Though it does not seem to have been the authors’ intent, these criticisms were interpreted as a rejection, rather than qualification, of the validity of the Strange Situation procedure. The article by Lamb and colleagues in the journal was followed by responses from numerous researchers, mostly pouring scorn on the procedure and attachment theory in general.325
Lamb and colleagues’ appraisal and qualification of every jutting aspect of the Strange Situation, utilizing the detailed knowledge of an insider, offered excellent ammunition to critics making general attacks on attachment as a research paradigm. Indeed, the observations of Lamb and colleagues are still cited today as clinching the ‘methodological shortcomings and unsupported assumptions’ of Ainsworth’s research, and as making the attachment paradigm as a whole untenable.326 Most importantly at the time, however, Lamb and colleagues struck a nerve in headlining the lack of stability of classifications of attachment in a low-risk sample, which appeared to contradict the claim by Bowlby and Ainsworth that ‘this internalised something we call attachment’ is a ‘retentive inner mechanism which serves as a kind of filter for the reception and interpretation of interpersonal experience’, and in this way shapes later behaviour.327 Lamb and colleagues felt that this offered an important qualification to the paradigm, but by no means intended their stance as a rejection of attachment research. Nor did they intend their stance even as a rejection of the Strange Situation, a form of measurement that they subsequently continued to use.
The Lamb and colleagues article brought home to the attachment community the extent to which they were depending on tacit knowledge for organizing their research paradigm. (p. 172) Most researchers at the time were using the Ainsworth scales in the absence of reliability checks against existing research groups, or any demonstration of cross-group agreement.328 Ainsworth assumed that the scales and categories could be used without training or the construction of a manual.329 The Thompson, Lamb, and Estes findings alerted Waters, Sroufe, and other early attachment researchers in Ainsworth’s circle that the Strange Situation coding protocols were not self-sufficient.330 Knowing how to code the Strange Situation in the manner of Ainsworth was, in fact, partly an oral culture held by a small number of researchers associated with Ainsworth’s group (then at Virginia), and the Berkeley and Minnesota laboratories (Chapters 3 and 4). In response to the article by Lamb and colleagues, it was judged that inter-rater reliability between research groups and a formal process of certification were needed to ensure valid use of the assessment. This prompted the introduction of a training institute in coding the Strange Situation, which has been run yearly at Minnesota by Alan Sroufe (and later Elizabeth Carlson and Robert Weigand) for over three decades now.331
Curiously, the Ainsworth sensitivity scale was not subject to this formalisation of training and certification.332 Presumably, since the scale was not published it was in less danger of unrestricted use. Additionally, though central to the work of attachment researchers, this scale has had less of a flagship status for the field’s critics and its defenders. By contrast, the Strange Situation was treated as the foundation of attachment research as an empirical paradigm, and so training to achieve scientific reliability was considered especially important. However, the role of the Strange Situation coding training institutes extended well beyond this, for instance in teaching relevant theory, providing opportunities for networking and wider processes of enculturation. As van IJzendoorn observed at the time, these dynamics of enculturation contributed to insularity in this community. In his view, a system of training institutes is ultimately necessary to ensure scientific reliability (though his laboratory, like others, would use the Ainsworth sensitivity scale without any such training). However, he expressed concern that training institutes may mean that researchers have to show their submission to specific coding systems and their logic before that researcher’s voice is (p. 173) acknowledged, leading to the exclusion of constructive disagreement and the insights that can come from it.333
Ultimately, later meta-analytic research appeared to significantly qualify the strong stability reported by the early studies—though whether this reflected the rise of daycare, methodological differences between early and later studies, or simply the assumulation of knowledge is difficult to unpick. In 2002, Fraley assembled findings from 23 papers using measures from the developmental tradition of attachment research (i.e., not self-report measures of attachment). Stability of a secure vs insecure attachment classification for assessments of up to a year would prove much lower in Fraley’s meta-analysis than in the Waters study: r = .32 (compared to r = .92 in Waters).334 Stability was higher in low-risk (r = .48) than high-risk (r = .27) samples.
In the influential Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (Chapter 4) there was no continuity of secure vs insecure attachment classifications between infancy and the Adult Attachment Interview. Nonetheless, as in the paper by Thompson and colleagues, both continuity and discontinuity could be accounted for by a few specific factors, reflecting stressors and support experienced by the caregiver. In the case of the Minnesota study these were experiences of maltreatment after infancy, changes in family life stress, sensitivity in parent–child relationships at 13, and quality of romantic relationships in adolescence.335 Such findings support the critics of Ainsworth and Waters: attachment classifications are substantially less stable in the short term than originally thought, and more responsive to context. However, it is critical to note that there is ‘lawful discontinuity’:336 the reasons for the changes can be identified in factors that would certainly be expected to alter patterns of attachment.
Furthermore, even if stability is lower than suggested by Waters, there remains substantial evidence in support of the claim that attachment patterns have relevant continuity over time. In a 2013 meta-analysis of 127 papers, and 21,072 dyads seen in the Strange Situation, Pinquart and colleagues found equivalent findings to Fraley for short-term stability, and in fact showed that stability remained moderate throughout the first five years. They were also able to report that there were no significant differences between father–infant dyads and mother–infant dyads in terms of stability. Pinquart and colleagues also reported the valuable (p. 174) discovery that secure attachments were much more likely to be stable than insecure attachments (OR = 1.39), and that this effect was stronger in low-risk samples (OR = 1.73). Such findings suggest that children are more likely to keep a sense of their caregiver’s availability once they have found it than they are to retain a sense of their caregiver’s unavailability. They found that this effect is stronger when there are fewer contextual risks facing the dyad.337 Pinquart and colleagues end on the optimistic note that the lower stability of insecure attachments suggests that, against the public image that Bowlby’s popularizing writings helped foster of attachment patterns as fixed for life, there is substantial room for change especially among the families who may most need support. In these terms, there may be room for yet more optimism. In 2018, Opie reported a meta-analysis from 56 studies, with stability of r = .26. Accounting for differences between her findings and those of earlier studies, she had access to many more published papers, and identified significant evidence of publication bias, with studies reporting low stability less likely to have been published.338
Research on stability, initiated by Waters, overall raises two distinct points. First, contrary to the social learning theorists, that there is some stability suggests that the behaviour reflects more than the pushes and pulls of immediate caregiver reinforcement. This finding halted most, if not all, social learning critiques of attachment research, though the social learning theorists did not join the attachment enterprise. Links between attachment and social learning theory would have to be rediscovered by later researchers (see Chapter 6). Second, the question of longer-term stability addresses the theoretical concern of the extent to which early experience establishes a prototype for later interactions and/or are influenced by later developments. The central conclusion drawn by researchers was that attachment is influenced by later developments, and that this can be anticipated to be affected by changes in caregiving.339 Use of language suggesting the fixedness of attachment patterns for most people can still be seen in the writings of some major attachment researchers.340 However, perhaps a majority of writings on attachment now emphasise predictable movement between patterns of attachment, with continuity in substantial part the result of continuity of relationship qualities.341
(p. 175) Attachment Q-sort
As well as pursuing research on the stability of the Strange Situation classifications, Waters was a fierce advocate for the need for full construct validation for attachment measures. Following Cronbach and Meehl, he argued that any empirical findings take their meaning from the network of other related results, which provide the context for their interpretation.342 Waters and Ainsworth discussed their alignment with this position in their correspondence.343 In the case of the Strange Situation procedure, Waters and Deane expressed concern for a tendency within attachment research to search for associations between the infant classifications and various outcomes without any more general hypothesis than ‘all good things go together’.344 In their impression, with each such study, attachment research becomes less incisive, and the concept of attachment becomes increasingly debased into a general idea of close relationships in general (Chapter 5).345
Waters argued for a return to focus on what he termed ‘the secure base phenomenon’, which—confusingly for many readers—included for him both secure base and safe haven dynamics. He also argued that too much attention had been paid to the ‘critical situations’ of distress and reunion, designed to prompt the activation of the attachment system, with the Strange Situation providing visuals. Too little attention had been paid to the ordinary, incremental moments that form the basis for trust or distrust in the availability of the caregiver, especially contexts of non-distress, exploration, and quieter, ordinary feelings.346 Whilst overt attachment behaviour would be less frequently seen in these circumstances, ordinary life in naturalistic settings was ultimately the substance that filled out and elaborated the attachment system, and especially expectations about the caregiver’s availability as a secure base. Like Bowlby and Ainsworth in their final years,347 and likely influenced by Ainsworth’s stance directly, Sroufe and Waters were dismayed that attachment researchers had leapt upon the Strange Situation procedure at the expense of the naturalistic research. They felt that this direction of interest was due to a number of factor, including: poor general understanding among researchers of Bowlby and Ainsworth’s specific characterisation of the attachment behavioural system; the resource costs associated with detailed home observations; the unusual observational acuity of Ainsworth for seeing patterns, which not all researchers possessed; and reification of the Group B classification as ‘security’ itself rather (p. 176) than, as Ainsworth intended, a window into the child’s experiences of care by an attachment figure and therefore a proxy for naturalistic observation.348
For any research paradigm truly loyal to Ainsworth’s principles, Sroufe and Waters argued strongly that ‘the strange situation is used only because it can stand in place of attachment as it would be observed in the home’.349 It struck them as dangerous that so much work subsequent to the Baltimore study was predicated (whether researchers knew it or not) on the reliability of the link between Strange Situation assessments and secure base behaviour at home. To offer a means to replicate and further explore this essential finding, Waters and colleagues developed a new measure, the Attachment Q-Sort (AQS).350 Waters recalls that several colleagues in the attachment community were resistant to the creation of an alternative to the Strange Situation.351 Yet many colleagues, including Sroufe, supported this development and served as expert consultants on the development of the measure. Ainsworth stated her approval of the new measure.352
In the AQS, observers are asked to sort a set of behavioural descriptors of a child observed for a few hours in a naturalistic setting like the home. These descriptors, printed on pieces of card, are sifted into piles ranging from ‘most descriptive of this child’ to ‘least descriptive of this child’. The set of descriptors covers a broad range of secure base and exploratory behaviour, affective response, social referencing, and other aspects of social cognition. Observers can then be kept unaware of the constructs that will be scored from the data they provide, whilst attachment phenomena can be picked out and distinguished from other aspects of behaviour. Like the Strange Situation, the measure is grounded in concretely observed behaviour. However, compared to the Strange Situation, the AQS can be used to assess ordinary interaction between a child and caregiver in naturalistic settings; it therefore has greater ecological validity than the dramatised prompts and interactions of the Strange Situation. For instance, it could have better cross-cultural validity than the Strange Situation, since the meaning of separation and reunion for young children likely differs by culture—though cultural values may still inflect the descriptors on the AQS cards.
Ainsworth emphasised that the developmental changes from infancy to toddlerhood entail nothing less than a ‘recasting of attachment relationship, so that they now include perspective taking, include communication, negotiation and mutual plans’. Any adequate measure of attachment after infancy, she felt, needs above all to consider the way that ‘seeing things from (p. 177) the partner’s point of view’ gets integrated with secure base/safe haven dynamics.353 Whilst applications of the Strange Situation with toddlers and pre-schoolers have been developed, such extensions have been troubled by the dual pull to respond to such maturational differences and, simultaneously, retain the semblance of Ainsworth’s infant system.354 A special advantage of the AQS is that, with minor adaptions, it can be used with children of different ages.355 The AQS could readily incorporate expected changes in the way that children:
• use their caregiver as a secure base and safe haven in the context of more sophisticated capacities for communication, negotiation, mutual planning, and perspective taking
• modulate the threshold for activation of the attachment behavioural system
• integrate cognition, affect, and behaviour as part of the system
• show attachment behaviour in interplay with other behavioural systems.
Q-methodology also has several psychometric advantages over Ainsworth’s categories.356 The primary output of the measure is the assessment of attachment security in terms of a continuous variable, based on the extent to which children can use their caregiver as a secure base and safe haven as needed within their everyday context. Waters did not, like Fraley and Spieker, provoke controversy by publicly opposing the statistical and theoretical advantages of a dimensional scale to a category-based approach. However, the way that the AQS was constructed quietly downplayed the importance of the avoidant and resistant classifications, focusing instead on how close or distant a case was from the paradigm of an infant using the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven.357
A recent meta-analysis by Cadman and colleagues, on the basis of 245 studies and 32,426 child–caregiver dyads, reported substantial convergent validity for the AQS. When children are assessed with the Ainsworth Strange Situation, and when the AQS is used for at least 180 (p. 178) minutes, agreement is substantial (r = .39), as are associations with measures of caregiver sensitivity (r = .44). Agreement is, however, reduced when a shorter period of observation is used (r = .25 with the Strange Situation; and .28 with caregiver sensitivity). The AQS assessed by observers is also able to predict later socioemotional outcomes for children (r = .24). One remarkable finding is that the AQS has an especially strong ability to predict later aggression and conduct problems symptoms (d = .70). Some of this effect may be explained by the fact that the AQS can be used with two-year-olds and this may be a developmental stage of particular importance for the development of conduct problems.358 At times, researchers have also often asked parents themselves to complete the AQS. However, there are good reasons to suspect that this approach is less valid, since associations with the Strange Situation and sensitivity are much lower, and associations with caregiver report on the child temperament are substantial (r = .33).359 It would seem that a child’s own caregivers are less effective than unfamiliar observers at distinguishing a child’s attachment behaviours from a global impression of their child’s temperament.360 Van IJzendoorn and colleagues praised the AQS, claiming that the availability of a second well-validated measure of child attachment alongside the Strange Situation helps ‘separate the concept of attachment in young children from the way it is measured’, a major contribution to the field.361
A recent development of potential importance has been the development of a brief version of the AQS by Fearon and colleagues.362 Ainsworth fully acknowledged that the Strange Situation is far too laborious for screening purposes or regular use by clinicians and practitioners, and urged methodological innovation in this area.363 To address this gap, the Brief Attachment Scale (BAS-16) is a pared-down version of the full Attachment Q-Sort, consisting of two scales: (i) harmonious interaction with the caregiver and (ii) proximity-seeking behaviours. Validated against the full AQS on a portion of the large NICHD sample, convergence between the measures was very good. The BAS-16 had associations with caregiver sensitivity (r = .23) and child externalizing behaviours at 24 months (r = –.25) equivalent to the full AQS, and there was no association with measures of infant temperament.
The NICHD sample also had classifications available for the Ainsworth Strange Situation—though in this sample there was no association between the Ainsworth classifications and the full AQS. As a result, the BAS-16 had all but no link with the Strange (p. 179) Situation. Fearon and colleagues suggest that greater convergence may be anticipated when the BAS-16 is used to assess responses to separation or some other mildly stressful event, when the attachment behavioural system will be activated. If so, this would offer important further validation of the new measure. Until then, what conclusions the field will draw regarding the usefulness of the BAS-16 as a brief measure of infant attachment are unclear, and will likely depend on the extent to which developmental attachment research is willing to rest weight on measures that do not agree with the Ainsworth Strange Situation.364 For the second generation of attachment researchers, this would have been an anathema. For the third-generation leaders of the field, with a greater concern to sustain a dialogue with routine clinical practice, it may not only be possible but perhaps expectable.365 The BAS-16 may also help facilitate cross-cultural attachment research in a way that has not been possible for the Strange Situation.
Secure base scripts
The Strange Situation, as a staged procedure requiring the semi-standardisation of caregiver behaviour, offers little insight into what caregivers actually do to support attachment and exploration in particular dyads. Yet Waters emphasised that the attachment behavioural system requires support to achieve coherence. This includes, for example, ‘secure base/safe haven games’ such as peek-a-boo, which dramatise the script of separation followed by reunion, and obstruction resolved into relational closeness and accessibility.366 This teaching and learning of the secure base script is evident also in adolescent and adult relationships, when romantic relationships are invested with attachment components. In ‘Bowlby’s theory grown up’, published in 1994, Crowell and Waters argued that ‘commitment in secure-base terms is unlikely to be “hearts and flowers” responsiveness or “I want to marry you”; rather, we suggest it may be more like “I’m here, I will be here, I’m interested in what you do and what you think and feel, I will actively support your independent actions, I trust you and you can trust me to be here if you need me, et cetera”.’367 All the small ways that adolescent or adult dyads repeatedly, across situations, affirm their availability to one another form the intricate little bones within the structure of the relationship and relationship-related expectations, giving strength and stability to its capacity to serve as a secure base and safe haven.
Everett and Harriet Waters observed that Bowlby’s internal working model concept encompasses (i) how accessible or inaccessible attachment figures tend to be under ordinary situations, (ii) whether attachment behaviours are regarded as acceptable or unacceptable, and (iii) a forecast about how available and responsive these figures are when difficulties (p. 180) are faced (Chapter 1).368 Waters and Waters therefore argued that the idea of the internal working model is too clumsy and general a concept for developing specific testable hypotheses. They advocated instead the idea of ‘scripts’, sedimented in procedural memory by repetition and experience, which respond to particular cues with involuntary expectations about what tends to happen next and predispositions to behave in certain ways. Attention to attachment-related scripts therefore moves ‘toward explaining what exactly the development of attachment representations is the development of’.369 In fact, a similar point was proposed to Bowlby in the 1980s by John Byng-Hall; Bowlby was highly sympathetic, describing the specification of internal working models using the metaphor of a ‘script’ as ‘a most valuable step’.370
Waters and Waters argued that at the heart of attachment theory are the secure base and safe haven responses, and of all the different content included within an ‘internal working model’ it is these that should be the focus of researchers’ efforts.371 This proposal has seen increasing acceptance among attachment researchers in recent years.372 Such a script might include some source of distress for one member of a dyad; this prompts a signal for help; the signal is detected and help is offered; this help is accepted and proves effective; the interaction proves comforting; and matters are sufficiently resolved that other activities can be recommenced. Waters and Waters proposed that having a secure base script organizing the cognitive components of the attachment behavioural system is helpful for the expression of secure behaviour when exploration is called for, and for requesting and making use of support as needed if demands or threats arise. Waters and Waters developed methods for assessing the secure base script, both using narrative methodologies appropriate for children and in coding the Berkeley Adult Attachment Interview (Chapter 3). Such methods have demonstrated that secure base scripts in adolescence and adulthood are predicted by early experiences of sensitive care and early attachment patterns, are generally stable over time, and in turn predict adult caregiving behaviour to children and other aspects of functioning, including even adult physical health.373
(p. 181) Waters and Waters conceptualised security as a single dimension, running counter to the central position of Ainsworth’s three patterns of attachment in the research imagination of other attachment researchers. For them, the capacity to make effective use of others as a secure base and safe haven is much like a skill, and the effectiveness of skills is generally measured on continua. In support for this position, a taxometric study of secure base script knowledge in late adolescence and adulthood found a dimensional latent structure at both ages.374 More generally, Waters and Waters also hold that the distinction between avoidant and ambivalent/resistant attachment is yet to have adequate substantion from home observations beyond those of Ainsworth, or empirical yield in decades of research. Nonetheless, over the coming years it can be anticipated that the conceptualisation and operationalisation of secure base scripts will be asked to incorporate some attention to the different ways that secure base scripts may be disrupted, given the characteristic interest in categories of socioemotional problems among attachment researchers (Chapter 3) and in clinical discourses (Chapter 6). This will no doubt include examination of associations with the different Strange Situation categories. Within the secure base script measures themselves, it may be that differences will be articulated and explored between the narratives of individuals who expect only instrumental support, those who expect insensitive care and partial access to a secure base/safe haven, and those who expect little or no secure base/safe haven availability at all.
Cross-cultural applicability of the Strange Situation
Two traditions of cross-cultural research
In evaluating the legacy of Ainsworth and the assessment measures she introduced, and important domain to consider is their application to cross-cultural research. Looking back in 2016 on the decades of research using Ainsworth’s methods, Mesman, van IJzendoorn, and Sagi-Schwartz observed that ‘the current cross-cultural database is almost absurdly small compared to the domain that should be covered’.375 A central reason for this seems to have been that the early attachment researchers failed to secure an alliance with anthropology. Margaret Mead had famously been an early critic of Bowlby. The nub of their disagreement, from Bowlby’s perspective, was that Mead seemed to be arguing that an infant cared for by interchangeable caregivers within a village would have the same prospects of healthy psychological development as an infant cared for by a small number of very familiar and cherished people. In direct discussion at the World Health Organisation in the 1950s, Mead put to Bowlby that the child would do fine with twenty different caregivers. Bowlby replied that in general he did not take the view that children would be harmed by having multiple caregivers; however, there were limits. Roughly equal care by twenty different caregivers would be unlikely to offer a young child the basis for discriminating, cherished relationships with (p. 182) particular familiar figures.376 This agrees with later findings from the anthropological literature, summarised recently by the social anthropologist Sara Harkness as the conclusion that ‘even in contexts of multiple caregiving, infants generally do not form close relationships with more than a few individuals’.377
Bowlby and Ainsworth held that care by more than one person was not anticipated to necessarily disrupt the quality of the attachment relationships formed with these people. For example, ‘a child cared for by several caregivers can, and frequently does, form as secure an attachment to one figure, his mother, as a child who has a more exclusive relationship with one figure’.378 Unfortunately, however, Bowlby’s impression of what was meant when anthropologists spoke of ‘multiple caregiving arrangements’ appears to have been frozen at Mead’s characterisation of twenty interchangeable people. The result was a bizarre and quite specific blindspot. Bowlby was the consummate interdisciplinary researcher, drawing in knowledge from across disciplines including behavioural biology, cybernetics, linguistics, neurology, and epidemiology. Furthermore, in fact he read anthropological research regarding grief and mourning with great interest, and reported the benefit he had gained from reading anthropological studies such as those by Raymond Firth, Geoffrey Gorer, David Mandelbaum, Phyllis Palgi, and Paul C. Rosenblatt. He also expressed appreciation for anthropological theory, such as the ideas of Durkheim and Malinowski.379
However, he tended to treat anthropologists who raised questions about his work as holding the same stance as Mead. So, for instance, when the Harvard anthropologists Sarah and Robert Levine came to talk to him in London about their research on multiple caregiving arrangements in Nigeria, he was apparently rude and dismissive.380 He systematically neglected discussion of the role of multiperson interactions in shaping attachment, since these were conflated with multiple caregiving.381 With cross-cultural differences neglected, many relevant issues in his theory remained unresolved. For instance, despite reading much relevant ethnographic research, he left unaddressed in his writings the question of whether, if all human infants have the capacity for use of the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven, all cultures could be anticipated to scaffold and utilise this capacity. Sadly, Bowlby seems to have experienced anthropologists as insufficiently uninterested in the nuances of his work to make it worthwhile working out subtlties of his theory in dialogue with anthropology.
(p. 183) By contrast, both Bowlby and Ainsworth were very encouraging of anthropological study when they were confident that the researcher did not hold that twenty interchangeable carers would offer the basis for secure attachments. When Ainsworth’s student Bob Marvin wrote reporting from his collaboration with Sarah and Robert LeVine, Bowlby described the work as ‘interesting’ and ‘very valuable’.382 No doubt a basis for Bowlby’s different stance was that the LeVines took their observations of attachment behaviour shown by infants to multiple caregivers as a falsification of attachment theory. By contrast, Marvin emphasised observations, from the very same fieldwork, that when children were distressed, they nonetheless still generally sought their most familiar adult figure. For Ainsworth, such issues brought out a fundamental difference between anthropology and psychology as research paradigms: psychological research was grounded in the potential for quantitative assessment of inter-rater reliability in the study of behaviour, whereas anthropological research was based on meticulous ethnographic observations without attempts to achieve reliability with other observers. She was a stanch advocate for anthropological and qualitative observational methods within psychology.383
However, Ainsworth was also mindful that the standing of the emergent attachment paradigm in the positivist context of American academic psychology depended on assembling a body of quantitative findings. Immediacy’s grip led the field away from precisely the tradition of mixed-methods research that had been fundamental to Ainsworth’s own intellectual development until the mid-1960s.384 As the Strange Situation classification became increasingly taken for granted, and developmental psychology moved towards an increased focus on large numbers as the basis for validity, it is now very rare even to find studies that investigate and report on the specific qualities of cases that run against the overall association.385 Danziger referred to this phenomenon across academic psychology as the ‘triumph of the aggregate’.386 Insofar as it has been reflected in the priorities of researchers after Ainsworth, Klaus and Karin Grossmann described the triumph of the aggregate in the decline of mixed-methods inquiry as an inestimable loss to attachment research.387
However, in addition to differences in epistemology, a further factor hindering the development of an alliance with anthropology was the unattractiveness of Ainsworth’s Strange Situation for ethnographic fieldwork.388 It was laborious to train to code the measure. Any (p. 184) graduate students already needing to pursue fieldwork as part of their doctorate could quite reasonably be concerned by the additional time and uncertainty of seeking to gain reliability in Ainsworth’s coding system. Furthermore, Ainsworth’s tripartite division was regarded as rather crude as an attempt to capture infant experience and care practices in their particularity. The measure may have relevance to understanding individual differences within a culture, but this is only a minor goal within anthropology, which has generally been more concerned with interpreting social practices and meanings.389 Anthropologists, often suspended between two worlds as individuals or with their families, were also specially aware from personal experience that separations and reunions have the potential for different meanings in different cultural contexts. Furthermore, social and cultural anthropology especially, at least since the 1980s, has had a general antipathy to claims that appear universalistic, and all the more so when this universalism appears value-laden.390 To the extent that attachment discourses seemed to prize security above insecurity, with stakes for how children and families were evaluated, the paradigm appeared in conflict, quite fundamentally, with a premise of social and cultural anthropology.391
Practically, it was also truly cumbersome to conduct the Strange Situation outside of the laboratory.392 Furthermore, in some cultures, it was regarded as potentially transgressive or, at least, quite rude for researchers to separate infants and caregivers.393 The Ainsworth sensitivity scale might have been considered an alternative in the 1980s and 1990s. Ainsworth had reported such a strong correlation between maternal sensitivity and infant security that they could have been regarded as much the same construct. However, regrettably, the sensitivity scale remained unpublished. It was by far eclipsed by the Strange Situation, which as a standardised laboratory-based procedure was a more rhetorically useful source of credibility for the emergent attachment research paradigm than the sensitivity scale within the psychological research community in North America and Europe, even if it had reduced utility outside of it. With the sensitivity scale not even brought to market, researchers interested in examining the role of sensitivity in care across cultures were forced either to develop (p. 185) their own scales, or to rely on dubious proxies for sensitivity such as household size. As a result, two research traditions developed in the 1980s and 1990s: developmental psychologists using measures developed in America in other countries; and qualitative ethnographic studies that eschewed these measures. Each represented a segregated part of Ainsworth’s own biographical journey, which had traversed both ethnography and laboratory science.
Cross-cultural studies in the 1980s and 1990s using standardised attachment measures were generally conducted by attachment researchers or developmental psychologists with some personal contact with Ainsworth or her students—with the signal exception of the Japanese studies (discussed in the section ‘The Strange Situation “abroad” ’).394 An early example was Kermoian and Leiderman (1986), two psychological researchers who conducted a study of 26 Gusii infants from Kenya. The Strange Situation was adapted in several thoughtful ways, such as by taking place outside the mother’s hut and by altering the reunion so that infants would be greeted with, as they would expect, the ritual handshake of greeting. The procedure was used both with the mother and with the person who most frequently cared for the infant during the day (generally a sibling). The coding was conducted by researchers trained by Main. Kermoian and Leiderman found that 61% of infants had a secure attachment classification with their mother, and 54% with their daycarer. Whereas security of attachment with mother was related to nutritional status, security of attachment with the daycarer was related to infant cognitive and motor development.395 The researchers concluded that the pervasive association between infant–mother attachment and infant functioning which has been identified in American samples may be a reflection of the diversity of activities in which American infants and mothers jointly engage, in contrast to the Gusii where a high proportion of infant–mother interaction centres around feeding, and a high proportion of infant–daycarer interaction centred around exploration and daily tasks.
A significant limitation of the cross-cultural studies conducted by psychological researchers has been that only on rare occasions did these researchers accompany their research with ethnography, and generally only when the Strange Situation had not proved workable. A clear exception is Germán Posada and colleagues in their work on the sensitivity construct and secure base behaviour, but this has proved unusual.396 Whilst attachment researchers may personally have read ethnographic research in situating their study, their write-up in psychology journals has rarely entered into dialogue with anthropologists. Nor would this have likely been rewarded by psychology journals or their reviewers. Ultimately, the ambition of these studies has been to demonstrate that the Strange Situation could tap meaningful variation in individual differences across different contexts, and to examine the role of culture in moderating the influence of caregiving on child attachment as represented by the distribution of Strange Situation classifications. The ambitions of attachment researchers in using the Strange Situation cross-culturally have been therefore, at best, only (p. 186) marginally aligned with the aim of anthropology to understand cultural practices. There have been few discussions of how the Strange Situation and its coding might best be adapted to account for cultural context and to offer insight into cultures of caregiving.397
As such, the accusation by the anthropologist Heidi Keller that ‘the only dimension that attachment researchers have recognised as cultural is the distribution of the attachment qualities’398 has an unfortunate degree of truth. Cross-cultural research was not especially well aligned with developmental psychology as a disciplinary space in the 1980s and 1990s: there are few funders who support cross-cultural psychology, and few rewards within the academic community for the slower yield of publications this research strategy generally entails.399 Ethnographic work ahead of a quantitative study would be possible, but would risk being penalised by developmental science journals, which look down on qualitative methods even for exploratory work. Attachment researchers have largely had to furnish their own evidence of cross-cultural relevance and, with few allies to take this work forward, the rate of publication has been slow. Furthermore, attachment researchers are not trained to conduct qualitative research or to draw on social and anthropological theories. Though there are certainly exceptions, this state of affairs contributes to a tendency for attachment researchers to use the Strange Situation and related measures without the empirical or conceptual work (at least in print) to examine whether or how these can be used in a valid way within a particular culture, or to develop testable hypotheses about the role of culture for variations in the functioning of the attachment and caregiving systems. This is precisely what collaboration with anthropology could have facilitated, if there had been appetite, funds, and/or satisfaction of mutual interests.
On the other hand, a second research tradition developed of qualitative studies engaging with issues of attachment. Sometimes this was conducted by developmental psychologists,400 but by the 1990s the tradition was sustained almost exclusively by professional anthropologists. This anthropological literature has had three particular markers. A first is that it was cultural, not biological anthropology that took an interest in attachment. In fact, with James Chisholm as an exception,401 there has been little sustained interest in attachment among biological anthropologists.402 A second characteristic of this anthropological (p. 187) literature was that the quality of the ethnography is high, and publications such as those of Nancy Scheper-Hughes have become classics of the anthropological literature in general. A third was that researchers have by and large displayed little knowledge of developments in attachment research since the 1980s; with some exceptions, their conversation has almost exclusively been with the ideas of Bowlby and Ainsworth, and especially Bowlby’s writings.403 And like Bowlby’s earlier writings, they have tended—with exceptions404—to assume that care relationships are attachment relationships, without consideration of the attachment-specific qualities such as directional crying and preferential seeking suggested by the theory.
Researchers after Bowlby and Ainsworth are at times treated as mute followers of these founding figures by their anthropologist critics, rather than critical contributors to a living, branching tradition of theory and research. The work of Main, for example her discussion of conditional strategies, appears mostly unknown, or known only secondhand, in anthropological discussions of attachment.405 Germán Posada’s studies have likewise been ignored. In Scheper-Hughes’ work, for example, ‘attachment’ was used to refer mostly to the caregiving system, and Bowlby was interpreted in caricature as an instinct theorist in part as a framing device through which the importance of economic and contextual factors can be highlighted in shaping care practice.406 Bowlby was used rhetorically to represent ‘biology’, against anthropology’s ‘culture’. As a consequence, differences between the disciplines and their goals have combined with poor mutual impressions. Research psychologists seem to hold an impression of anthropologists who discuss attachment as ill-informed and apparently wilfully uninterested in contemporary attachment research—or as implacably hostile, without openings for discussion of how to better conduct research in developmental science.407
In a debate at the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development in November 2018, Ross Thompson argued that anthropologists have not recognised how the field has evolved since Bowlby and Ainsworth. Keller replied that this is essentially irrelevant, since (p. 188) the version of attachment theory in wider circulation is that of Bowlby and Ainsworth, and subsequent researchers have not raised their voices to correct this account:
The real problem I have is that attachment theory in the applied field is really causing, to put it mildly, a lot of distress because children are evaluated according to attachment theory … I know that you would never subscribe to such a view. But what I’m missing is why attachment researchers don’t form a louder voice in order to distance themselves from these appearances.408
Reflecting on a symposium on anthropology and attachment research held in Frankfurt the previous year, Thompson expressed dismay that the only alternative hypothesis the anthropologists seemed interested to present was that ‘cultures vary’. Anthropologists’ dismissal of so much of attachment research methodology and theory had, in Thompson’s view, left nothing but critique. Thompson expressed the sincere wish that anthropologists had sought to be more constructive: ‘That cultures vary is not a hypothesis; it is a truism’. He urged that critics seek to join the conversation with attachment researchers by making their criticisms relevant to hypothesis-generation, for instance about when sensitivity is and is not so relevant.409 In this way, attention to universal processes and culturally specific processes could be brought together. Another example would be the Klaus and Karin Grossmann’s reflections on forms of attachment avoidance that have a basis more in cultural factors than in insensitive care, and which may therefore have different correlates.
Keller, however, shot back at Thompson that attachment researchers only tend to recognise hypotheses if they relate narrowly to the ‘gold standard’ quantitative measures.410 Furthermore, she alleged that hypotheses may not be recognised by attachment researchers unless they are made by an insider. Writing in a book co-edited by Keller, Weisner also observed that anthropologists feel deliberately ignored by developmental attachment research, which seems implacable in response to their concerns about Bowlby and Ainsworth’s ideas, and the Strange Situation procedure in particular, contributing to a sense of frustration among anthropologists.411 Whether this frustration is the anger of hope or the anger of despair is unclear. The overall result of interactions between attachment researchers and anthropologists from Bowlby to the present has been weak common ground or basis for mutual curiosity, as neither tradition treats the work of the other as engaging or valuable. Attachment researchers have mostly felt that they had to go it alone in pursuing cross-cultural quantitative research without support from anthropologists in adjusting or calibrating their measures, in the design of studies, or in interpreting results.
(p. 189) The Strange Situation ‘abroad’
The founding work of cross-cultural research conducted by attachment researchers was the Bielefeld study by Klaus and Karin Grossmann, with results published in 1981. This study sent shockwaves through the small community of attachment researchers, as well as the wider community of developmental science researchers. The distribution of Strange Situation classifications differed markedly from those of Ainsworth, with more avoidant than secure dyads in the sample. This result was interpreted in terms of the aversion of German culture to displays of distress and the importance placed on independence, reflected in childcare practices that promoted infant self-reliance such as separate sleeping, and that penalised communication of anxiety by children.412 The study became a conventional reference point, cited in reviews and textbooks, illustrating the limitations of the Strange Situation. In fact, however, subsequent studies in Germany have reported distributions that align well with both Ainsworth’s distribution and other North American, European, and Australian samples. In a second sample, from Regensburg, the Grossmanns found that 62% of the dyads received a secure classification, 27.5% an avoidant classification, 5% an ambivalent/resistant classification, and a further 5% that could not be classified into the Ainsworth categories.413 Another study in Berlin found that 77.5% of dyads in the sample were classified as secure, 17.5% were classified as avoidant, and 5% were classified as ambivalent/resistant.414
It has later been assumed that the Bielefeld findings could be explained by differences in caregiving practices characteristic of northern Germany.415 Certainly, a subsequent analysis by the Grossmanns found that a proportion of the infants from avoidant dyads had received otherwise highly sensitive care from parents who experienced cultural pressure to encourage self-reliance in their children. In a later follow-up, these infants who had experienced sensitive care had outcomes equivalent to those from securely attached dyads, and unlike their fellow avoidantly attached dyads.416 Such later findings, however, have generally (p. 190) been ignored, except among attachment researchers. The salience of the early Bielefeld findings, and their resonance with contemporary stereotypes about Germans as emotionally suppressed but secretly insecure, have held the imagination: the ‘German’ tendency towards avoidant attachment is still widely cited by both developmental psychologists417 and critics of the attachment paradigm.418
The Grossmanns were trained to conduct the Strange Situation by Ainsworth, and were given support in coding the procedure by both Ainsworth and Main. By contrast, applications of the Strange Situation by Japanese researchers were the first to be conducted by a group without even distal ties to Ainsworth. A first study, published in 1984, was carried out in Tokyo by Durrett and colleagues. Of their 39 infant–caregiver dyads, 61% were classified as secure, 13% were classified as avoidant, 18% were classified as ambivalent/resistant, and 8% could not readily be classified into one of the Ainsworth classifications. The researchers found that rates of security were higher among dyads where the parent experienced more social support. These results generated little interest or discussion: they seemed merely to confirm the status of secure attachment behaviour as the most common pattern, and that it was associated with theoretically expectable antecedents. By contrast, a second Japanese study by Takahashi was conducted in Sapporo and published in 1986; 68% of the sample of 60 infant–mother dyads were classified as secure, 32% were classified as ambivalent/resistant, and not a single infant was classified as avoidant.419
In interpreting these findings, Takahashi drew a contrast between the common occurrence of minor infant–mother separations in the American context, and the rarity of such events in the lives of infants in traditional Japanese families, who generally experienced co-sleeping, co-bathing, and being carried on their mother’s back. Takahashi emphasised that a three-minute separation is not a standardised experience, but one shaped by culture. For infants who have rarely, if ever, experienced separation from their mothers, the Strange Situation may induce panic rather than serve as a mild stressor, and so fail to reflect experiences in naturalistic settings. Considering these questions, Takahashi shared her cases with Sroufe at Minnesota (Chapter 4). Takahashi and Sroufe agreed that the Strange Situation was inappropriate for children who had so rarely experienced separations.420 They also agreed (p. 191) that the apparently high rate of ambivalent/resistant infants did not reflect the predominance of this pattern of attachment, and was instead a misclassification of overdistressed infants. It was noteworthy that the play of these infants was not poor prior to the separations, as is the usual case for the anxious/resistant group. However, Sroufe states that Takahashi was placed under institutional pressure to claim that the findings cast doubt on the cross-cultural applicability of the Strange Situation in general. In her write-up she concluded that the Ainsworth Strange Situation was a culturally specific artefact, with poor cross-cultural applicability at least to traditional Japanese infant–caregiver dyads.421 This finding stirred considerable attention. As Behrens subsequently observed, the Sapporo study findings resonated with a trend in social scientific research in the 1980s to emphasise the uniqueness of Japan, and the lack of relevance of research paradigms developed on non-Japanese samples.422 Together with the Bielefeld study, the Sapporo study appeared to provide evidence of vast differences in caregiving practices, or of the lack of cross-cultural validity of the Strange Situation procedure, or both.
However, an additional option could be variance in how the Strange Situation procedure was applied. Takahashi stated in the methodology for her paper that ‘as the original study (Ainsworth et al. 1978) didn’t clearly describe when the episodes of distress were curtailed, we set the maximum duration at 2 min. Thus the durations of distress in this study were longer than in most current studies in the United States.’423 This statement illustrates the distance of the Sapporo researchers from Ainsworth: not only did they not consult with her, but also they had a weak grasp of Patterns of Attachment, since the instruction to curtail episodes if the child becomes distressed is given clearly and repeatedly (on pages 35, 38, 39, 75, and 341). It is also mentioned in Ainsworth’s other publications,424 and in publications by other American and European attachment researchers in the 1970s.425 Furthermore, the coders of the Sapporo Strange Situations had received no training or guidance from previous researchers who had used the coding protocols. In acknowledgement of the methodological flaws in the study, Klaus and Karin Grossmann were invited to Hokkaido University, Sapporo, and recoded the videos. Unfortunately, the results of this reanalysis were printed only in the Annual Report of the Center for Child Development at Hokkaido University, and so, in practice, were not in public circulation. The results of their reanalysis are, however, interesting and important.
On review of the recordings, the Grossmanns affirmed that the separations had been continued too long. In line with Ainsworth’s instructions in print, no child was permitted to cry for more than 30 seconds in either of the Grossmanns’ samples. In the Sapporo sample, all infants were left to cry for at least 55 seconds and many for much longer: ‘some infants cried as long as 4 minutes and 40 seconds in extreme despair’.426 Many infants could do little (p. 192) but engage in exhausted sobbing through the second reunion rather than respond to the reappearance of their mother. This behaviour characterised 76% of the whole Japanese sample left to cry intensely for more than two minutes.427 Klaus and Karin Grossmann identified another factor that may have affected the distribution of classifications. Watching the videos, they observed that the mothers were shy and formal in the laboratory setting, and barely communicated with their infants while in the Strange Situation. A large minority rejected their infant’s wish for contact, whereas this behaviour was shown by none of the German parents, precisely contrary to stereotype.428 The Grossmanns observed that the Japanese infants seemed surprised by the inaccessibility of their caregiver, and this may have encouraged the infants to intensify signals of distress and anger: ‘the infants showed through their behaviour that they expected acceptance from their mothers’, implying that the withdrawn behaviour was out of keeping with their usual expectations.429 The Grossmanns concluded that the instructions given to the mothers had been interpreted by some as mandating withdrawn behaviour, when this was in fact uncharacteristic of these dyads.
Whereas Takahashi reported 68% of the sample as secure and 32% as ambivalent/resistant, the Grossmanns’ blind recoding of the sample yielded a distribution of 76% secure, 11% ambivalent/resistant, 2% avoidant, and 11% unclassifiable dyads. They also observed conflict behaviours—what Main and Solomon would call indices of disorganised attachment (Chapter 3)—in a very substantial proportion of both the Group C and the Group B infants, but did not make a systematic report on this.430 They agreed with the original coding in only 43% of cases originally coded as Group C. The Grossmanns suspected that the long separations had blown out the avoidant conditional strategy, which requires the redirection of attention away from attachment-relevant stimuli. Such redirection is only possible at moderate arousal, not at the high arousal of the infants in the Sapporo study.431 The first study using the Strange Situation in Japan, by Durrett and colleagues, had a distribution far closer to that of North American and European samples, though with somewhat fewer avoidant dyads and somewhat more ambivalent/resistant dyads. This suggested to the Grossmanns that cultural differences in caregiving might be playing a role in the distribution of conditional strategies over and above overstress caused by the procedural issues. In line with this assumption, they found that more Japanese Group C infants (50%) than German Group C infants (10%) cried immediately as separation began. However, complicating the picture, they also found that on average the Japanese sample cried less than the German sample as separations began, suggesting that the sample as a whole was not necessarily overwhelmed by separations per se.432
(p. 193) Debate about the Sapporo study went quiet for a decade, until the matter was revived by Rothbaum, Miyake (one of the collaborators on the Sapporo study), and colleagues in 2000. In a high-profile paper in the American Psychologist they repeated Takahashi’s earlier claims that the Sapporo data showed that the Strange Situation is not cross-culturally valid as an assessment of individual differences.433 Like Takahashi, they pointed to the prolonged skin-to-skin contact and the pre-emption of needs experienced by Japanese infants compared to the distal interactions of western infants, which they supposed would make any separations unbearable for most Japanese infants. Rothbaum and colleagues also drew on the tradition of qualitative ethnographic research to propose that Japanese caregivers value signs of infant dependency over displays of autonomy, and that this would account for the higher numbers of ambivalent/resistant and the fewer avoidant dyads. They could point to no quantitative findings in support of this claim, however, and the only direct study showed the opposite: that Japanese caregivers value dependency far less than the infant using the caregiver as a safe base from which to explore.434 Rothbaum and colleagues dismissed this study, however, since it was from Tokyo and they presumed that the findings therefore reflected the western values of a metropolitan capital city.435
To appraise the claims of Rothbaum and colleagues, Kondo-Ikemura and colleagues conducted another study in Sapporo in the 2010s. The Strange Situation procedure was carried out in line with Ainsworth’s protocols. They found that 69% of dyads were classified as secure, 2% as avoidant, 16% as ambivalent/resistant, and 13% as disorganised. They found that the infant attachment classifications were strongly predicted by Adult Attachment Interviews with the parents, in line with research in other societies (Chapter 3).436 And a sizeable proportion of mothers in the sample worked, suggesting that the infants were not unfamiliar with separations. Nonetheless, the number of avoidant dyads was low. Kondo-Ikemura and colleagues argued that the Strange Situation was generally a valid measure of individual differences in the Japanese context, associated with expectable covariates. They qualified that some aspect of Japanese childcare practice likely explains the low proportion of avoidant dyads, but they did not speculate on what this might be.
In a recent chapter, Mary True surveyed discussions of the cross-cultural validity of the Strange Situation.437 She makes two points of particular relevance to appraising Ainsworth’s legacy to cross-cultural developmental research. She reports from a meta-analysis comparing cultures that conventionally include prolonged skin-to-skin contact between infants and caregivers and cultures that conventionally use distal caregiving strategies. Rates (p. 194) of secure attachment are the same between these two contexts. By contrast, rates of avoidance are lower and rates of ambivalent/resistance are higher when, as in the Japanese case, prolonged skin-to-skin contact is part of caregiving norms.438 This accumulated evidence indicates systematic variation in the kind of conditional strategy used in the context of differences in caregiving cultures. However, True argues that such accumulated findings represent a denigration of Ainsworth’s true legacy, since without articulation of the specific processes occurring within infant–caregiver interaction, any interpretation is recklessly speculative.
True states that attachment researchers have focused too much on supplying and then interminably discussing distributions in Strange Situation patterns. A limitation of Ainsworth’s approach was the prominence she gave to the Strange Situation, when in fact the generative core of her insights came precisely from the combination of qualitative ethnography of general processes and quantitative assessment of dyadic processes. True observes that this potent combination has become fractured into the anthropological and developmental traditions of cross-cultural research on attachment. This has stalled efforts to pin down and operationalise the role of cultural factors in contributing to both adverse forms of care and the role of cultural protective factors, which may be of strong relevance to intervention science.439
Ainsworth’s focus on the Strange Situation made sense in the context of the priorities and values of psychology as a discipline in the 1970s and 1980s. But it closed down conversation between psychology and anthropology, in a way that may well not have occurred had she headlined the sensitivity scale. In recent decades, attachment researchers have applied Ainsworth’s sensitivity scale in measuring caregiving behaviour across various countries and contexts, where it has successfully predicted infant attachment behaviour and later socioemotional development.440 It is certainly the case, as Röttger-Rössler among others has shown, that Ainsworth’s language regarding ‘appropriate’ caregiver response is potentially ambigious, depending heavily on training in order to clarify its meaning, and contributing to the potential for coders to judge appropriateness by specific cultural standards.441 Much depends here on the design of studies that are thoughtful about cultural context and validity, and the work of coders to integrate the particularities of culture and childcare practices within the formal aspects of Ainsworth’s system. This work is barely mentioned in the (p. 195) published literature, which means that the principles and processes through which it has been achieved are not transparent or available for discussion.442 This is an issue that would likely have seen substantial resolution had anthropologists and developmental psychologists been able to listen to and learn from one another on the basis of more common ground.
Yet evidence in favour of the cross-cultural relevance of Ainsworth’s construct is that differences from western cultural norms are not, in themselves, generally associated with lower scores for sensitivity. Rather, the majority of caregivers in most contexts around the world are characterised as showing sensitivity, except where families are facing conditions of social, economic, or political adversity, or where caregivers have themselves experienced trauma or maltreatment. And even then, the effects of adversity and trauma may in some instances be buffered by protective aspects of childcare practices.443 Nonetheless, the gulf between attachment researchers and anthropologists has hindered the development of a global research agenda to explore these processes, and in turn the take-up of attachment research within the growing policy and research concern with child development and global public mental health.444
Some remaining questions
The crying question
Ainsworth and Bell’s study of crying behaviour was the first analysis of the home observation data. They found that when mothers responded promptly to infants crying in the first quarter, they cry less in the final quarter of the first year.445 This finding was a landmark report at the time, offering a symbolic victory for attachment theory.446 It ran directly contrary to the behaviourist theory that if crying for a parent is heeded and brings about a positive outcome for the child, it will be repeated more often over time. Instead, the finding supported Bowlby’s proposition that affection shown to children would not ‘spoil’ them and make them dependent, but in fact would help them feel confident in the availability of their caregiver or caregivers and less prone to distress.447 Furthermore, Ainsworth and colleagues soon after (p. 196) found that babies who reciprocated actively when held by their mother were less likely to protest when put down, and more likely to immediately turn to independent exploration.448 Stayton and Ainsworth interpreted these findings by proposing that babies could accept cessation of contact because they are confident that the caregiver will be accessible if needed.449
That infant crying was reduced by the end of the first year rather than increased by prompt response by caregivers was a landmark finding, and one that Bowlby and Ainsworth continued to mention until the end of their careers with a passionate, steady insistence. The finding neatly encapsulated the empirical implications of attachment theory. Furthermore, in Patterns of Attachment, Ainsworth and colleagues reported that ‘mothers who are promptly responsive to crying signals in the early months have babies who later become securely attached’.450 The statistical procedures by which Ainsworth and Bell came to these conclusions were contested by her critics.451 However, without any other longitudinal data available to help answer the question, the Baltimore findings were the only source of scientific information relevant to the heated question of whether babies should be left to cry.452 In the 1980s, infant crying was also gaining in importance in the context of proposals, for instance by Michael Lamb and colleagues, that infant physical abuse may at times be triggered in parents as tiredness and emotional unrest and urgent cues meld together as hot frustration.453
The topic drew the attention of the young Marinus van IJzendoorn, then in his late twenties and newly appointed as full Professor at Leiden University. At the time, van IJzendoorn was immersed in reading attachment theory, writing the first Dutch book offering a detailed appraisal of Bowlby’s ideas.454 Van IJzendoorn had been asked to care for his six-month-old godson whilst the child’s parents were away. He stood at the crib hour after hour, through the night, trying helplessly to quiet the baby, who cried without ceasing. Days became endless, and the nights even worse. By the time his godson’s parents returned, van IJzendoorn had resolved to conduct a replication of Ainsworth and Bell’s research, to understand more about how to reduce infant crying.455 He worked with a doctoral student, Frans Hubbard, to collect (p. 197) data on what would be a very intensive study. Data collection began in 1983 and took four years, using the new technology provided by an event recorder/FM audio registration unit.
The findings were clear-cut: when caregivers responded to fuss or cry signals, infants cried more often by the end of the first year. Yet journals were not keen to publish the results, and it took until the 1990s before the paper was finally in print.456 Hubbard and van IJzendoorn realised that ‘research on crying evolved into a “pièce de résistance” of attachment theory … It constituted a cornerstone of attachment theory and therefore was not really open to theoretical and empirical criticism.’457 However, Hubbard and van IJzendoorn did not regard their results as representing an attack on attachment theory, but as criticism of specific aspects of Ainsworth and Bell’s methodology. They argued that the Ainsworth and Bell paper adopted an inappropriate statistical approach, a crude strategy of measurement, and overconfidence in assertion of their findings on the basis of such a small sample. Hubbard and van IJzendoorn proposed that a distinction needed to be drawn between low-level fussing and loud and prolonged cries. They speculated that whereas their technology-enabled methodology allowed them to track the former, it is likely that only the latter would have been recorded every time by Ainsworth’s live observers, even if fussing was sometimes noted.
Low-level fussing is not, Hubbard and van IJzendoorn argued, an attachment signal. Sensitive responsiveness to these behaviours may have little implication for informing the expectations that organise the attachment behavioural system; instead, they may encourage more fussing. This is in contrast to loud and prolonged cries by the infant, which are attachment signals. The term ‘crying’ was inherited by developmental psychology from ordinary language, but was not proving helpful since it hid this important distinction. Ainsworth herself would conclude: ‘Even the most responsive mothers did not respond to a little cry that stopped spontaneously when a baby was put to sleep or a similar brief fuss when a baby was trying to turn over and could not manage by itself, however, succeeding next. But rarely did they fail to respond to a loud and prolonged cry.’458 The Hubbard and van IJzendoorn findings have had little traction, however. Still today, the Ainsworth and Bell paper is widely cited to prove that prompt response to infant crying reduces subsequent crying. For instance, parents are taught about the finding to encourage nurturing care as part of Dozier and colleagues’ influential Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up parenting intervention.459
North American developmental psychology had long felt the tension between a stance that gave primacy to individuals and a stance that gave primacy to relationships.460 Ainsworth’s (p. 198) group aligned themselves firmly with the latter perspective. The sensitivity measure is partly an assessment of individual differences between caregivers—responsiveness to crying perhaps more so, since it is a cruder measure. But in both cases there is no standardisation of infant behaviour: the measure assesses the way that particular infant signals are noticed and responded to by the caregiver, which is at least in part an assessment of the dyad in their interactive dance. There was one assessment in which this dance was not observed, however, and in which only individual behaviour was coded: the Strange Situation.
Ainsworth sought to semi-control the caregiver’s behaviour in the Strange Situation in order to make the separations a standardised, ambiguous, but evocative stimulus. And the written coding system for the Strange Situation that she created was for individual infant behaviour only, an approach generally extrapolated by her students to the coding of patterns of attachment in separation–reunion procedures at later developmental stages.461 In itself this is no problem. The behaviours of individual children in the Strange Situation are associated with interactions of the dyad at home, and can predict caregiver behaviour towards the child in other settings (Chapter 4). This is somewhat astonishing, profound even, and suggests that a coding system for individual behaviours can serve as a workable window on attachment as a dyadic property, since this behaviour reflects—even if imperfectly—infants’ expectations about their caregiver’s availability. Yet the methodological choice to code individual behaviours was not fully owned: Ainsworth did not accompany this de facto focus of the Strange Situation with any checklist to support its reliability as a measure of individual differences, as might have been expected. For instance, researchers using the procedure were not required to take note of whether a child was ill, was on relevant medication, or even had received regular care by the parent.462 This is despite that fact that Ainsworth and later researchers readily acknowledged these factors as relevant to the reliability of a Strange Situation procedure. Klaus and Karin Grossmann believe that Ainsworth assumed that the Strange Situation would usually be accompanied by naturalistic observation of dyads, making a checklist for relevant individual differences superfluous.463 However, as discussed, naturalistic observation fell away over time from attachment research, following the priorities of the wider discipline of developmental science.
This potential limitation on reliability has been accepted quietly by subsequent researchers. Perhaps it has been felt that the issue is minor, and that most infants in most samples will nonetheless respond to separation and reunion with a caregiver in ways that reflect to some extent the care they have received in that relationship. It may also have been felt by second-generation attachment researchers, and all the more by third generation, that it is now too late to add such reliability safeguards. Whereas such issues of reliability have generally been ignored, some attachment researchers have explicitly wondered whether it is (p. 199) valid to assess attachment as a dyadic property with a focus on infant behaviours.464 A few have sought to revise or create coding systems focused on dyadic interactions. The most direct attempt has been that of Crittenden, who elaborated coding systems for the Strange Situation and other assessment measures that explicitly assess caregiver–child interaction rather than the individual behaviour of the child.465 One of the systems for coding behaviour at age six by the Berkeley group was the unpublished Strage and Main approach to coding reunions of verbal children; this was also a dyadic coding system.466 And Lyons-Ruth and colleagues developed a dyadic-based coding system called the Goal-Corrected Partnership in Adolescence Coding System.467 Nonetheless, the predominant approach to the assessment of child–caregiver attachment has certainly remained the coding of individual child behaviours following the protocol set out in Ainsworth and colleagues in Patterns of Attachment.
Main attempted to title a paper ‘Security of attachment characterises relationships, not infants’, with the running header of ‘Relationships, not infants’ (though the paper ended up with a different title in its published version as a concession to gruelling rounds of peer-review feedback).468 Bowlby put matters starkly in Attachment, Volume 1: ‘any statement about a child of twelve months himself showing a characteristic pattern of attachment behaviour, distinct from the interactional pattern of the couple of which he is a partner, and implying some degree of autonomous stability, is certainly mistaken’.469 Yet one consequence of an individual-focused coding system for the Strange Situation has been that the predominant language used to discuss the categories of the Strange Situation is of secure, avoidant, and ambivalent/resistant infants. It is clear that a factor contributing to such language was that the coding system assessed individual behaviours. However, an additional factor has been that it is incredibly cumbersome to keep writing out ‘behaviour shown in the Strange Situation by an infant in a dyad classified as avoidant, suggesting a certain history of infant–caregiver interactions’; it is easier to refer to an avoidant or A infant. Such terminology implied—or at the very least ceaselessly risked the implication—that attachment was a fixed individual trait and ultimate explanation. This is the kind of implication that, once everyone is asleep, creeps out and drinks the blood of a relationship-focused paradigm. Looking back (p. 200) over three decades of research using the Strange Situation, and two decades of training coders, Sroufe acknowledges:
We readily slip into describing cause in terms of individual traits rather than developmental systems. At the outset I want to adopt the curved finger of accusation and say that attachment theorists, such as myself, are equally vulnerable to this problem. Frequently, we slip into using terms such as ‘securely attached child’ when we know that attachment is really a relationship term, and the proper description would be ‘a child with a history of a secure relationship with the primary caregiver’. We don’t do it because this is unwieldy.470
Eagle proposed that this discourse has contributed to a focus on individual differences rather than relationships in attachment research more generally. He claimed that despite the theoretical acknowledgement of attachment as a relational construct, in practice the fact of the matter is that most attachment research is indistinguishable from a research programme that imagines individual differences as fixed traits.471 There are certainly exceptions: an example is the attention of Sroufe and Egeland to continuities in security and insecurity that may be expressed as different forms of behaviour depending on the child’s stage of development (Chapter 4). And Guy Bosmans and colleagues pursued innovative work examining attachment-relevant transitory states, contrasting them to more stable individual differences in attachment.472 However, in general, Eagle’s observation does have purchase. Fonagy and Campbell, taking the criticism further, recently argued that unless attachment research can move away from a spiritless obsession with categories for individual differences between humans, it will have no ‘intellectual vigour and relevance’, and likely no future (see Chapter 6).473
Early experiences vs continuity of care
Ainsworth and colleagues found that caregiver sensitivity in the home observation data predicted infant attachment in the Strange Situation. And a generation of subsequent researchers found a host of associations between the Strange Situation and later outcomes. However, Ainsworth and her team did not have the data to make claims about the implications of infant attachment for later development; and later researchers only very rarely undertook extensive home observations. Those that did, such as Klaus and Karin Grossmann, conducted their research with samples facing comparatively few adversities or sources of disruption. Given that caregiver sensitivity is quite stable over time unless specific changes intrude which alter the resources available to the caregiving system, it remained entirely unclear whether attachment as measured by the Strange Situation was functioning as an autonomous (p. 201) predictive variable, or whether maternal sensitivity or other aspects of the caregiving context were behind the scenes, doing the causal work. This question was raised by Michael Lamb and colleagues in their controversial criticisms of the Strange Situation. They argued that ‘relationships between early experiences and later outcomes have been demonstrated only when there is continuity in the circumstances’.474 It was not known, therefore, whether the causal factor for these later outcomes was early experiences of care in early childhood, early patterns of attachment, or experiences of care at the time of later outcomes. Or all three independently. Or an interaction. This question, left largely unexplored, has muddied uses of attachment theory to inform clinical and preventative work.
Ainsworth acknowledged the problem head-on in a paper delivered to the International Conference on Infant Studies in April 1984. She urged colleagues to accept that ‘stability of patterns of attachment during infancy is influenced by the degree to which family interaction is stable, while still not making what I think is the error of attributing continuity wholly to such stability’.475 Likewise, the prediction from early attachment to later child outcomes was argued to follow the same logic. Part of what was measured in the Strange Situation was the consequences of the caregiving the child had received. Change the caregiving, and these implications change. However, Ainsworth argued that the residue of experiences of caregiving do, over time, come to organise the attachment behavioural system in relatively durable ways. Yet this conference address by Ainsworth remained unpublished, and the position generally attributed to her has been that infant attachment is of special importance because of its major role in mediating early care and later development and mental health outcomes. By the early 1990s, Everett Waters was expressing deep concern that this assumption had come to function as ‘dogma and doctrine’.476 There were a few studies that examined the contributions of infant attachment and later caregiving, generally finding that both made a contribution to peer co-operativeness, language skills, school readiness, and behaviour problems.477 In these, child outcomes were generally better when early insecure attachment in the Strange Situation was followed by sensitive care than when early secure attachment in the Strange Situation was followed by subsequent insensitive care. In 1998, Thompson observed that ‘virtually all attachment theorists agree that the consequences of a secure or insecure attachment arise from an interaction between the emergent internal representations and personality processes that attachment security may initially influence, and the continuing quality of parental care that fosters later sociopersonality growth’.478 However, no studies were conducted to see whether the Strange Situation added to prediction beyond early caregiver sensitivity.
(p. 202) Sroufe and Egeland’s Minnesota group was one of the few laboratories that had longitudinal data on caregiver behaviour, infant attachment classifications, and later developmental outcomes. But they only made separate reports of the relationship between sensitivity and the Strange Situation,479 and the Strange Situation and later outcomes,480 or folded caregiver sensitivity and infant Strange Situation classifications together into an ‘early caregiving experiences composite’.481 The position of Sroufe and Egeland appears to have been that neither sensitivity nor the Strange Situation is in itself ‘attachment’, which cannot be directly measured but must be inferred. As such, to Sroufe and Egeland, whether it was the sensitivity scale or the Strange Situation that was doing the predicting was rather irrelevant. Both measures were assumed to be only vantages on dyadic differences in the attachment relationship, scientific proxies for detailed observations of infant–caregiver interaction in naturalistic settings. Sroufe and Egeland appeared to prefer the Strange Situation, however, when they had specific hypotheses about the correlates of the avoidant or ambivalent/resistant attachment classifications. Since the retirement of Sroufe and Egeland, the Minnesota group have tended to stop reporting analyses on the longitudinal correlates of the Strange Situation at all, and instead have generally reported longitudinal associations of caregiver sensitivity.482
However, it should not be thought that Minnesota alone had the data to examine the question of whether it is actually sensitivity that is behind associations between the Strange Situation and other correlates. After Minnesota, there have subsequently been other laboratories with relevant data. One is the huge NICHD dataset, which has over a thousand dyads with assessments using the Strange Situation and of sensitivity at multiple time-points, including prior to the Strange Situation (though the measure of sensitivity had differences from Ainsworth’s scale, since it included warmth and lack of intrusiveness).483 This dataset has been available for three decades, and could have been used to see if the Strange Situation added to prediction after inclusion of prior caregiver sensitivity. An obstacle to tests of mediation, however, may have been norms and expertise in statistical analysis among the developmental science community. Attachment researchers tended to rely in the 1980s on one-way analyses of variance and other statistical tests that permitted examination of the implications of caregiving on attachment, or attachment on some other variable. Mediational path analyses would only really enter into attachment research from the 1990s, despite earlier claims made for its relevance.484 However, the issue was not simply methodological, but grounded (p. 203) in a theoretical commitment to attachment patterns as developmentally causal. This is supported by the fact that multiple regression was used with increasing frequency through the 1980s by attachment researchers, in line with a broader trend in developmental psychology, but attachment and sensitivity were not examined together in an attempt to identify their respective contributions. When, in the 2000s, structural equation modelling was deployed by the Minnesota group to analyse their data, a composite variable containing both the Ainsworth infant attachment patterns and early caregiving experiences was used, rather than separating these out.485
In 1998, Elizabeth Carlson from the Minnesota group published an article addressing the disorganised attachment classification.486 Though Carlson’s work is addressed further in Chapter 3 and 4, it is important to mention this article here, as it was the first published work by the Minnesota group in which early caregiving and an infant attachment classification were entered into a mediational analysis. As an index of early caregiving, Carlson used a composite which included observer-assessed caretaking skill of the mother, the mother’s sensitivity, and information about whether the caregiver had been abusive or engaged in suicide attempts. She found that the relationship between this early care composite and adolescent mental health problems was fully mediated by the disorganised attachment classification. She also found that avoidant attachment made an independent contribution to adolescent mental health problems. However, she did not include avoidant attachment within the mediational model.
The first full answer to Lamb’s question about the predictive significance of sensitivity and attachment would wait for a study by Beijersbergen, Juffer, Bakermans-Kranenburg, and van IJzendoorn, reported in 2012.487 Beijersbergen and colleagues conducted a follow-up with 125 adolescents who had been adopted early in their childhoods. Maternal sensitivity and infant attachment were assessed at 12 months of age. When the children were 14 years old, maternal sensitivity was assessed again during a discussion around difficult and conflict-evoking topics. The Adult Attachment Interview (Chapter 3) was used to assess the adolescents’ state of mind regarding attachment. The researchers found no continuity of attachment between infant attachment in the Strange Situation and states of mind regarding attachment in the Adult Attachment Interview. However, maternal sensitivity in infancy and adolescence predicted continuity of secure attachment. Furthermore, a change from maternal insensitivity in infancy to sensitivity in adolescence predicted a change in attachment patterns from insecure to secure. The researchers concluded that continuity of attachment seems dependent on continuity of the caregiving context, as Lamb and Waters both predicted: ‘We therefore submit that attachment theory should be a theory of sensitive parenting as much as it is a theory of attachment.’488
At age 23, the sample was asked to complete Waters and Waters’ attachment script assessment. The same results appeared. There was no continuity of attachment from infancy to young adulthood. Sensitive care during childhood, but not adolescence, was a good predictor (p. 204) of secure base scripts at age 23.489 This was a controversial finding, given the extent of prior emphasis on prediction from the Strange Situation. An informal network of quantitatively oriented attachment researchers including Bakermans-Kranenburg and van IJzendoorn made a call in 2014 for further work on this question. They asserted ‘an urgent need for theory-driven studies that address mediating processes that account for such enduring effects, for example by addressing questions concerning whether such long-term continuities are due to the ongoing supportive function of attachment relationships and/or the early effects of attachment experiences on the construction of stable psychological structures’.490
However, the emphasis on sensitivity by many researchers since Ainsworth has been challenged by Ainsworth’s former student Jude Cassidy and her colleagues. Just as Waters argued that amorphous measurements of ‘attachment’ should be superceded by precise attention to the availability of a secure base/safe haven script, Cassidy and colleagues argued that sensitivity should be superceded by the capacity of a caregiver to provide a secure base and safe haven.491 Whilst in general this capacity will align with sensitivity, Cassidy and colleagues argued that they are entirely distinguishable. Sensitivity considers all of a caregiver’s response to any infant cues, whereas secure base/safe haven provision is more specific about which infant cues are relevant and which caregiver responses. Sensitivity is also concerned with the caregiver’s promptness of response, which is not necessarily as central for secure base/safe haven provision. These proposals have received initial support from a a recent study by Woodhouse and colleagues of 174 mother–infant dyads facing socioeconomic adversities.492 The researchers found that observed secure base/safe haven provision was a much better predictor of Strange Situation classifications than observed sensitivity, and accounted for 16% of variance. The association between the two observational measures of caregiving was weak (r = .11). Woodhouse and colleagues also conclude that secure base/safe haven provision likely has greater cross-cultural applicability than the Ainsworth sensitivity construct.
Table 2.2 Some key concepts in Ainsworth’s writings
Personal wellbeing and confidence
Ainsworth used the term ‘security’ to mean a person’s confidence in their efficacy to access the people/resources to have their needs met. When this confidence is available, its source was described by Ainsworth as a ‘secure base’.
She also used the term as a category label for a group of infants in her Strange Situation procedure. These infants seek physical or distal contact, are readily comforted following separations, and are able to return to play. This implied to Ainsworth that they were confident in their caregiver’s availability.
An attachment figure is a familiar person who is sought or wished for under conditions of alarm (i.e. when the attachment system is activated).
Attachment in adulthood
Continuation of individual differences in attachment from early childhood across the lifespan
Ainsworth described separation anxiety and secure base and safe haven dynamics as aspects of relationships in both childhood and adulthood. And following Bowlby, she anticipated some elements of continuity in how individuals respond within relationships that have these attachment components.
The role of these attachment components in adulthood have been measured very differently, and more or less directly, by different attachment researchers.
Definitive test of individual differences in attachment
A structured laboratory-based observational procedure developed by Ainsworth. The Strange Situation was intended to provide a window into a child’s expectations about their caregiver’s availability based on the history of their prior interactions. It is a validated proxy for direct observations of those interactions.
Warmth and tenderness
Though used more expansively in her early work, the term ‘sensitivity’ was a highly technical one for Ainsworth from the late 1960s. By this she meant the ability of a caregiver to (i) perceive and to (ii) interpret accurately the signals and communications implicit in an infant’s behavior, and given this understanding, to (iii) respond to them appropriately and (iv) promptly. Ainsworth developed a scale, unpublished until recently, for assessing caregiver sensitivity.
Various other measures of sensitivity have subsequently been developed by attachment researchers. Not all of them measure sensitivity as technically defined by Ainsworth.
Illustrative Statement: ‘Ainsworth’s Strange Situation procedure showed that sensitive care was associated with infant security with their attachment figure.’
Mistaken for: Ainsworth’s Strange Situation functions as a definitive test of the extent that individual infants deviate from a standard of security, representing their state of wellbeing. This state of wellbeing is associated with the warmth and tenderness shown by their mother.
Technical meaning: Ainsworth’s Strange Situation is a validated proxy for naturalistic observations of dyads containing an infant and someone who functions, at least to a material extent, as an attachment figure. It is an imperfect research instrument based on a small sampling of behaviour, and subject to measurement error. However, findings using the procedure can be supported by convergence with those from other approaches, such as observations of caregiver sensitivity.
Ainsworth’s methodological innovations were a depth charge thrown into the water of developmental psychology: bubbles from the explosion are still coming to the surface today. The influence of Ainsworth’s research programme on subsequent attachment research has been foundational, enduring, and profound. Ainsworth observed that ‘research methods (p. 205) influence the theoretical formulation associated with it. The reverse is also true.’493 The Strange Situation is an extreme case. Rather than simply a tool for deployment in line with researchers’ intentions, the Strange Situation extended the ambitions of an area of research, whilst also shaping the kinds of action and thought that subsequently seemed feasible or worthwhile.494 On the one hand, the Strange Situation has provided the basis for a cumulative research paradigm for the study of early relationships for over 50 years—an astonishing feat. Over 15,000 child–caregiver dyads have been seen in the Strange Situation in the course of published research in this period. There will be many thousands more involved in unpublished research and clinical and forensic practice. Without the development of the Strange Situation, attachment theory would very likely have failed to take root within American developmental psychology.495 By the same token, Granqvist suggested that if a measure had been developed for cognitive science or evolutionary psychology of equal importance as the Strange Situation for developmental psychology, it is quite possible that attachment theory would have put down roots in these disciplines too.496
On the other hand, to a degree that dismayed Ainsworth, the Strange Situation became the essence of attachment research at the expense of mixed methods research and naturalistic observation: ‘I have been quite disappointed that so many attachment researchers have gone on to do research with the Strange Situation rather than looking at what happens in the home or in other natural settings—like I said before, it marks a turning away from “fieldwork”, and I don’t think it’s wise.’497 Ainsworth was proud of the Strange Situation and the way that it helped contribute to recognition for attachment theory. Nonetheless, Klaus and Karin Grossmann report that ‘in our last encounter with Mary Ainsworth, she said that she regretted the Strange Situation book [Patterns of Attachment], which had really eclipsed what she had in mind. She said, sadly, that she rather would have written a book about sensitivity.’498 The Strange Situation was constructed by Ainsworth as a heuristic, a means to further explore Bowlby’s theory of behavioural systems. However, in general, the Baltimore longitudinal study was part-misrepresented and part-misinterpreted as a hypothesis-testing endeavour, giving findings the appearance of greater certainty and closure than they warranted.499 And more specifically, the Strange Situation came to replace the interactions in the home that it had been intended to capture and preserve. Individual differences in the form of (p. 206) attachment categories became the focus of attention, even as Bowlby’s behavioural systems model became part of the backdrop rather than an active concern.
The second generation of attachment researchers inherited from Bowlby and Ainsworth a theory with (i) apparently intuitive and accessible elements, including positions on normative child rearing, integrated with (ii) subtle, technical distinctions in the use of concepts and theory (e.g. between attachment behaviour and the attachment behavioural system), and (iii) complex observational measures. This facilitated the development of a division between an inner core of specialised developmental researchers and a wide popular constituency of practitioners, parents, and policy-makers interested in attachment theory and research, with terms like ‘attachment’ and ‘security’ offering switchers and relays between these different domains. Frequently, these groups have talked right past one another with the same words. Neither subtle, technical distinctions nor complex observational measures are easily transmitted through a print medium. It is also hard to effectively debate and discuss them in public, even when this can be acknowledged as a good use of time. One consequence is that attachment ideas, for all their accessibility to diverse audiences, have been continually at risk of being understood in ways that differ wildly from the understanding of researchers.
An important example has been the way that readers generally interpreted Ainsworth’s construct of ‘sensitivity’ in line with the ordinary language connotations of the term. This is hardly surprising, since the coding system for sensitivity remained unpublished (until the 2015 reissue of Patterns of Attachment by Waters) and the operationalisation of the construct was little discussed in print. Chapter 1 describes how criticism of attachment theory has at times mistaken the ideas popularised by Bowlby in the 1950s for the commitments of subsequent researchers, leading attachment researchers to experience their paradigm as chronically misunderstood and somewhat maligned, and critics to regard attachment research as a heedless and arrogant enterprise.500 This has proven an obstacle to effective dialogue between attachment research and anthropology. Furthermore, the gap between researchers and their publics left open space for entrepreneurs to enter the market as authorities. At times this has resulted in high-quality and well-informed popular texts and commercial trainings. However, at times these entrepreneurs have profited from the circulation of accounts of attachment theory and research that in important ways run contrary to available empirical evidence (Chapter 6).
A second consequence of the role of subtle, technical distinctions and complex observational measures has been obstacles to the diffusion of expert knowledge, expertise, and authority. It encouraged the development of an oral culture among developmental researchers based on lines of mentorship and attendance at lengthy training institutes, to permit the development and trained exercise of complex (and often implicit) skills of perception, thought, appreciation, and valuation501—the development of an ‘attachment’ eye.502 Through the training institutes, researchers could become socialised in tacit skills of observation, conceptualisation, and judgement that offered access to the practical intricacies of relevant theory, (p. 207) such as the secure base concept. However, the requirements of this socialisation within an oral culture have made the reproduction of the field challenging, and the number of developmental attachment researchers has remained comparatively small. Reliance on an oral culture has, at times, made it relatively difficult even for other developmental psychologists to understand the details of the phenomena under discussion, for instance how the Strange Situation categories are actually operationalised. For example, researchers speculate about the meaning of differences in infant–caregiver behaviour in the Strange Situation in ways largely cut loose from how it is coded.503
The role of an oral culture has also made it difficult for researchers not centrally concerned with attachment to accurately take from and meaningfully contribute to the tradition of research. An effect was that research groups where the oral culture could be accessed—such as Berkeley (Mary Main; Chapter 3), Minnesota (Alan Sroufe and others; Chapter 4), Regensburg (Klaus and Karin Grossmann), and SUNY (Everett Waters and Judith Crowell) in the 1980s504—became centres of gravity for developmental attachment research and the training of future researchers. The leaders of these research groups gained the status of ‘authorities of delimitation’, with a certain capacity to set the terms of the developmental tradition.505 These dynamics are not only apparent in retrospect. Even in the 1980s, attachment researchers were themselves offering analysis and commentary on these sociological processes in print, worrying that the result would be a dynamic of ‘insiderness’ among certain research groups, to the exclusion of non-members.506
There were major advantages of having such centres of gravity for the developmental tradition. One was the capacity to develop a centralised training and reliability test for the Strange Situation, which has supported interlaboratory agreement as well as providing a site with ritual as well as pragmatic functions, such as cultivating junior researchers and developing international solidarity and networks. Another advantage was the momentum that was generated around high-investment, high-yield longitudinal studies such as the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (Chapter 4). A third advantage was forms of collaboration and sharing of data for particular purposes, supported by strong interpersonal relationships, for instance in appraising cross-cultural differences.507 The development of the disorganised attachment classification was, as Chapter 3 will show, based in part on the willingness of other laboratories to share their tapes of the Strange Situation with Main and the Berkeley group.
(p. 208) However, one negative consequence of the manner in which the developmental tradition was transmitted was that some aspects of Ainsworth’s approach were adopted with, in retrospect, too little explicit discussion. One aspect, emphasised by Roisman and van IJzendoorn, was the focus on intensive, small-scale work in distinct research groups.508 A huge advantage was that this supported fidelity of measurement. In general, larger studies have tended to have poor associations between the Strange Situation and measures of sensitivity, which has raised questions in some quarters about whether coders rushed their task.509 Roisman and van IJzendoorn suggest that an alternative might have been to build collaborative consortia, with data-sharing between the many small groups. Pursuing just such a strategy, the willingness of researchers in the developmental tradition of attachment research to share and pool data has reached its apex in forms of Individual Participant Data meta-analysis in recent years (Chapter 6).510 The strong, somewhat ‘familial’ interpersonal connections of the developmental tradition may be supposed to have supported the development of such data-sharing initiatives.
Another less-advantageous aspect of Ainsworth’s approach that was followed by the second generation, and which is interesting in retrospect, was her eschewal of popular media. Bowlby was keen to use television, radio, magazine articles, and books published by popular presses to influence clinicians, policy-makers, and the wider public.511 These methods were not pursued by Ainsworth and they were not generally adopted by the subsequent generation of attachment researchers.512 In fact, Ainsworth’s correspondence time and again reveals her deep discomfort when she was approached with requests for prescriptive advice. The eschewal of popular media by Ainsworth and the vast majority of her confederates stands out as unusual among their peers. Child development researchers, in general, have been among the most active in public engagement among psychological researchers, in part due to the ready public and practitioner audience for knowledge in this area, and the growing policy problematisation of child development.513 It should be acknowledged that (p. 209) there are exceptions. Patricia Crittenden and Peter Fonagy have been energetic in communicating to public and professional constituencies about attachment theory.514 And the Circle of Security graphic of the caregiver as a secure base and safe haven has circulated widely as a visual representation of Ainsworth’s concepts.515 Nonetheless, as Goldberg observed, after Bowlby ‘many attachment researchers (myself included) have been reluctant to take on this responsibility’ of knowledge exchange with non-researchers.516
Beyond the model provided by Ainsworth, several further reasons might be identified for the neglect of public engagement by the second generation of attachment researchers. One would surely be the lack of incentives for public engagement within American academic life in the 1980s and 1990s. The second generation also saw directly the problems and misunderstandings caused by Bowlby’s popularizing texts; there may have been a sense of wanting to seal themselves off from what they felt unable to mend. A further reason for the lack of public engagement activities by Ainsworth and most of her successors is likely to have been the urgent priority felt for the development of attachment as a distinct and differentiated scientific paradigm, a ‘field’ for attachment research.517 This was understood to entail efforts to test and secure the main aspects of what were judged Ainsworth’s legacy: the Strange Situation and its expectable caregiving and behavioural correlates. In this regard, as we shall see in Chapter 3, Main was both the quintessential second-generation researcher and a marked exception. Few of the second generation were as deeply steeped in and committed to Ainsworth’s ideas and methods, and most of Main’s work focused on correlates of the Strange Situation in one way or another. Yet Main was also a radical innovator, introducing new theoretical ideas, changing the coding of the Strange Situation procedure, and creating assessments of attachment for later in the lifecourse. She also shaped interpretations of Ainsworth and Bowlby. These developments, discussed in Chapter 3, would establish the methodological and theoretical mainstream for the second generation of attachment researchers through the 1990s and 2000s.
(p. 210) Appendix
1 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press.
2 Bowlby, J. (1985) Letter to Everett Waters, 30 October 1985. PP/Bow/B.3/40.
3 A definition of genuine partnership was provided by Bowlby as ‘when two more or less autonomous beings share a common plan’. A sure sense of common plan is evident between Bowlby and Ainsworth from the 1960s onwards. The definition appears in Bowlby, J. (1969) Letter to Robert Marvin, 10 December 1969. PP/Bow/J.9/132.
4 Ainsworth, M. & Bowlby, J. (1991) 1989 APA award recipient addresses: an ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46(4), 333–41, p.333.
5 Bowlby J. (1951) Maternal Care and Mental Health. Geneva: WHO, p.53; Ainsworth, M.D. (1985) Attachments across the life span. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 61(9), 792–812.
6 Interview with Mary Ainsworth by Robert Karen cited in Karen, R. (1998) Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.133.
7 All seven men in the cohort of doctoral students who graduated with Ainsworth were married, stayed married, and raised children; in contrast, only one of the six female academics had an enduring marriage, and it was only after the breakdown of the marriages that their careers took off. Isaacson, K.L. (2006) Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby: the development of attachment theory. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of California, Davis.
8 Ainsworth, M. (1983) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth. In N. Felipe Russo & A.N. O’Connell (eds) Models of Achievement: Reflections of Eminent Women in Psychology (pp.200–18). New York: Columbia University Press.
9 Ainsworth, M. (1969) CPA oral history of psychology in Canada interview. Unpublished. http://www.feministvoices.com/assets/Women-Past/Ainsworth/Mary-Ainsworth-CPA-Oral-History.pdf.
10 Ainsworth, M. (1995) On the shaping of attachment theory and research: an interview with Mary D.S. Ainsworth. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3), 2–21: ‘Mainly, however, findings obtained with other species have made me feel that I have been on the right track rather than helping me understand the specifics of human babies’ behaviour.’ (9)
11 Ainsworth, M. (1965) Letter to John Bowlby, 2 February 1965. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
12 Ainsworth, M. (1983, 2013) An autobiographical sketch. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 448–59, p.456.
13 Ainsworth, M. (1960) Letter to John Bowlby, 18 October 1960. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1.
14 Ainsworth, M. (1983) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth. In N. Felipe Russo & A.N. O’Connell (eds) Models of Achievement: Reflections of Eminent Women in Psychology (pp.200–18). New York: Columbia University Press, p.212.
15 Main, M. (1999) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth: tribute and portrait. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(5), 682–736, p.704.
16 Ainsworth, M. (1997) Peter L. Rudnytsky—the personal origins of attachment theory: an interview with Mary Salter Ainsworth. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 52, 386–405, p.401.
17 This sadness remains powerful, however, in Ainsworth’s reference to her ‘vain longing’ for children in Ainsworth, M. (1983, 2013) An autobiographical sketch. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 448–59, p.459.
18 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Letter to John Bowlby, 11 April 1984. PP/BOW/B.3/8: ‘Longing gave me some kind of perceptive in terms of which I could understand mother–infant interaction.’ See also Maurer, D. (1998) Interview with Mary Ainsworth: never miss an opportunity to hold a baby, 12 May 1998. Daily Progress. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/gallery/never_miss/nevermiss.htm:‘Quite a lot of my wanting my own child played into my life work.’ Among the most distinctive characteristics of Ainsworth’s written voice is the dignity she gives to young children’s gestures and concerns, grounded in meticulous attentiveness to their behaviour, affect, and interaction. Countless illustrations could be offered from works such as Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press. However, even in discussing adult autobiographical discourse, an imaginative concern with the child this adult might once have been is palpable: Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Eichberg, C.G. (1991) Effects on infant–mother attachment of mother’s experience related to loss of an attachment figure. In: C.M. Parkes, J. Stevenson-Hinde, & P. Marris (eds) Attachment Across the Life Cycle (pp.160–83). New York: Routledge.
19 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Object relations, dependency and attachment. Child Development, 40, 969–1025, p.1002.
20 Ainsworth, M. (1962) Letter to John Bowlby, 3 January 1962. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1.
21 Blatz, W.E. (1934) Human Needs and How They Are Satisfied. Des Moines: State University of Iowa.
22 Blatz, W.E. (1940) Hostages to Peace: Parents and the Children of Democracy. New York: William Morrow, p.182; see Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1988) Security. Unpublished discussion paper prepared for the Foundations of Attachment Theory Workshop, convened for the New York Attachment Consortium by G. Cox-Steiner & E. Waters, Port Jefferson, NY. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/mda_security.pdf.
23 Ainsworth, M. & Ainsworth, L. (1958) Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.4.
25 Ainsworth, M. & Ainsworth, L. (1958) Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.44.
26 Ainsworth, M. (1990, 2010) Security and attachment. In R. Volpe (eds) The Secure Child: Timeless Lessons in Parenting and Childhood Education (pp.43–53). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.
27 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1980) Attachment and child abuse. In: G. Gerbner, C.J. Ross, & E. Zigler (eds) Child Abuse: An Agenda for Action (pp.35–47). Oxford: Oxford University Press; Ainsworth, M. (1965) Letter to John Bowlby, 2 February 1965. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
28 Ainsworth, M. (1990, 2010) Security and attachment. In R. Volpe (ed.) The Secure Child: Timeless Lessons in Parenting and Childhood Education (pp.43–53). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, p.49.
29 E.g. Main, M. (1977) Sicherheit und wissen. In K.E. Grossmann (ed.) Entwicklung der Lernfahigheit in der sozialen Umwel (pp.47–95). Munich: Kindler; Sroufe, L.A. (1996) Emotional Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Waters, E. & Cummings, E.M. (2000) A secure base from which to explore close relationships. Child Development, 71(1), 164–72; Davies, P.T., Harold, G.T., Goeke-Morey, M.C., & Cummings, E.M. (2002) Child emotional security and interparental conflict. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 67, 1–115.
30 Ainsworth, M. & Ainsworth, L. (1958) Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.32.
31 Harlow, H.F. & Zimmermann, R.R. (1958). The development of affectional responses in infant monkeys. Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society, 102(5), 501–509.
32 Ainsworth, M. (1964) Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer, 10(1), 51–8, p.54. The distinction would be further established within attachment theory through becoming the central theme of the Circle of Security intervention: Marvin, R., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Powell, B. (2002) The Circle of Security project: attachment-based intervention with caregiver–pre-school child dyads. Attachment & Human Development, 4(1), 107–24.
33 Ainsworth, M. (1976) Attachment and Separation in Paediatric Settings. Unpublished manuscript. PP/Bow/J.1/40: ‘Painful procedures may still be painful, but the pain is easier to endure with mother present to give comfort, and more easily recovered from when it is over. On the other hand, all the potential sources of fear and distress may become overwhelming if the child must face them without the security given by the presence of an attachment figure.’
34 E.g. Harwood, R.L., Miller, J.G., & Irizarry, N.L. (1995) Culture and Attachment: Perceptions of the Child in Context. New York: Guilford; Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J., Pott, M., Miyake, K., & Morelli, G. (2000) Attachment and culture: security in the United States and Japan. American Psychologist, 55(10), 1093–104; LeVine, R.A. (2004) Challenging expert knowledge: findings from an African study of infant care and development. In U.P. Gielen & J.L. Roopnarine (eds) Childhood and Adolescence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Applications (pp.149–65). Westport, CT: Praeger.
35 Waters, E. & McIntosh, J. (2011) Are we asking the right questions about attachment? Family Court Review, 49(3), 474–82, p.475. Bowlby would later observe that ‘the values of western culture’ lead the benefits of a secure base to be ‘overlooked, or even denigrated’. Both he and Ainsworth were angered that in the society around them, autonomy and independence were mistakenly supposed to just be default states, unless there was a specific problem. This had led to a neglect of the quiet enormity of the secure base role and an overvaluation of liberal self-reliance. Bowlby, J. (1970, 1979) Self-reliance and some conditions that promote it. In The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds (pp.124–49). London: Routledge, p.125. Nonetheless, a focus on the haven of safety at the expense of the secure base has occurred within attachment theory and especially in its public representation. See Wall, G. (2018) ‘Love builds brains’: representations of attachment and children’s brain development in parenting education material. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40(3), 395–409.
36 The spatial and territorial underpinnings of the ‘secure base’ metaphor were materialized by the squares physically marked by Ainsworth on the floor in the original Strange Situation procedure, to help coders—in the absence of videotape—identify infant movement away from and back towards the caregiver.
37 Salter, M. (1939) The concept of security as a basis for the evaluation of adjustment. Unpublished doctoral thesis, University of Toronto. Cf. Prichard, E. & Ojemann, R.H. (1941) An approach to the measurement of insecurity. Journal of Experimental Education, 10(2), 114–18.
38 Ainsworth, M. & Ainsworth, L. (1958) Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
39 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1988) Security. Unpublished discussion paper prepared for the Foundations of Attachment Theory Workshop, convened for the New York Attachment Consortium by G. Cox-Steiner & E. Waters, Port Jefferson, NY. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/mda_security.pdf: ‘I felt dissatisfied with the validity of my scales because of their inadequate coping with the whole matter of defensive maneuvers.’
40 Ainsworth, M. & Ainsworth, L. (1958) Measuring Security in Personal Adjustment. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, p.17.
41 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1988) Security. Unpublished discussion paper prepared for the Foundations of Attachment Theory Workshop, convened for the New York Attachment Consortium by G. Cox-Steiner & E. Waters, Port Jefferson, NY. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/mda_security.pdf
42 On the travel required by women psychologists such as Ainsworth to support their husband’s careers, see Johnston, E. & Johnson, A. (2008) Searching for the second generation of American women psychologists. History of Psychology, 11(1), 40–72. On the East African Institute of Social Research see Mills, D. (2006) How not to be a ‘Government House Pet:’ Audrey Richards and the East African Institute for Social Research. In M. Ntarangwi, D. Mills, and M. Babiker (eds) African Anthropologies (pp.76–98). London: Zed Books.
43 See Cohen, A. (1957) Uganda’s progress and problems. African Affairs, 56(223), 111–22.
44 On the relationship between ethnographic method and colonialism in the period see Asad, T. (1979) Anthropology and the colonial encounter. In G. Huizer &B. Manheim (eds) Politics of Anthropology: From Colonialism and Sexism Toward a View from Below (pp.85–96). The Hague: Mouton.
45 Ainsworth, L.H. & Ainsworth, M.D. (1962) Acculturation in East Africa. I. Political awareness and attitudes toward authority. Journal of Social Psychology, 57(2), 391–9; Ainsworth, M.D. & Ainsworth, L.H. (1962) Acculturation in East Africa. II. Frustration and aggression. Journal of Social Psychology, 57(2), 401–407.
46 Ainsworth, M.D. (1983, 2013) An autobiographical sketch. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 448–59: ‘I welcomed Dr Richards’ directive that there be an anthropological component to the study, for this ensured that I would view current mother–infant interaction and maternal care practices in their cultural context, and I valued the opportunities presented by the institute again to interact with a multidisciplinary team’ (455).
47 Ainsworth, M. (1964) Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer, 10(1), 51–8.
48 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, p.438.
51 Ainsworth, M. (1964) Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer, 10(1), 51–8, p.52.
52 Ainsworth, M. & Bowlby, J. (1991) 1989 APA award recipient addresses: an ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46(4), 333–41: In Uganda, Ainsworth ‘divided the babies into three groups: securely attached, insecurely attached, and non-attached … Nonattached babies were left alone for long periods by unresponsive mothers but, because they were the youngest in the sample, Ainsworth now believes that they may merely have been delayed in developing attachment’ (337).
53 Ainsworth, M. (1964) Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer, 10(1), 51–8, p.58.
54 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, p.392.
55 A third predictor was the mother’s enjoyment of breastfeeding.
56 Ainsworth, M. (1959) Letter to John Bowlby, 18 September 1959. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1.
57 Ainsworth’s ‘Excellence as Informant’ scale, unpublished, cited by Bretherton, I. (2013) Revisiting Mary Ainsworth’s conceptualization and assessments of maternal sensitivity–insensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 460–84, p.467.
58 Ainsworth, M. (1959) Letter to John Bowlby, 18 September 1959. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1; Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, p.398.
59 See also Bailey, H.N., Redden, E., Pederson, D.R., & Moran, G. (2016) Parental disavowal of relationship difficulties fosters the development of insecure attachment. Revue Canadienne des Sciences du Comportement, 48(1), 49–59.
60 Levine, M.V. (2000) A third-world city in the first world: social exclusion, racial inequality, and sustainable development in Baltimore, Maryland. In R. Stren & M. Polese (eds) The Social Sustainability of Cities: Diversity and the Management of Change (pp.123–56). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.
61 Ainsworth, M. & Bowlby, J. (1991) 1989 APA award recipient addresses: an ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46(4), 333–41, p.337.
62 Ainsworth, M. (1966) Letter to Bruno Klopfer, 22 September 1966. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 8.
63 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to Martin James, 23 February 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, M3170, Folder 1.
64 Blehar, M. & Ainsworth, M. (1978) Close Bodily Contact. Unpublished manuscript. PP/Bow/J.1/49.
65 Ainsworth, M. (1995) On the shaping of attachment theory and research: an interview with Mary D.S. Ainsworth. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3), 2–21, p.11–12.
66 Ainsworth, M. (1965) Letter to John Bowlby, 22 June 1965. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2: ‘For two years, I set myself to believing that I had found a good assistant, and to ignoring the obvious deficiencies in her performance. Suddenly, there was a moment of truth. I found that she had written up fewer than half of the visits that she had made to the babies in our sample. She has been catching up ever since, and will probably not finish catching up until the end of September.’
67 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 9 April 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
68 Another example, consequential for the next chapter, was that two-thirds of the infants classified as part of avoidant dyads in the Ainsworth sample showed extensive conflict behaviours according to the home observation data. These avoidant dyads were more troubled than, in retrospect, might be expected from a representative community sample. This may have contributed to Main’s initial assumption that avoidant attachment and conflict behaviour would go together, until she and colleagues came to the conclusion that conflict behaviour could cut across the Ainsworth classifications (Chapter 3). Main, M. (1981) Avoidance in the service of proximity: a working paper. In K. Immelmann, G.W. Barlow, L. Petrinovich, & M. Biggar Main (eds) Behavioral Development: The Bielefeld Interdisciplinary Project (pp.651–93). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.664.
69 Ainsworth’s first use of the term ‘sensitivity’ was in Infancy in Uganda, but it was used there essentially as a descriptor, without a technical meaning yet. Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, p.397.
70 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press.
71 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Sensitivity vs. insensitivity to the baby’s signals scale. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/measures/content/ainsworth_scales.html. Some but not all aspects of the sensitivity scale and construct were described in Stayton, D.J., Hogan, R., & Ainsworth, M. (1971) Infant obedience and maternal behavior: the origins of socialization reconsidered. Child Development 42(4), 1057–69, p.1060–61.
72 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Sensitivity vs. insensitivity to the baby’s signals scale. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/measures/content/ainsworth_scales.html.
74 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1977) Social development in the first year of life: maternal influences on infant–mother attachment. In: J.M. Tanner (ed.) Developments in Psychiatric Research (pp.1–20). London: Hodder & Stoughton, p.6.
75 Waters, E., Petters, D., & Facompre, C. (2013) Epilogue: reflections on a Special Issue of Attachment & Human Development in Mary Ainsworth’s 100th year. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 673–81, p.676.
76 LeVine, R.A. & Norman, K. (2001) The infant’s acquisition of culture: early attachment reexamined in anthropological perspective. In C.C. Moore & H.F. Mathews (eds) The Psychology of Cultural Experience (pp.83–104). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Mageo, J.M. (2013) Toward a cultural psychodynamics of attachment: Samoa and US comparison. In N. Quinn & J. Mageo (eds) Attachment Reconsidered: Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory (pp.191–214). New York: Palgrave.
77 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Sensitivity vs. insensitivity to the baby’s signals scale. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/measures/content/ainsworth_scales.html; Mesman, J. & Emmen, R.A. (2013) Mary Ainsworth’s legacy: a systematic review of observational instruments measuring parental sensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 485–506; Bohr, Y., Putnick, D.L., Lee, Y., & Bornstein, M.H. (2018) Evaluating caregiver sensitivity to infants: measures matter. Infancy, 23(5), 730–47. Among the studies to have included warmth in indexing sensitivity, the most important is the NICHD study: NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1999) Child care and mother–child interaction in the first three years of life. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1399–413.
78 For Bowlby’s emphasis on maternal ‘warmth’ see e.g. Bowlby, J. (1953) Child Care and the Growth of Love. Harmondsworth: Pelican, p.77.
79 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1988) Security. Unpublished discussion paper prepared for the Foundations of Attachment Theory Workshop, convened for the New York Attachment Consortium by G. Cox-Steiner & E. Waters, Port Jefferson, NY. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/online/mda_security.pdf.
80 Main, M. (1999) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth: Tribute and portrait, Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(5) 682–736.
81 See e.g. Egeland, B., & Farber, E. A. (1984). Infant-mother attachment: Factors related to its development and changes over time. Child Development, 753–71; Bailey, H.N., Bernier, A., Bouvette-Turcot, A.A., Tarabulsy, G.M., Pederson, D.R., & Becker-Stoll, F. (2017). Deconstructing maternal sensitivity: Predictive relations to mother-child attachment in home and laboratory settings. Social Development, 26(4), 679–93.
82 Grossmann, K. & Grossmann, K. (2012) Bindungen—das Gefüge psychischer Sicherheit Gebundenes. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta; Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M., Behrens, K., et al. (2016) Is the ideal mother a sensitive mother? Beliefs about early childhood parenting in mothers across the globe. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 40(5), 385–97. Dozier and Bernard conclude that sensitivity in Ainsworth’s technical sense is a universal good, which can be achieved in various culturally specific ways; they therefore take a principled stance in adapting the delivery but not the basic tenants of their Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up intervention when applying it in different cultures. Dozier, M. & Bernard, K. (2019) Coaching Parents of Vulnerable Infants: The Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up Approach. New York: Guilford, p.231.
83 LeVine, R.A. (2004) Challenging expert knowledge: findings from an African study of infant care and development. In U.P. Gielen & J.L. Roopnarine (eds) Childhood and Adolescence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Applications (pp.149–65). Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing. Keller, H. (2018) Parenting and socioemotional development in infancy and early childhood. Developmental Review, 50, 31–41.
84 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Cooperation vs. interference with baby’s ongoing behavior. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/measures/content/ainsworth_scales.html. Rothbaum and Morelli mistakenly attribute this quote to Ainsworth’s sensitivity scale in their accusation that the latter is ethnocentric. Rothbaum, F. & Morelli, G. (2005) Attachment and culture: bridging relativism and universalism. In W. Friedlmeier, P. Chakkarath, & B. Schwarz (eds) Culture and Human Development: The Importance of Cross-Cultural Research to the Social Sciences. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger, p.103.
85 White, S., Gibson, M., Wastell, D., & Walsh, P. (2019) Reassessing Attachment Theory in Child Welfare. Bristol: Psychology Press. See also Vicedo, M. (2013) The Nature and Nurture of Love: From Imprinting to Attachment in Cold War America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, Chapter 7.
86 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Sensitivity vs. insensitivity to the baby’s signals scale. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/measures/content/ainsworth_scales.html.
88 Ainsworth, M. (1992) A consideration of social referencing in the context of attachment theory and research. In S.Feinman (ed.) Social Referencing and the Construction of Reality in Infancy (pp.349–67). New York: Plenum Press.
89 Kondo-Ikemura, K. (2001) Insufficient evidence. American Psychologist, 56(10), 825. On the issue of forms of pre-emptive sensitivity see also Keller, H. & Otto, H. (2009) The cultural socialization of emotion regulation during infancy. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(6), 996–1011; Shai, D. & Belsky, J. (2017) Parental embodied mentalizing: how the nonverbal dance between parents and infants predicts children’s socio-emotional functioning. Attachment & Human Development, 19(2), 191–219.
90 For a comparison of attachment theory and liberal political theory see Duschinsky, R., Greco, M., & Solomon, J. (2015) Wait up! Attachment and sovereign power. International Journal of Politics, Culture, and Society, 28(3), 223–42. On the history of concepts of agency see Smith, R. (2015) Agency: a historical perspective. Annals of Theoretical Psychology, 12, 3–29.
91 Keller has argued that Ainsworth’s sensitivity scale is ethnocentric, since there are societies in which ‘caregivers do not take the infant’s point of view because infants have not (yet) attained personhood status, and it makes no sense to take the perspective of someone who is not yet a person’. Keller, H. (2018) Parenting and socioemotional development in infancy and early childhood. Developmental Review, 50, 31–41, p.38. However, the ascription of personhood is by no means necessarily the same as taking the experience of another into account, which was Ainsworth’s concern.
92 E.g. Lindhiem, O., Bernard, K., & Dozier, M. (2011) Maternal sensitivity: within-person variability and the utility of multiple assessments. Child Maltreatment, 16(1), 41–50; Joosen, K.J., Mesman, J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2012) Maternal sensitivity to infants in various settings predicts harsh discipline in toddlerhood. Attachment & Human Development, 14(2), 101–17.
93 Britner, P.A., Marvin, R.S., & Pianta, R.C. (2005) Development and preliminary validation of the caregiving behavior system: association with child attachment classification in the preschool Strange Situation. Attachment & Human Development, 7(1), 83–102; Mesman, J. & Emmen, R.A. (2013) Mary Ainsworth’s legacy: a systematic review of observational instruments measuring parental sensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 485–506; Hallers-Haalboom, E.T., Groeneveld, M.G., Endendijk, J.J., Linting, M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & Mesman, J. (2017) Mothers’ and fathers’ sensitivity with their two children: a longitudinal study from infancy to early childhood. Developmental Psychology, 53(5), 860–72.
94 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J. (2019) Bridges across the intergenerational transmission of attachment gap. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 31–6.
95 Yovsi, R.D., Kärtner, J., Keller, H., & Lohaus, A. (2009) Maternal interactional quality in two cultural environments: German middle class and Cameroonian rural mothers. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 40(4), 701–707.
96 E.g. Whipple, N., Bernier, A., & Mageau, G.A. (2011) Broadening the study of infant security of attachment: maternal autonomy-support in the context of infant exploration. Social Development, 20(1), 17–32. The question of whether support for child exploration is a universal or a culturally specific contributor to infant attachment security is one that has been debated in the cross-cultural research literature, though on the basis of ethnographic observation rather than research findings using the standardized attachment measures. See e.g. LeVine, R.A. (2004) Challenging expert knowledge: findings from an African study of infant care and development. In U.P. Gielen & J.L. Roopnarine (eds) Childhood and Adolescence: Cross-Cultural Perspectives and Applications, 149–65. Westport, CT: Praeger.
97 For a summary of all correlates of sensitivity in the Ainsworth Baltimore study see Bretherton, I. (2013) Revisiting Mary Ainsworth’s conceptualization and assessments of maternal sensitivity-insensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 460–84, Table 4.
98 E.g. Tamis-LeMonda, C.S., Briggs, R.D., McClowry, S.G., & Snow, D.L. (2009) Maternal control and sensitivity, child gender, and maternal education in relation to children’s behavioral outcomes in African American families. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 30(3), 321–31; Vermeer, H.J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Groeneveld, M.G., & Granger, D.A. (2012) Downregulation of the immune system in low-quality child care: the case of secretory immunoglobulin A (SIgA) in toddlers. Physiology & Behavior, 105(2), 161–7; Bernier, A., Dégeilh, F., Leblanc, É., Daneault, V., Bailey, H.N., & Beauchamp, M.H. (2019) Mother–infant interaction and child brain morphology: a multidimensional approach to maternal sensitivity. Infancy, 24(2), 120–38.
99 Manning, L.G., Davies, P.T., & Cicchetti, D. (2014) Interparental violence and childhood adjustment: how and why maternal sensitivity is a protective factor. Child Development, 85(6), 2263–78.
100 Mesman, J. & Emmen, R.A.G. (2013) Mary Ainsworth’s legacy: a systematic review of observational instruments measuring parental sensitivity. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 485–506.
101 It may also not be the best context for making cross-cultural comparisons: Lancy, D.F. (2007) Accounting for variability in mother–child play. American Anthropologist, 109(2), 273–84. It should be noted that samples with longer observations, for instance the Minnesota Longitudinal Study of Risk and Adaptation (Chapter 4), have tended to find an association between sensitivity and attachment even in contexts such as bathing, where attachment-specific signals are less frequent.
102 Leerkes, E.M. & Zhou, N. (2018) Maternal sensitivity to distress and attachment outcomes: interactions with sensitivity to nondistress and infant temperament. Journal of Family Psychology, 32(6), 753–61.
103 E.g. Bowlby, J. (1980, 1988) Caring for children. In A Secure Base (pp.1–21). London: Routledge: ‘I regard it as useful to look upon parenting behaviour as one example of a limited class of biologically rooted types of behaviour of which attachment behaviour is another example, sexual behaviour another, and exploratory behaviour and eating behaviour yet others’ (6).
104 Bowlby, J. (1977–79) Interview with Alice Smuts and Milton J.E. Senn. Wellcome Trust Library Archive. PP/BOW/A.5/2.
105 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 16 January 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
106 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 9 April 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2. Though specifically influenced by her Uganda ethnography and Baltimore study, Ainsworth’s emphasis on the feeding interaction can be placed in the broader context of American parenting discourses in the 1960s, in which the challenges of infant feeding and its value were being emphasized. See Foss, K.A. (2010) Perpetuating ‘scientific motherhood’: infant feeding discourse in Parents magazine, 1930–2007. Women & Health, 50(3), 297–311.
107 Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Bell, S.M. (1969) Some contemporary patterns of mother–infant interaction in the feeding situation. In A. Ambrose (ed.) Stimulation in Early Infancy (pp.133–70). London: Academic Press.
108 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment. In N.S. Endler & J. McVicker Hunt (eds) Personality and the Behavioral Disorders (pp.559–602). New York: Wiley, p.566.
109 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 9 April 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
110 An early exception is Egeland, B. & Brunnquell, D. (1979) An at-risk approach to the study of child abuse: some preliminary findings. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 18(2), 219–35. However, even in this article, the importance of feeding interactions in predicting child abuse appears clearly in the results but is downplayed in the discussion. Additional more recent exceptions include Britton, J.R., Britton, H.L., & Gronwaldt, V. (2006) Breastfeeding, sensitivity, and attachment. Pediatrics, 118(5), 1436–43; Woolley, H., Hertzmann, L., & Stein, A. (2008) Video-feedback intervention with mothers with postnatal eating disorders and their infants. In F. Juffer, M.J. Bakermans-Kranenburg, & M.H. van IJzendoorn (eds) Promoting Positive Parenting: An Attachment-Based Intervention (pp.111–38). New York: Psychology Press; Tharner, A., Luijk, M.P., Raat, H., et al. (2012) Breastfeeding and its relation to maternal sensitivity and infant attachment. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 33(5), 396–404; Messina, S., Reisz, S., Hazen, N., & Jacobvitz, D. (2019) Not just about food: attachments representations and maternal feeding practices in infancy. Attachment & Human Hevelopment, 23 April, 1–20. Illustrative of the underelaborated position of eating: the relevance of meal-times is acknowledged by Poslawsky and colleagues in the choice of this potentially fraught setting for measuring sensitivity among parents with children with autism. However, the researchers offer no reflection on the relationship between attachment and meal-time practices. Poslawsky, I.E., Naber, F.B., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., van Daalen, E., van Engeland, H., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2015) Video-feedback intervention to promote positive parenting adapted to autism (VIPP-AUTI): a randomized controlled trial. Autism, 19(5), 588–603.
111 Ainsworth, M. (1979) Infant–mother attachment. American Psychologist, 34(10), 932–7, p.934.
112 An exception is McCormack, M. (2012) Investigating the association between attachment and binge eating. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Deakin University, Victoria.
113 Ainsworth, M. (1963) Letter to John Bowlby, 18 July 1963. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1; Ainsworth, M., Bell, S., & Stayton, D. (1972) Individual differences in the development of some attachment behaviors. Merrill-Palmer, 18(2), 123–43: ‘In the case of attachment behaviors other than crying the coding did not begin with the behavior itself, but rather with a “critical” situation that seemed likely to activate the behavior, so that both occurrence and nonoccurrence of expected behaviors could be counted. Among such critical situations was the departure of a person from the room in which an infant was situated’ (126).
114 Ainsworth, M., Bell, S., & Stayton, D. (1972) Individual differences in the development of some attachment behaviors. Merrill-Palmer, 18(2), 123–43.
115 Caldwell, B.M., Hersher, L., Lipton, E.L., et al. (1963) Mother–infant interaction in monomatric and polymatric families. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 33(4), 653; Caldwell, B.M. & Hersher, L. (1964) Mother–infant interaction during the first year of life. Merrill-Palmer, 10(2), 119–28.
116 Ainsworth, M. (1963) Letter to John Bowlby, 27 June 1963. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 1.
117 Ainsworth, M. (1995) On the shaping of attachment theory and research: an interview with Mary D.S. Ainsworth. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2/3), 2–21: ‘I had seen a lot of separations and reunions in the homes, a lot of exploration, a lot of proximity seeking, and a lot of differences in how the baby and the mother behaved in these situations. So constructing the episodes of the Strange Situation wasn’t hard at all; as I recall, it took just about half an hour of talking with Barbara Wittig to decide on the episodes and their sequence—it just came naturally’ (12).
118 Van Rosmalen, L., Van der Veer, R., & Van der Horst, F. (2015) Ainsworth’s strange situation procedure: the origin of an instrument. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 261–84. See Shirley, M.M. (1942) Children’s adjustments to a strange situation. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 37, 201–17. Shirley’s work is not cited by Ainsworth in any of her publications but is cited by Arsenian, and by Bowlby, J. (1969, 1982) Attachment, Volume 1. London: Penguin, p.247. Michael Lamb (personal communication) recalls that Ainsworth recommended that he read Shirley’s paper in 1973. The procedure seems to have also been independently developed by Harlow, who applied the approach to study the exploratory and care-seeking behaviour of baby rhesus monkeys in an unfamiliar environment: Harlow, H.F. (1958) The nature of love. American Psychologist, 13, 673–85.
119 Arsenian, J.M. (1943) Young children in an insecure situation. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 38, 225–49.
120 Ibid. p.227. Arsenian’s findings were replicated by Rheingold, H.L. (1969) The effect of a strange environment on the behavior of infants. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behavior, Vol. 4 (pp.137–66). London: Methuen. Ainsworth, M. (1998) Harold Stevenson—SRCD oral history interview. http://srcd.org/sites/default/files/documents/ainsworth_mary_interview.pdf: ‘One day, Harriet [Rheingold] and I met at a meeting and I said, “Oh, Harriet, you’d be interested in something I’m currently doing, um, the strange situation …” (Laugh) “You are too? I’m just starting mine”.’
121 Ainsworth, M. (1964) Patterns of attachment behavior shown by the infant in interaction with his mother. Merrill-Palmer, 10(1), 51–8, p.54.
122 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press: ‘Tight control of maternal behaviour is impossible and indeed undesirable. The compromise represented in our procedures turned out to have effected a reasonable degree of standardisation of the situation, while allowing most mothers to behave naturally and fairly comfortably’ (41). Cf. Brown, S. (2012) Abstract experimentalism. In N. Wakeford & C. Lury (eds) Inventive Methods (pp.61–75). London: Routledge.
123 Ainsworth, M. & Bell, S. (1970) Attachment, exploration, and separation: illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41(1), 49–67, pp.50–53.
124 Writing under Ainsworth’s influence, see Waters, E. & Sroufe, L.A. (1983) Social competence as a developmental construct. Developmental Review, 3, 79–97: ‘Any single sample of naturalistic behavior, especially if brief, could be unrepresentative and, paradoxically, less revealing of the child’s competence in the “real world” than a strategically designed laboratory assessment, in which a child must cope with a problem that regularly (though rarely) occurs in the natural environment’ (85). In fact, the similarity of the Strange Situation to ordinary expectable brief infant–caregiver separations has regularly been used by attachment researchers in research ethics applications over the decades.
125 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment. In N.S. Endler & J. McVicker Hunt (eds) Personality and the Behavioral Disorders (pp.559–602). New York: Wiley, p.572.
126 Ainsworth, M. (1965) Letter to John Bowlby, 2 February 1965. PP/Bow/D3/69.
129 Schaffer, H.R. & Emerson, P.E. (1964) The development of social attachments in infancy. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 29(3), 1–77.
130 See e.g. Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press. Ainsworth and colleagues propose that the Strange Situation can be used in custody and forensic decision-making: ‘A practical situation in which the issue is whether or not to remove a child from his natural parents and place him in a foster or adoptive home, it might be of moment to ascertain whether he has become strongly enough attached to his parent(s) that it would be more traumatic to him to be separated from them or to remain with them’ (291). However, Ainsworth’s measures did not allow for assessment of strength of attachment. A scale for assessing the strength of attachment in the Strange Situation would later be developed by Betty Carlson, though it has seen little use outside of research contexts. See Zeanah, C.H., Smyke, A.T., Koga, S.F., Carlson, E., & Bucharest Early Intervention Project Core Group (2005) Attachment in institutionalized and community children in Romania. Child Development, 76(5), 1015–28.
131 Ainsworth, M. & Wittig, B. (1969) Attachment and exploratory behaviour of one-year-olds in a Strange Situation. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behaviour, Vol. 4 (pp.111–36). London: Metheun, p.112–13.
132 Ainsworth, M. (1973) A Secure Base. Unpublished manuscript. PP/Bow/J.1/33. This claim was soon after supported by Carr, S., Dabbs, J., & Carr, T. (1975) Mother–infant attachment: the importance of the mother’s visual field. Child Development, 46, 331–8.
133 Ainsworth, M D.S. (1985) Attachments across the life span. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 61, 792–812, p.805.
134 Bowlby, J. (1967) Letter to Mary Ainsworth, 19 April 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2: ‘Terminology. All your terms—securely attached, prematurely independent & disturbed—are shot through with value judgements & hidden predictions.’
135 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 6 August 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
136 Ainsworth, M., Robertson, J., & Bowlby, J. (1953) ‘Reunion after prolonged separation’, chapters drafted for an unpublished book. PP/BOW/D.3/21; see also Van Rosmalen, L., Van der Veer, R., & Van der Horst, F. (2015) Ainsworth’s strange situation procedure: the origin of an instrument. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 51(3), 261–84.
137 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 6 August 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2. For Ainsworth’s reflections having seen a greater diversity of samples, including higher risk samples and cases of serious child neglect, see Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1980) Attachment and child abuse. In: G. Gerbner, C.J. Ross, & E. Zigler (eds) Child Abuse: An Agenda for Action (pp.35–47). Oxford: Oxford University Press; Crittenden, P.M. & Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1989) Child maltreatment and attachment theory. In D. Cicchetti & V. Carlson (eds) Child Maltreatment: Theory and Research on the Causes and Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect (pp.432–63). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
138 Ainsworth, M. & Wittig, B. (1969) Attachment and exploratory behaviour of one-year-olds in a Strange Situation. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behaviour, Vol. 4 (pp.111–36). London: Metheun, p.126.
139 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.230.
141 Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Ainsworth repeatedly considered splitting the B2 group up, especially after seeing more 18-month Strange Situations. One group of B2 dyads would contain children who were confident in their capacity to self-regulate following the first reunion, but who knew they could approach their caregiver as needed when their anxiety and distress became greater on the second reunion. Another group of B2 dyads contained children who seemed anxious and unhappy, and so avoided on the first reunion, but who could not sustain their avoidance into the second reunion. See e.g. Ainsworth, M. (1981) Letter to Michael Lamb. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3173, Folder 4. It is quite possible that where an avoidant strategy seems bent or snapped rather than relaxed into proximity-seeking, this would now generally get coded as D/A, since it would come with other markers of tension. Certainly Ainsworth’s concern about the insecure B2s was no longer mentioned after the introduction of the D classification, though this may also have been because the coding system by that point was too well established.
142 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.239.
143 Ainsworth, M. & Bell, S. (1970) Attachment, exploration, and separation: illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41(1), 49–67, p.52.
144 Blehar, M., Lieberman, A., & Ainsworth, M. (1977) Early face-to-face interaction and its relation to later infant–mother attachment. Child Development, 48(1), 182–94, p.186. Ainsworth would later conceptualize the B1 classification as a kind of reserve, observable in other forms with later maturation—personal communication cited in Cassidy, J., Marvin, R., with the Attachment Working Group of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Network on the Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood (1992) Attachment organisation in preschool children: procedures and coding manual. Unpublished manual.
145 Ainsworth, M.D.S., Bell, S.M., & Stayton, D.J. (1971) Individual differences in strange-situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H.R. Schaffer (ed.) The Origins of Human Social Relations (pp.17–58). New York: Academic Press.
146 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.128.
148 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 6 August 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2.
149 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.62. This role of Group C as a catch-all for anomalous behaviours would finally be officially eliminated by Ainsworth in the mid-1980s, following the introduction of the D classification by Main (Chapter 3).
150 Ainsworth, M. & Wittig, B. (1969) Attachment and exploratory behaviour of one-year-olds in a Strange Situation. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behaviour, Vol. 4 (pp.111–36). London: Metheun, p.134.
151 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 16 January 1967. Mary Ainsworth papers, Box M3168, Folder 2: ‘I am sure that Group C will become at least two groups rather than the mixed bag it presently is.’
152 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 17 October 1967. PP/Bow/K.4/12.
153 Ainsworth, M. & Wittig, B. (1969) Attachment and exploratory behaviour of one-year-olds in a Strange Situation. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behaviour, Vol. 4 (pp.111–36). London: Metheun, p.132.
154 Ainsworth, M.D.S., Bell, S.M., & Stayton, D.J. (1971) Individual differences in strange-situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H.R. Schaffer (ed.) The Origins of Human Social Relations (pp.17–58). New York: Academic Press, p.39.
155 Ainsworth, M. (1980) Infant attachment and maternal care: some implications for psychoanalytic concepts of development. PP/Bow/J.1/53.
156 Bowlby, J. (1990) Letter to Sonia Monteiro de Barros, 6 August 1990. PP/Bow/B.3/40: ‘You are quite right to link the two patterns of attachment you refer to, namely “anxious resistant” and “anxious ambivalent”. In fact, Mary Ainsworth herself sometimes used “anxious ambivalent” as synonymous with “anxious resistant”. I thought that was a mistake since all the insecure patterns of attachment are characterised by ambivalence, sometimes overt and obvious, at others (e.g. avoidant & compulsive caregiving) only covert and potential.’
157 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Letter to John Bowlby, 23 February 1971. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3168, Folder3.
158 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.230.
160 Richters, J.E., Waters, E., & Vaughn, B.E. (1988) Empirical classification of infant–mother relationships from interactive behavior and crying during reunion. Child Development, 59(2), 512–22, p.520.
161 Behrens, K.Y. (2016) Reconsidering attachment in context of culture: review of attachment studies in Japan. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 6(1), 7.
162 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Appendix: Coding of infants’ interactive behaviour in the Strange Situation. In Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press.
167 Crittenden, P.M. (2001) Organization, alternative organizations, and disorganization: competing perspectives on the development of endangered children. Contemporary Psychology, 46, 593–6: ‘I am reminded of a personal conversation that I had with Ainsworth around the time that samples for training on infant attachment classification were being gathered. Ainsworth lamented a general lack of competence in discerning Type C, fearing that the pattern was being lost, especially the passive C2 subpattern’ (595).
168 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, Chapter 6. The identification of a two-function model was later replicated by other researchers: Richters, J.E., Waters, E., & Vaughn, B.E. (1988) Empirical classification of infant–mother relationships from interactive behavior and crying during reunion. Child Development, 59(2), 512–22; Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
169 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.55.
171 Umemura, T. & Jacobvitz, D.B. (2014) Nonmaternal care hours and temperament predict infants’ proximity-seeking behavior and attachment subgroups. Infant Behavior and Development, 37(3), 352–65; on the lower rates of B3 in other samples see for instance 12% B3 reported in Van IJzendoorn, M.H., Goossens, F.A., Tavecchio, L.W.C., Vergeer, M.M., & Hubbard, F.O.A. (1983) Attachment to soft objects: its relationship with attachment to the mother and with thumbsucking. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 14(2), 97–105.
172 For a review of early arguments in favour of dimensionality see Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p.281.
173 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.xliv.
174 E.g. Feldman, S. & Ingham, M. (1975) Attachment behavior: a validation study in two age groups. Child Development, 46, 319–30.
175 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.56.
177 Fonagy, P. (1999) Points of contact and divergence between psychoanalytic and attachment theories: is psychoanalytic theory truly different? Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(4), 448–80, p.469.
178 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press; Isabella, R.A. (1993) Origins of attachment: maternal interactive behavior across the first year. Child Development, 64(2), 605–621.
179 Sroufe, L.A. (2016) The place of attachment in development. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (eds) Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, 3rd edn (pp.997–1011). New York: Guilford, p.1008.
180 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.57. See also Ainsworth, M. (1981) Letter to Michael Lamb, 8 November 1981. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3173, Folder 4: ‘I do not think that all of the relevant basis for classification judgment has as yet been captured by the variables we have so far identified and scored.’
181 In fact, curiously, the only study to investigate this matter empirically and in detail found that the second reunion conveyed only 10% more information than the first reunion. The advantage of the two reunions is that it strengthens the signal received by researchers about the functioning of the attachment behavioural system. Kroonenberg, P.M., Dam, M.V., IJzendoorn, M.H., & Mooijaart, A. (1997) Dynamics of behaviour in the strange situation: a structural equation approach. British Journal of Psychology, 88(2), 311–32: ‘The second sequence does not add qualitatively new information to what is observed in the first sequence but merely intensifies the behavioural pattern. The replicated nature of the Strange Situation procedure may be one of the reasons for its robustness and its validity despite its relatively short duration’ (327–8).
182 An illustration of this transition can be seen in discussions of the B4 category. In the early 1980s, van IJzendoorn was highly concerned about B4, and urged the need for larger samples to investigate Ainsworth’s subtypes, e.g. van IJzendoorn, M.H., Goossens, F.A., Kroonenberg, P.M., & Tavecchio, L.W.C. (1985) Dependent attachment: B-4 children in the strange situation. Psychological Reports, 57(2), 439–51. However, by the 2000s when he had data available from many more and much larger samples, van IJzendoorn appears not to have even run the analyses he himself called for two decades earlier. This shift in van IJzendoorn’s position offers an especially clear illustration, perhaps even a microcosm, of the broader direction of travel of developmental science in the period. See Roisman, G.I. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2018) Meta-analysis and individual participant data synthesis in child development: introduction to the special section. Child Development, 89(6), 1939–42. A commitment to subclassifications was retained in the work of Ainsworth’s student Patricia Crittenden, prompting recent debate with van IJzendoorn and colleagues who argued that the fine-grained information captured by subclassifications put at risk scientific credibility, which must be based on aggregation. See Crittenden, P.M. & Spieker, S.J. (2018) DMM vs. ABC+D assessments of attachment in child protection and treatment: reply to van IJzendoorn, Bakermans, Steele, & Granqvist. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(6), 647–51.
183 Kroonenberg, P.M. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1987) Exploring children’s behavior in the Strange Situation. In L.W.C. Tavecchio & M.H. van IJzendoorn (eds) Attachment in Social Networks. Contributions to the Bowlby–Ainsworth Attachment Theory (pp.379–426). New York: Elsevier, pp.380, 409.
184 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J. (2014) Confined quest for continuity: the categorical versus continuous nature of attachment. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79(3), 157–67.
185 Fraley, R.C. & Waller, N.G. (1998) Adult attachment patterns: a test of the typological model. In J.A. Simpson & W.S. Rholes (eds) Attachment Theory and Close Relationships. New York: Guilford: ‘Ainsworth et al. (1978) are somewhat ambiguous regarding the ontological status of the classificatory groups’ (108).
186 Ainsworth, M. (1981) Letter to Michael Lamb, 8 November 1981. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3173, Folder 4.
187 For other interpretations of Ainsworth that treated her categories as reflecting or like natural kinds, see e.g. Bretherton, I. (1990) Communication patterns, internal working models and the intergenerational transmission of attachment relationships. Infant Mental Health Journal, 11, 237–51; Crittenden, P.M. (2000) A dynamic–maturational model of the function, development, and organization of human relationships. In R.S.L. Mills & S. Duck (eds) Developmental Psychology of Personal Relationships (pp.199–218). New York: Wiley.
188 See Beauchaine, T.P. & Waters, E. (2003) Pseudotaxonicity in MAMBAC and MAXCOV analyses of rating-scale data: turning continua into classes by manipulating observer’s expectations. Psychological Methods, 8(1), 3–15.
189 In the hands of some critics the Strange Situation was treated as some kind of marine mammal, with jaws wide as it moved through the water, ingesting individual differences like krill and exhaling pre-established categories of infants. See e.g. Knudson-Martin, C. (2012) Attachment in adult relationships. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 4(4), 299–305; Gaskins, S. (2013) The puzzle of attachment. In N. Quinn & J.M. Mageo (eds) Attachment Reconsidered (pp.33–66). London: Palgrave.
190 Fraley, R.C. & Spieker, S.J. (2003) Are infant attachment patterns continuously or categorically distributed? A taxometric analysis of strange situation behavior. Developmental Psychology, 39(3), 387–404.
191 E.g. Waller, N.G. & Meehl, P.E. (1998) Multivariate Taxometric Procedures: Distinguishing Types from Continua. Newbury Park, CA: Sage. For a review of this development see Kendler, K.S., Zachar, P., & Craver, C. (2011) What kinds of things are psychiatric disorders? Psychological Medicine, 41(6), 1143–50. This perspective has influenced the design of subsequent attachment measures, for instance Steele, H., Steele, M., & Kriss, A. (2009) The Friends and Family Interview (FFI) Coding Guidelines. Unpublished manuscript.
192 Fraley, R.C. & Waller, N.G. (1998) Adult attachment patterns: a test of the typological model. In J.A. Simpson & W.S. Rholes (eds) Attachment Theory and Close Relationships. New York: Guilford, p.101.
193 In fact, until the 2000s, many laboratories destroyed their data regarding the Ainsworth scales, since the focus for publications was on categories alone. This was noted by Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p.138.
194 Cummings, E.M. (2003) Toward assessing attachment on an emotional security continuum: comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39, 405–408; Cassidy, J. (2003) Continuity and change in the measurement of infant attachment: comment on Fraley and Spieker (2003). Developmental Psychology, 39(3), 409–12.
195 Fraley, C. (2002) Response to Reviewers, Letter to Douglas M. Teti, Associate Editor of Developmental Psychology, 30 January 2002. Unpublished text shared by the author: ‘The reviewer seems to be supposing hostile and destructive ambitions for our paper that are simply not true’ … “Unfortunately, in the previous draft we did phrase things in a way that might lead a reader to conclude that attachment research based on the categorical model is faulty. As reviewer D noted, for example, we stated that “the typological model is invalid” on page 30 of the previous draft. In that context, we were arguing that the categorical assumption (i.e., that attachment “categories” exist) is not supported by the data. That does not imply, however, that the kinds of factors that are captured by the categorical system are invalid. As reviewer D notes, it is probably the case that the categories have been successful because they capture the relevant dimensions underlying the patterning of attachment behavior. We have revised the manuscript in order to make it clear that we are not challenging or calling into question the significance of attachment theory and research. It is precisely because we believe that this area of inquiry is important and valuable that we have posed the questions that we have in this paper.’
197 Rutter, M. & Sroufe, L.A. (2000) Developmental psychopathology: concepts and challenges. Development & Psychopathology, 12(03), 265–96. A few years earlier, in work with Gail Fury and Elizabeth Carlson, Sroufe had criticised Main and Kaplan’s category-based system for coding family drawings at age 6 (Chapter 3) and replaced it with a series of dimensional scales. Fury, G., Carlson, E.A., & Sroufe, A. (1997) Children’s representations of attachment relationships in family drawings. Child Development, 68(6), 1154–64. Another illustration is offered by Hesse and van IJzendoorn, generally regarded as key defenders of the category-based approach, who—with category-based data available—nonetheless reported their findings in terms of a 9-point scale ‘LapseTr’, comprising the highest score obtained on either the loss or abuse scale of the Adult Attachment Interview. Hesse, E. & van IJzendoorn, M. (1999) Propensities towards absorption are related to lapses in the monitoring of reasoning or discourse during the Adult Attachment Interview: a preliminary investigation. Attachment & Human Development, 1, 67–91.
198 Egeland, B., Weinfield, N., Bosquet, M., & Cheng, V. (2000) Remembering, repeating, and working through: lessons from attachment-based interventions. In J. Osofsky (ed.) WHIMH Handbook of Infant Mental Health, Vol. 4 (pp.35–89). New York: Wiley, p.64–5.
199 Groh, A.M., Propper, C., Mills-Koonce, R., Moore, G.A., Calkins, S., & Cox, M. (2019) Mothers’ physiological and affective responding to infant distress: unique antecedents of avoidant and resistant attachments. Child Development, 90(2), 489–505.
200 Another contributing factor may have been that Main and Solomon decided to code disorganization using a single encompassing scale rather than developing subscales for forms of disorganization, as Main and Hesse later did for frightening/frightened behaviour (Chapter 3). This has made it more difficult to appraise the taxonicity of disorganization.
201 Ainsworth. M.D.S. (1983) Patterns of infant–mother attachment as related to maternal care: their early history and their contribution to continuity. In D. Magnusson & V.L. Allen (eds) Human Development: An Interactional Perspective (pp.35–55). New York: Academic Press, p.52.
202 The ethos of Ainsworth’s approach is revealed with remarkable clarity in her letters to Silvia Bell, especially those sent during Ainsworth’s sabbatical at Stanford: Ainsworth, M. (1968) Letter to Silvia Bell, 2 January 1968. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3169, Folder 6: ‘Part of the luck has been capitalisang on differences within the sample. I work back and forth from “cause” to “effect” in the same sample. Under these circumstances it is relatively easy to get everything fitting into place.’
203 Ainsworth, M. (1970) Letter to John Bowlby, 7 August 1969. PP/Bow/K.4/12.
204 Ainsworth, M. (1970) Letter to John Bowlby, 1 September 1970. PP/Bow/K.4/12.
205 Main M. (1999) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth: tribute and portrait. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19, 682–776, p.722.
206 Ainsworth, M. (1997) Peter L. Rudnytsky—the personal origins of attachment theory: an interview with Mary Salter Ainsworth. Psychoanalytic Study of the Child, 52, 386–405, p.405.
207 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.182.
208 Main, M. (1980) Avoidance of attachment figures: index of disturbance. PP/Bow/J.4/1, discussing Waters, E., Vaughn, B.E., & Egeland, B.R. (1980) Individual differences in infant–mother attachment relationships at age one: antecedents in neonatal behavior in an urban, economically disadvantaged sample. Child Development, 51(1), 208–16.
209 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Wolff, M.S. (1997) In search of the absent father—meta-analyses of infant–father attachment: a rejoinder to our discussants. Child Development, 68(4), 604–609.
210 Groh, A.M., Narayan, A.J., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., et al. (2017) Attachment and temperament in the early life course: a meta-analytic review. Child Development, 88(3), 770–95.
211 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment. In N.S. Endler & J. McVicker Hunt (eds) Personality and the Behavioral Disorders (pp.559–602). New York: Wiley, p.574.
212 Ibid. The exact tests conducted by Ainsworth are not described, so what child behaviours she examined remains unclear. And other researchers, in fact, found associations between early child orienting behaviours and later attachment, even with caregiving included in the model. The earliest such finding was Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K.E., Spangler, G., Suess, G., & Unzner, L. (1985) Maternal sensitivity and newborns’ orientation responses as related to quality of attachment in northern Germany. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1–2), 233–56.For a more recent discussion see Spangler, G. (2013) Individual dispositions as precursors of differences in attachment quality: why maternal sensitivity is nevertheless important. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 657–72.
213 Harwood, R.L., Miller, J.G., & Irizarry, N.L. (1995) Culture and Attachment: Perceptions of the Child in Context. New York: Guilford: ‘The concept of “security”, although technically similar to a sense of psychological safety, has become laden with an array of values and ideals peculiar to mainstream U.S. discourse: the “secure” person is self-confident, independent, and able to utilise his or her talents and abilities to the fullest, but also has the capacity to be empathetic and to relate to others. In short, the “secure” individual is one who embodied U.S. ideals of optimal socioemotional development—ideals that may or may not translate well into the meaning systems of other cultural groups’ (143–4); Weisner, T.S. (2005) Attachment as a cultural and ecological problem with pluralistic solutions. Human Development, 48(1–2), 89–94: ‘Using the word “secure” assumes that there is, in cultures everywhere, a positive valence for development associated with that behavior profile’ (91). Bowlby did not help matters in his characterization of the diverse perceived virtues of the Apollo 13 astronauts in terms of their attachment security. Bowlby, J. (1970, 1979) Self-reliance and some conditions that promote it. In The Making and Breaking of Affectional Bonds (pp.124–49). London: Routledge, p.129. See Laubender, C. (2019) From the bomb to Apollo 13: Bowlby and the Cold War. The Psychologist, 32, 76–9.
214 E.g. Huysmans, J. (1998) Security! What do you mean? From concept to thick signifier. European Journal of International Relations, 4(2), 226–55; Harrington, C. & Shearing, C. (2017) Security in the Anthropocene: Reflections on Safety and Care. New York: Columbia University Press.
215 Everett Waters, personal communication, July 2019.
216 Thornton, D.J. (2011) Neuroscience, affect, and the entrepreneurialization of motherhood. Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 8(4), 399–424; Wall, G. (2018) ‘Love builds brains’: representations of attachment and children’s brain development in parenting education material. Sociology of Health & Illness, 40(3), 395–409.
217 Lieberman, A.F. & Van Horn, P. (2008) Psychotherapy with Infants and Young Children. New York: Guilford, p.11. Liberman would make the same point about Main’s term ‘disorganised attachment’ (Chapter 3).
218 E.g. Fearon, R.M.P., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2010) Jealousy and attachment: the case of twins. In S.L. Hart & M. Legerstee (eds) Handbook of Jealousy. Theory, Research, and Multidisciplinary Approaches (pp.362–86). New York: Wiley, p.372.
219 Ainsworth, M. (1969) CPA oral history of psychology in Canada interview. Unpublished. http://www.feministvoices.com/assets/Women-Past/Ainsworth/Mary-Ainsworth-CPA-Oral-History.pdf. Working on her thesis, in discussion with Bott: ‘We came to the word “security” which I had defined in my own way, because it was a key concept, and I had defined it in a sort of Blatzian way. He said, “That is not the meaning of the word ‘security’. Don’t you know the original meaning of the word security?” And I shouted, “It doesn’t matter what the original meaning was!” I was really angry at this point. He said, “It does matter.” He implied that a word was a word and it never really lost that original meaning. And you know, he was right. He told me the word “security” had a Latin derivation and meant sine cura (without care).’
220 Sroufe, L.A. (1985) Attachment classification from the perspective of infant–caregiver relationships and infant temperament. Child Development, 56(1), 1–14, p.7; Wolff, M.S. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1997) Sensitivity and attachment: a meta-analysis on parental antecedents of infant attachment. Child Development, 68(4), 571–91, p.585. On the ‘winner’s curse’ of unrepresentatively strong findings in early studies leaving a legacy for later research see Young, N.S., Ioannidis, J.P.A., & Al-Ubaydli, O. (2008) Why current publication practices may distort science. PLoS Med, 5 (10), e201.
221 Van IJzendoorn, M., Juffer, F., & Duyvesteyn, M. (1995) Breaking the intergenerational cycle of insecure attachments: a review of attachment-based interventions on maternal sensitivity and infant security. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 36, 225–48; Howes, C., Galinsky, E., & Kontos, S. (1998) Child care caregiver sensitivity and attachment. Social Development, 7(1), 25–36.
222 Wolff, M. S. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1997) Sensitivity and attachment: a meta-analysis on parental antecedents of infant attachment. Child Development, 68(4), 571–91; Van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Wolff, M.S. (1997) In search of the absent father—meta-analyses of infant–father attachment: a rejoinder to our discussants. Child Development, 68(4), 604–609.
223 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2019) Replication crisis lost in translation? Paper presented at International Attachment Conference, Vancouver, 20 July 2019.
224 Pederson, D.R., Gleason, K.E., Moran, G., & Bento, S. (1998) Maternal attachment representations, maternal sensitivity, and the infant–mother attachment relationship. Developmental Psychology, 34(5), 925–33.
225 Pederson, D.R. & Moran, G. (1995) Appendix B: maternal behavior Q-set. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3), 247–54.
226 Crittenden, P.M. (1979) CARE Index: coding manual. Unpublished manual, Miami, FL. The CARE Index scales false positive affect and a construct of ‘compulsivity’. It also differentiates insensitive intrusiveness from insensitive unresponsiveness. Madigan and colleagues reported a much larger range for the CARE Index than for other measures in terms of associations with sensitivity across studies. This may reflect the wider lens of the CARE Index, which can be anticipated to contribute to measurement variance between studies with populations characterized by different caregiving profiles.
227 Madigan, S., Verhage, M.K., Schuengel, C., et al. (2019) Parental sensitivity and mentalization as predictors of attachment quality: a meta-analysis. Paper presented at International Attachment Conference, Vancouver, 20 July 2019. Length of of time of observation was not a moderator. But this was likely clouded by differences between the measures. Madigan and colleagues also reported that when coders of sensitivity and infant Strange Situations were not independent, r = 1.08. An important appraisal of the different measures of sensitivity, and an attempt to synthesize their strengths through differentiated subscales, has recently been published: Heinisch, C., Galeris, M.G., Gabler, S., et al. (2019) Mothers with postpartum psychiatric disorders: proposal for an adapted method to assess maternal sensitivity in interaction with the child. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 22 July, 10.
228 Raikes, H.A. & Thompson, R.A. (2005) Links between risk and attachment security: models of influence. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 26(4), 440–55. Raikes and Thompson contrasted the emotion climate of the home with the role of socioeconomic factors, which they found influenced the security of attachment as mediated by caregiver behaviour.
229 Barry, R.A., Kochanska, G., & Philibert, R.A. (2008) G× E interaction in the organization of attachment: mothers’ responsiveness as a moderator of children’s genotypes. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 49(12), 1313–20; Luijk, M.P., Roisman, G.I., Haltigan, J.D., et al. (2011) Dopaminergic, serotonergic, and oxytonergic candidate genes associated with infant attachment security and disorganization? In search of main and interaction effects. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52(12), 1295–307.
230 Lamb, M.E. (2002) Infant–father attachments and their impact on child development. In C.S. Tamis-LeMonda & N. Cabrera (eds) Handbook of Father Involvement: Multidisciplinary Perspective (pp.93–117). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum; Lucassen, N., Tharner, A., van IJzendoorn, M.H., et al. (2011) The association between paternal sensitivity and infant–father attachment security: a meta-analysis of three decades of research. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(6), 986–92.
231 Verhage, M.L., Fearon, R.P., Schuengel, C., et al. (2019) Collaboration on attachment transmission synthesis. Does risk background affect intergenerational transmission of attachment? Testing a moderated mediation model with IPD. Paper presented at Biennial Meeting of Society for Research in Child Development, Baltimore, MD.
232 Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., Fradley, E., & Tuckey, M. (2001) Rethinking maternal sensitivity: mothers’ comments on infants’ mental processes predict security of attachment at 12 months. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 42(5), 637–48; Koren-Karie, N., Oppenheim, D., Dolev, S., Sher, E., & Etzion-Carasso, A. (2002) Mothers’ insightfulness regarding their infants’ internal experience: relations with maternal sensitivity and infant attachment. Developmental Psychology, 38(4), 534–42.
233 Fonagy, P. Steele, H., Steele, M., & Holder, J. (1997) Attachment and theory of mind: overlapping constructs? Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry Occasional Papers, 14, 31–40.
234 Fonagy, P. & Allison, E. (2014) The role of mentalizing and epistemic trust in the therapeutic relationship. Psychotherapy, 51(3), 372–80.
235 Zeegers, M.A., Colonnesi, C., Stams, G.J.J., & Meins, E. (2017) Mind matters: a meta-analysis on parental mentalization and sensitivity as predictors of infant–parent attachment. Psychological Bulletin, 143(12), 1245–72.
236 On the interpretation of effect sizes in psychology see Funder, D.C. & Ozer, D.J. (2019) Evaluating effect size in psychological research: sense and nonsense. Advances in Methods and Practices in Psychological Science, 2(2) 156–68: ‘An effect-size r of .05 indicates an effect that is very small for the explanation of single events but potentially consequential in the not-very-long run, an effect-size r of .10 indicates an effect that is still small at the level of single events but potentially more ultimately consequential, an effect-size r of .20 indicates a medium effect that is of some explanatory and practical use even in the short run and therefore even more important, and an effect-size r of .30 indicates a large effect that is potentially powerful in both the short and the long run. A very large effect size (r = .40 or greater) in the context of psychological research is likely to be a gross overestimate that will rarely be found in a large sample or in a replication’ (156).
237 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.229.
238 Cicchetti, D. & Beeghly, M. (1990) An organizational approach to the study of Down syndrome: contributions to an integrative theory of development. In D. Cicchetti & M. Beeghly (eds) Children with Down syndrome: A Developmental Perspective (pp.29–62). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.32. See also Canguilhem, G. (1966, 1989) The Normal and the Pathological, trans. C.R. Fawcett & R.S. Cohen. New York: Zone Books.
239 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1976) Discussion of papers by Suomi and Bowlby. In: G. Serban (ed.) Animal Models in Human Psychobiology (pp.37–47). New York: Plenum Press, p.43.
240 When Bob Marvin, a former student and close colleague of Ainsworth, wrote to raise with Bowlby the question of whether infants could be adapted to various forms of caregiving environment, the reply (copied to Mary Ainsworth) was uncompromising: ‘I need a lot of convincing that all these variations optimise infants’ chances of survival.’ Bowlby, J. (1975) Letter to Robert Marvin, 5 November 1975. PP/Bow/J.9/132. Nonetheless, Bowlby would ultimately be convinced (Chapter 3).
241 Stayton, D.J., Hogan, R., & Ainsworth, M. (1971) Infant obedience and maternal behavior: the origins of socialization reconsidered. Child Development, 42(4), 1057–69, p.1059. The term ‘ordinary expectable social environment’ may have meant ordinary expectable social environment for forming an attachment relationship, rather than expectable within human evolutionary history, or expectable for twentieth century mothers. Ultimately, Ainsworth’s intentions with the term are difficult to identify from her writings.
242 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1979) Attachment as related to mother–infant interaction. In J.S. Rosenblatt, R.A. Hinde, C. Beer, & M. Busnel (eds) Advances in the Study of Behavior, Vol. 9. (pp.1–51). New York: Academic Press, p.44.
243 Hinde, R.A. (1982) Attachment: some conceptual and biological issues. In J. Stevenson-Hinde & C. Murray Parkes (eds) The Place of Attachment in Human Behavior (pp.60–78). New York: Basic Books.
244 Smith, J.M. (1979) Game theory and the evolution of behaviour. Proceedings of the Royal Society London, B, 205(1161), 475–88; Brockmann, H.J., Grafen, A., & Dawkins, R. (1979) Evolutionarily stable nesting strategy in a digger wasp. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 77(4), 473–96.
245 Griffiths, P.E. (2008) History of ethology comes of age. Biology and Philosophy, 23, 129–34: ‘At some stage in the mid-50s Hinde and Tinbergen explicitly discussed a division of the “four questions” of ethology (Tinbergen 1963), with the Oxford program focusing on “survival value” and “evolution”, and the Cambridge department on “development” and “causation” (Hinde, personal communication)’ (132).
246 Ainsworth offered a long and detailed critical discussion of Hinde’s remarks in Ainsworth, M. (1983) Letter to Klaus Grossmann, 13 January 1983. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3173, Folder 4. Her main counterarguments were as follows: (i) the language of ‘adaptation’ used to refer to the insecure strategies by Hinde risked implying that they are equally good, when in fact longer-term security surely tends to be better; (ii) ‘I see no reason for arguing that it is part of that normal time-frame for human mothers to reject their infants in the interests of infant autonomy and/or maximisang their own reproductive potential at 6 months or even at 1 year of age’; ‘my point is that in the human species efforts to foster independence through withholding close contact from a baby when he is upset and much wants contact do not foster a healthy kind of independence. Perhaps such efforts, if gradual rather than abrupt, may foster self-reliance without destroying the security of attachment when begun in the second year of life. But I think that any time in the first year is too soon’; (iii) ‘to understand the relationship between a given parent and a particular child obviously attachment cannot be the sole focus of attention’.
247 For a recent review of critiques of the ‘normative’ position assigned to security by Bowlby and Ainsworth see Simpson, J.A. & Belsky, J. (2016) Attachment theory within a modern evolutionary framework. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (eds) Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications (pp.91–116). New York: Guilford.
248 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1977) Social development in the first year of life: maternal influences on infant–mother attachment. In J.M. Tanner (ed.) Developments in Psychiatric Research (pp.1–20). London: Hodder & Stoughton, p.17. Ainsworth’s initial findings were elaborated and further confirmed by a secondary analysis of Ainsworth’s data by Main: Main, M. & Stadtman, J. (1981) Infant response to rejection of physical contact by the mother. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 20(2), 292–307.
249 E.g. Pederson, D.R. & Moran, G. (1995) A categorical description of infant–mother relationships in the home and its relation to Q-sort measures of infant–mother interaction. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3), 111–32; Pederson, D.R. & Moran, G. (1996) Expressions of the attachment relationship outside of the strange situation. Child Development, 67(3), 915–27.
250 Reported from Main’s secondary analysis of Ainsworth’s home observation data: Main, M. (1980) Avoidance of attachment figures: index of disturbance. PP/Bow/J.4/1.
251 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1977) Social development in the first year of life: maternal influences on infant–mother attachment. In: J.M. Tanner (ed.) Developments in Psychiatric Research (pp.1–20). London: Hodder & Stoughton, p.18.
252 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.127.
253 Ibid. p.145; Ainsworth, M. (1979) Infant–mother attachment. American Psychologist, 34(10), 932–7. Note 1, citing unpublished data. The researchers did not explain how they operationalized ‘affectionate behaviour while holding the baby’.
254 Tracey, R.L. & Ainsworth, M. (1981) Maternal affectionate behaviour and infant–mother attachment patterns. Child Development, 52(4), 1341–3.
255 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1979) Attachment as related to mother–infant interaction. In J.S. Rosenblatt, R.A. Hinde, C. Beer, & M. Busnel (eds) Advances in the Study of Behavior, Vol. 9. (pp.1–51). New York: Academic Press, p.29.
256 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.230, Table 27.
258 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Letter to John Bowlby, 17 October 1967. PP/Bow/K.4/12.
259 Interview with Mary Ainsworth by Robert Karen cited in Karen, R. (1998) Becoming Attached: First Relationships and How They Shape Our Capacity to Love. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.163.
260 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.275.
262 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment. In N.S Endler & J. McVicker Hunt (eds) Personality and the Behavioral Disorders (pp.559–602). New York: Wiley, p.566.
263 E.g. Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K.E., Spangler, G., Suess, G., & Unzner, L. (1985) Maternal sensitivity and newborns’ orientation responses as related to quality of attachment in northern Germany. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1–2), 233–56; Koren-Karie, N., Oppenheim, D., Dolev, S., Sher, E., & Etzion-Carasso, A. (2002) Mothers’ insightfulness regarding their infants’ internal experience: relations with maternal sensitivity and infant attachment. Developmental Psychology, 38(4), 534.
264 E.g. Smith, P.B. & Pederson, D.R. (1988) Maternal sensitivity and patterns of infant–mother attachment. Child Development, 59(4), 1097–101; Isabella, R. & Belsky, J. (1991) Interactional synchrony and the origins of infant–mother attachment. Child Development, 62, 373–84.
265 Early exceptions include Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p.96; Grossmann, K.E., Grossmann, K., & Schwan, A. (1986) Capturing the wider view of attachment: a reanalysis of Ainsworth's Strange Situation. In C.E. Izard & P.B. Read (eds) Measuring Emotions in Infants and Children, Vol. 2 (pp.124–71). New York: Cambridge University Press. More recently see Sroufe, L.A. (2013) The promise of developmental psychopathology: past and present. Development & Psychopathology, 25(4.2), 1215–24. ‘We need studies that unpack the heterogeneity in current categories by examining differential antecedents and pathways’ (1216); Waters, T.E.A. & Facompré, C.R. (in press) Measuring secure base script knowledge in the Adult Attachment Interview. In E. Waters, B.E. Vaughn, & H.S. Waters (eds) Measuring Attachment. New York: Guilford: ‘Simply saying a child is avoidant tells us little about what specific parenting behaviors lead that child to lose trust in their caregiver.’
266 Main, M. (1978) Avoidance of the attachment figure under stress: ontogeny, function and immediate causation. PP/Bow/J.4/1; Main, M. & Stadtman, J. (1981) Infant response to rejection of physical contact by the mother. Journal of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry, 20(2), 292–307.
267 Main, M. (1980) Avoidance of attachment figures: index of disturbance. PP/Bow/J.4/1.
268 Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K.E., Spangler, G., Suess, G., & Unzner, L. (1985) Maternal sensitivity and newborns’ orientation responses as related to quality of attachment in northern Germany. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1–2), 233–56; Fremmer-Bombik, F. & Grossmann, K.E. (1993) Über die lebenslange Bedeutung früher Bindungserfahrungen. In: H. Petzold (ed.) Frühe Schädigungen—späte Folgen? Psychotherapie und Babyforschung, pp.83–110. Paderborn: Jungfermann; Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K.E., & Kindler, H. (2005) Early care and the roots of attachment and partnership representation. The Bielefeld and Regensburg Longitudinal studies. In K.E. Grossmann, K. Grossmann, and E. Waters (eds) Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies (pp.98–136). New York: Guilford.
269 For aligned qualitative observations in a different context see Otto, H. (2014) Don’t show your emotions! Emotion regulation and attachment in the Cameroonian Nso. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations of a Universal Human Need (pp.215–29). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Another pathway to an avoidant attachment classification in the Strange Situation may be the mind-mindedness of the caregiver, distinct from their rejection of physical contact. Elizabeth Meins and colleagues found that caregivers in dyads classified as avoidantly attached made fewer comments relevant to their child’s inner states during free play. Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., de Rosnay, M., Arnott, B., Leekam, S.R., & Turner, M. (2012) Mind-mindedness as a multidimensional construct: appropriate and nonattuned mind-related comments independently predict infant–mother attachment in a socially diverse sample. Infancy, 17(4), 393–415, Table 1.
270 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.121.
271 Ainsworth. M.D.S. (1983) Patterns of infant–mother attachment as related to maternal care: their early history and their contribution to continuity. In: D. Magnusson & V.L. Allen (eds) Human Development: An Interactional Perspective (pp.35–55). New York: Academic Press, p.42.
272 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.231.
273 Ainsworth, M.D.S., Bell, S.M., & Stayton, D.J. (1974) Infant–mother attachment and social development: ‘socialisation’ as a product of reciprocal responsiveness to signals. In: M.J.M. Richards (ed.) The Integration of a Child into a Social World (pp.9–135). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Cassidy, J. & Berlin, L.J. (1994) The insecure/ambivalent pattern of attachment: theory and research. Child Development, 65(4), 971–91; Mayseless, O. (1996) Attachment patterns and their outcomes. Human Development, 39(4), 206–23; Crittenden, P.M. (1999) Danger and development: the organisation of self-protective strategies. In J.I. Vondra & D. Barnett (eds) Atypical Attachment in Infancy and Early Childhood Among Children at Developmental Risk (pp.145–71). Oxford: Blackwell.
274 The predictive power of contextual indicators of caregiver unpredictability have been examined by Belsky and colleagues in the NICHD sample, but not considered in relation to infant attachment patterns. Belsky, J., Schlomer, G.L., & Ellis, B.J. (2012) Beyond cumulative risk: distinguishing harshness and unpredictability as determinants of parenting and early life history strategy. Developmental Psychology, 48(3), 662–73.
275 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.245.
277 Main, M. (1995) Recent studies in attachment: overview, with selected implications for clinical work. In S. Goldberg, R. Muir, & J. Kerr (eds) Attachment Theory: Social, Developmental and Clinical Perspectives (pp.407–70). Hillsdale, NJ: Analytic Press, p.417.
278 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1983) Patterns of infant–mother attachment as related to maternal care: their early history and their contribution to continuity. In D. Magnusson & V.L. Allen (eds) Human Development: An Interactional Perspective (pp.35–55). New York: Academic Press, p.42.
279 Meins, E., Fernyhough, C., de Rosnay, M., Arnott, B., Leekam, S.R., & Turner, M. (2012) Mind-mindedness as a multidimensional construct: appropriate and nonattuned mind-related comments independently predict infant–mother attachment in a socially diverse sample. Infancy, 17(4), 393–415, Table 1. See also Kelly, K., Slade, A., & Grienenberger, J.F. (2005) Maternal reflective functioning, mother–infant affective communication, and infant attachment: exploring the link between mental states and observed caregiving behavior in the intergenerational transmission of attachment. Attachment & Human Development, 7(3), 299–311.
280 Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Eichberg, C.G. (1991) Effects on infant–mother attachment of mother’s experience related to loss of an attachment figure. In: C.M. Parkes, J. Stevenson-Hinde, & P. Marris (eds) Attachment Across the Life Cycle (pp.160–83). London: Routledge, p.162.
281 Exceptions include Luijk, M.P., Velders, F.P., Tharner, A., et al. (2010) FKBP5 and resistant attachment predict cortisol reactivity in infants: gene–environment interaction. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 35(10), 1454–61; Beebe, B. & Lachmann, F.M. (2014) Future resistant dyads. In The Origins of Attachment: Infant Research and Adult Treatment (pp.104–114). London: Routledge. However, it is probable that these latter findings will not be replicated by other laboratories: the coding system of Beebe and colleagues is not given in sufficient detail in their published works to permit replication, and no training is available for other laboratories to learn the system.
282 Verhage, M.L., Schuengel, C., Madigan, S., et al. (2016) Narrowing the transmission gap: a synthesis of three decades of research on intergenerational transmission of attachment. Psychological Bulletin, 142(4), 337–66, Table 4.
283 Among the few sustained discussions of the classification are Cassidy, J. & Berlin, L.J. (1994) The insecure/ambivalent pattern of attachment: theory and research. Child Development, 65(4), 971–91; Crittenden, P.M. (1999) Danger and development: the organisation of self-protective strategies. In J.I. Vondra & D. Barnett (eds) Atypical Attachment in Infancy and Early Childhood Among Children at Developmental Risk (pp.145–71). Oxford: Blackwell; Scher, A. & Mayseless, O. (2000) Mothers of anxious/ambivalent infants: maternal characteristics and child-care context. Child Development, 71(6), 1629–39.
284 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.229.
285 Ainsworth, M. (1968) Letter to Sylvia Bell, 2 January 1968. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3169, Folder 6.
286 This finding would later be replicated, inadvertently, by researchers at Uppsala University: Granqvist, P., Hesse, E., Fransson, M., Main, M., Hagekull, B., & Bohlin, G. (2016) Prior participation in the strange situation and overstress jointly facilitate disorganized behaviours: implications for theory, research and practice. Attachment & Human Development, 18(3), 235–49.
287 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.218.
288 Main, M. (1977) Analysis of a peculiar form of reunion behaviour seen in some day-care children. In R. Webb (ed.) Social Development in Childhood (pp.33–78). Baltimore: John Hopkins, pp.70–71.
289 Main, M. & Solomon, J. (1990) Procedures for identifying infants as disorganised/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation. In M.T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E.M. Cummings (eds) Attachment in the Preschool Years (pp.121–60). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p.126. On the A–C designation see Crittenden, P.M. & Ainsworth, M. (1989) Child maltreatment and attachment theory. In D. Cicchetti & Y. Carlson (eds) Child Maltreatment: Theory and Research on the Causes and Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect (pp.432–63). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Also Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. In a cluster analysis performed on four samples, there were seven clusters: one was ‘a relatively rare group of infants displaying both avoidance and resistance’ (217).
290 Mary Main, personal communication, August 2012. See Duschinsky, R. (2015) The emergence of the disorganized/disoriented (d) attachment classification, 1979–1982. History of Psychology, 18(1), 32–46.
291 Main, M. (1973) Exploration, play and cognitive functioning. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Johns Hopkins University, p.21.
292 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press: Observers in Ainsworth’s procedure ‘had a good view of a baby’s face as he approached either the mother’s or stranger’s chair, a profile view (at best) of a baby oriented to the door or to a person entering’ (34).
293 Ainsworth, M., Bell, S.M., & Stayton, D.J. (1969) Individual differences in strange-situational behaviour of one-year-olds. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED056742. Later version: Ainsworth, M.D.S., Bell, S.M., & Stayton, D.J. (1971) Individual differences in strange-situation behavior of one-year-olds. In H.R. Schaffer (ed.) The Origins of Human Social Relations (pp.17–58). New York: Academic Press.
294 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.61.
295 E.g. Van IJzendoorn, M.H., Tavecchio, L.W.C., Goossens, F.A., Vergeer, M.M., & Swaan, J. (1983) How B is B4? Attachment and security of Dutch children in Ainsworth’s Strange Situation and at home. Psychological Reports, 52(3), 683–91.
296 Personal communication from Mary Ainsworth to Mary Main, January 1985, cited in Main, M. & Solomon, J. (1990) Procedures for identifying infants as disorganised/disoriented during the Ainsworth Strange Situation. In M.T. Greenberg, D. Cicchetti, & E.M. Cummings (eds) Attachment in the Preschool Years (pp.121–60). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, p.149.
297 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.273.
298 Ainsworth, M. (1976) Attachment and Separation in Paediatric Settings. Unpublished manuscript. PP/Bow/J.1/40.
299 Crittenden, P.M. & Ainsworth, M.D. (1989) Child maltreatment and attachment theory. In D. Cicchetti & V. Carlson (eds) Child Maltreatment: Theory and Research on the Causes and Consequences of Child Abuse and Neglect (pp.432–61). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Ainsworth, M. (1991) Past and future trends in attachment research. Film of the presentation made available by Avi Sagi-Schwartz (Chair), International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991.
300 Ainsworth, M. (1985) Patterns of mother–infant attachments. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 61, 792–812, p.788.
301 Solomon, J., Duschinsky, R., Bakkum, L., & Schuengel, C. (2017) Toward an architecture of attachment disorganization: John Bowlby’s published and unpublished reflections. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22(4), 539–60. See also Bowlby, J. (1981) Clinical applications: material for lectures. PP/Bow/F.3/103: ‘Patterns of attachment: Secure attachment; Anxious attachment; Compulsive self-reliance; Compulsive care-giving; Psychopathic detachment.’
302 Bretherton, I. (2000) Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth (1913–1999). American Psychologist, 55, 1148–9.
303 E.g. Ainsworth, M. (1983, 2013) An autobiographical sketch. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 448–59, p.458.
304 In 2015, Waters initiated a reissue of the now classic book with additional appendices and a new preface in which he, Inge Bretherton, and Brian Vaughn discussed the book’s impact and its significance for current work.
305 Sroufe, L.A. & Waters, E. (1977) Attachment as an organizational construct. Child Development, 1184–99. Goldberg, S. (2000) Attachment and Development. London: Routledge: ‘Ainsworth’s work was also subjected to heated criticism and, until the publication of Sroufe and Waters’ 1977 paper on “attachment as an organisational construct” and the emergence of supporting data from other laboratories, it was neither understood nor accepted by the larger community of developmental psychologists’ (236).
306 E.g. Hubbs-Tait, L., Gray, D., Wierzbicki, M., & Englehart, R. (1994) Perceptions of infant boys’ behavior and mental health: relation to infant attachment. Infant Mental Health Journal, 15(3), 307–15.
307 Sroufe, L.A. & Waters, E. (1977) Attachment as an organizational construct. Child Development, 1184–99, p.1191. These findings are detailed further in Sroufe, L. & Waters, E. (1977) Heart-rate as a convergent measure in clinical and developmental research. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 23, 3–27. In later research using heart-rate measures, there is some discrepancy between findings, suggesting that infants in avoidant dyads are more physiologically stressed than infants in secure dyads, and findings indicating comparability. Nonetheless, it has been taken for granted by researchers since Sroufe and Waters that most infants in avoidant dyads are indeed distressed by the separation, even after the widespread increase in daycare, and that their avoidant behaviour represents a masking and inhibition of a desire to seek the caregiver’s availability, rather than an absence of this desire. On later findings see e.g. Spangler, G. & Grossmann, K.E. (1993) Biobehavioral organization in securely and insecurely attached infants. Child Development, 64(5), 1439–50; Hill-Soderlund, A.L., Mills-Koonce, W.R., Propper, C., et al. (2008) Parasympathetic and sympathetic responses to the strange situation in infants and mothers from avoidant and securely attached dyads. Developmental Psychobiology, 50(4), 361–76.
308 E.g. Cairns, R.B. (1972) Attachment and dependency: a psychobiological and social learning synthesis. In J.L. Gewritz (ed.) Attachment and Dependency (pp.29–80). Washington, DC: Winston; Gewirtz, J. (1972) On the selection and use of attachment and dependence indices. In J.L. Gewirtz (ed.) Attachment and Dependency (pp.179–215). Washington, DC: Winston; Rosenthal, M. (1973) Attachment and mother–infant interaction: some research impasses and a suggested change in orientation. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 14, 201–207.
309 Masters, J. & Wellman, H. (1974) Human infant attachment: a procedural critique. Psychological Bulletin, 81, 218–37, p.224.
310 Everett Waters, personal communication, August 2019
311 Sroufe and Waters also showed that low correlations between individual attachment behaviours were also partly an artifact of inadequate sampling of these low frequency behaviors. Specifically, because the discrete behaviors were typically samples for as little as 3-minutes, they did not provide a reliable (reproducible) estimate of an infant’s typical behavior. Indeed, for many of these behaviors, Sroufe and Waters determined that it would require hundreds of minutes of observation to obtain the reliable scores needed to correctly estimate stability. Waters then showed that Ainsworth’s approach to scoring interactive behavior in terms of the organisation of multiple behaviors across Strange Situation episodes yielded more reliable scores on proximity seeking, contact, maintaining, avoidance and resistance scores that could be quite stable across a full six month test-retest interval.
312 Waters, E. (1978) The reliability and stability of individual differences in infant–mother attachment. Child Development, 49(2), 483–94, p.488, Table 3.
313 For just one of many examples in which the Waters’ stability study and Main’s six-year follow-up are together taken to prove Bowlby’s claims about continuity from early childhood see Lipps, A.J. (2009) Review of Klaus E. Grossman, Karin Grossman, and Everett Waters (eds): attachment from infancy to adulthood. Child & Adolescent Social Work Journal, 26, 379–82.
314 Baldwin, M.W. & Fehr, B. (1995) On the instability of attachment style ratings. Personal Relationships, 2(3), 247–61.
315 See critical discussions of assumptions among practitioners about the fixedness of early attachment patterns in Fraley, C.R. (2002) Attachment stability from infancy to adulthood: meta-analysis and dynamic modeling of developmental mechanisms. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(2), 123–51; Crittenden, P.M. (2016) Raising Parents: Attachment, Representation, and Treatment, 2nd edn. London: Routledge; Granqvist, P., Sroufe, L.A., Dozier, M., et al. (2017) Disorganized attachment in infancy: a review of the phenomenon and its implications for clinicians and policy-makers. Attachment & Human Development, 19(6), 534–58.
316 Main, M. & Weston, D.R. (1981) The quality of the toddler’s relationship to mother and to father: related to conflict behavior and the readiness to establish new relationships. Child Development, 52(3), 932–40; Goossens, F.A., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Tavecchio, L.W.C., & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1986) Stability of attachment across time and context in a Dutch sample. Psychological Reports, 58(1), 23–32; Kermoian, R. & Leiderman, P.H. (1986) Infant attachment to mother and child caretaker in an East African community. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 9(4), 455–69.
317 Vaughn, B., Egeland, B., Sroufe, L.A., & Waters, E. (1979) Individual differences in infant–mother attachment at twelve and eighteen months: stability and change in families under stress. Child Development, 50(4), 971–5.
319 Ainsworth, M. (1991) Past and future trends in attachment research. Film of the presentation made available by Avi Sagi-Schwartz (Chair), International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991.
320 Ainsworth, M. (1985) Patterns of infant–mother attachments: antecedents and effects on development. Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 61(9), 771–91, p.787.
321 Main, M. (1999) Mary D. Salter Ainsworth: tribute and portrait. Psychoanalytic Inquiry, 19(5), 682–736; Bretherton, I. (2000) Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth (1913–1999). American Psychologist, 55, 1148–9; Crittenden, P.M. (2017) Gifts from Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22(3), 436–42.
322 Ainsworth, M. (1991) Past and future trends in attachment research. Film of the presentation made available by Avi Sagi-Schwartz (Chair), International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWS1XBA7vmk.
324 Thompson, R.A., Lamb, M.E., & Estes, D. (1982) Stability of infant–mother attachment and its relationship to changing life circumstances in an unselected middle-class sample. Child Development, 53(1), 144–8.
325 Lamb, M.E., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W.P., Charnov, E.L., & Estes, D. (1984) Security of infantile attachment as assessed in the ‘strange situation’: its study and biological interpretation. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7(1), 127–47; Lamb, M.E., Gardner, W., Charnov, E.L., Thompson, R.A., & Estes, D. (1984) Studying the security of infant–adult attachment: a reprise. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 7, 163–71.
326 Vicedo, M. (2020) On the history, present, and future of attachment theory. Reply to Robbie Duschinsky, Marinus van IJzendoorn, Sarah Foster, Sophie Reijman & Francesca Lionetti ‘attachment histories and futures’. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17(1), 147–55, p.148.
327 Ainsworth, M. (1967) Infancy in Uganda. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, pp.429–30. In line with Lamb’s concerns, researchers examined the respective contribution of infant attachment with mother and father as assessed with the Strange Situation to later child attachment representations. The general finding was that neither makes an especially strong contribution, and that the extent of caregiver involvement with the child is an important moderator. Grossmann, K., Grossmann, K.E., & Kindler, H. (2005) Early care and the roots of attachment and partnership representations. In K.E. Grossmann, K. Grossmann, & E. Waters (eds) Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood: The Major Longitudinal Studies (pp.98–36). New York: Guilford; Steele, H. & Steele, M. (2005) The construct of coherence as an indicator of attachment security in middle childhood. the friends and family interview. In K.A. Kerns & R.A. Richardson (eds) Attachment in Middle Childhood (pp.137–60). New York: Guilford. The continuity between infant–mother attachment in the Strange Situation and the six-year assessments in the Berkeley sample is higher than most other studies. In part this is because the six-year samples were developed semi-inductively from the infant data on the sample. See Chapter 3.
328 Ainsworth expressed dismay in a letter to Bowlby that Michael Lamb had written to the editor of Child Development to say that he had been a student of hers, as evidence of the validity of his coding. Though there was no formal training process or certification, Ainsworth personally did not regard him as sufficiently trained in coding the Strange Situation. Ainsworth, M. (1982) Letter to John Bowlby, 25 April 1982. PP/BOW/B.3/7. However, van IJzendoorn and Kroonenberg would later empirically compare Lamb’s coding of a Swedish sample to coding of Strange Situations in other contexts, and found minimal differences in how the coding protocols had been interpreted. Van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1990) Cross-cultural consistency of coding the strange situation. Infant Behavior and Development, 13(4), 469–85.
329 Ainsworth, M. (1973) Letter to Georgette Marie Psarras, 9 July 1973. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3176, Folder 2.
330 One alternative to long training institutes was the development in the 1980s of an algorithm to turn scale scores into category classifications by Richters, Waters, and Vaughn. The algorithm was used at times in the early 1990s, but quickly fell out of favour. The reasons for this are never discussed in print, but may have included the introduction of the disorganized attachment classification (Chapter 3), and the social institutionalization of the Minnesota Strange Situation training as authoritative. Richters, J.E., Waters, E., & Vaughn, B.E. (1988) Empirical classification of infant–mother relationships from interactive behavior and crying during reunion. Child Development, 59(2), 512–22.
331 Waters, E. (1983) The stability of individual differences in infant attachment: comments on the Thompson, Lamb, and Estes contribution. Child Development, 54(2), 516–20. See https://attachment-training.com/.
332 This situation has only changed recently with training in the Ainsworth sensitivity scale offered by Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg in 2019.
333 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1994) Process model of replication studies: on the relations between different types of replication. In R. van der Veer, M.H. van IJzendoorn, & J. Valsiner (eds) On Reconstructing the Mind: Replicability in Research on Human Development (pp.57–70). Norwood, NJ: Ablex: ‘Until such enculturation has taken place, a researcher who cannot replicate a certain result may expect to be accused of being not competent enough to carry out the experiment … A training of several weeks in one of the American research centers is considered necessary for the reliable and valid coding of the observations or interviews, and therefore for a plausible and persuasive contribution to the international discourse on attachment. When central theses of attachment theory are in danger of being falsified by “untrained” researchers, this “incompetence” and lack of enculturation will be explicitly used against the “dissident” (see, for an example, Waters, 1983)’ (62).
334 Fraley, C.R. (2002) Attachment stability from infancy to adulthood: meta-analysis and dynamic modeling of developmental mechanisms. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 6(2), 123–51.
335 Weinfield, N.S., Sroufe, L.A., & Egeland, B. (2000) Attachment from infancy to early adulthood in a high-risk sample: continuity, discontinuity, and their correlates. Child Development, 71(3), 695–702; Carlivati, J. & Collins, W.A. (2007) Adolescent attachment representations and development in a risk sample. New Directions for Child and Adolescent Development, (117), 91–106; Sroufe, L.A., Coffino, B., & Carlson, E.A. (2010) Conceptualizing the role of early experience: lessons from the Minnesota Longitudinal Study. Developmental Review, 30(1), 36–51, pp.44–5.
336 Belsky, J. & Pensky, E. (1988) Developmental history, personality and family relationships: toward an emergent family system. In R. Hinde & J. Stevenson-Hinde (eds) Relationships Within Families (pp.193–217). Oxford: Clarendon Press.
337 Pinquart, M., Feußner, C., & Ahnert, L. (2013) Meta-analytic evidence for stability in attachments from infancy to early adulthood. Attachment & Human Development, 15(2), 189–218. It should be mentioned, however, that poor short-term stability was demonstrated on the large NICHD sample. Groh, A.M., Roisman, G.I., Booth-LaForce, C., et al. (2014) IV. Stability of attachment security from infancy to late adolescence. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 79(3), 51–66.
338 Opie, J. (2018) Attachment stability and change in early childhood and associated moderators. Unpublished doctoral thesis, Deakin University, Melbourne.
339 An important work on this latter question, conducted by Waters and colleagues, was Waters, E., Merrick, S., Treboux, D., Crowell, J., & Albersheim, L. (2000) Attachment security in infancy and early adulthood: a twenty-year longitudinal study. Child Development, 71(3), 684–9. This study is not detailed here since it would require explanation of the Adult Attachment Interview, which is described in Chapter 3. In brief, the researchers found that 72% of the infants received a matching secure or insecure attachment classification in adulthood. However, 44% of the infants whose mothers reported negative life events change attachment classifications by the time the Adult Attachment Interview was conducted.
340 For a recent description of early attachment patterns as generally consigned for life in the absence of intervention see Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, B. (2016) The Circle of Security Intervention. New York: Guilford, p.69.
341 Besides Lamb, another early advocate for integrating discontinuity into the tenants of attachment theory was Crittenden, P.M. (1995) Attachment and psychopathology. In S. Goldberg, R. Muir, & J. Kerr (eds) John Bowlby’s Attachment Theory: Historical, Clinical and Social Significance. New York: Analytical Press, pp.367–406. An emphasis on predicting discontinuity is also characteristic of the third generation of developmental researchers (Chapter 6).
342 Cronbach, L. & Meehl, P. (1955) Construct validity in psychological tests. Psychological Bulletin, 52(4), 281–302; Waters, E. & Sroufe, L.A. (1983) Social competence as a developmental construct. Developmental Review 3, 79–97, p.80.
343 Ainsworth, M. (1973) Letter to Everett Waters, 7 December 1973. Mary Ainsworth Archive, Box M3176, Folder 4.
344 Waters, E. & Deane, K.E. (1985) Defining and assessing individual differences in attachment relationships: Q-methodology and the organization of behavior in infancy and early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1/2), 41–65, p.42.
346 The point is developed in Waters, E. (2008) Live long and prosper: a note on attachment and evolution. http://www.psychology.sunysb.edu/attachment/gallery/live_long/live_long.html.
347 Ainsworth, M. & Bowlby, J. (1991) 1989 APA award recipient addresses: an ethological approach to personality development. American Psychologist, 46(4), 333–41: The Strange Situation ‘procedure soon became widely used, if not always wisely and well, and has quite overshadowed the findings of the research project that gave rise to it’ (338).
348 Waters, E., Kondo-Ikemura, K., Posada, G., and Richters, J.E. (1991) Learning to love. In M.R. Gunnar & L.A. Sroufe (eds) Self Processes and Development (pp.217–55). New York: Psychology Press, pp.241–2.
349 Sroufe, L.A. & Waters, E. (1982) Issues of temperament and attachment. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 52(4), 743–6, p.743.
350 On the history of Q methodology see Stephenson, W. (1953) The Study of Behavior: Q-Technique and its Methodology. Chicago: University of Chicago Press; Good, J.M. (2010) Introduction to William Stephenson’s quest for a science of subjectivity. Psychoanalysis and History, 12(2), 211–43. Though Waters and colleagues cite Stephenson’s legacy, the more proximal examples of Q methodology research cited as a predecessor for the Attachment Q-Sort were Baumrind, D. (1968) Manual for the preschool behavior Q-Sort. Berkeley: Institute of Human Development, University of California; and Block, J. (1978) The Q-Sort Method in Personality Assessment and Psychiatric Research. Palo Alto, CA: Consulting Psychologists Press.
351 Waters, E., Posada, G., Crowell, J., & Lay, K.L. (1993) Is attachment theory ready to contribute to our understanding of disruptive behavior problems? Development & Psychopathology, 5(1–2), 215–24, p.222.
352 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment, adaptation and continuity. Paper presented at International Conference on Infant Studies, April 1984. PP/Bow/J.1/57: ‘I am delighted with the extent to which this [Strange Situation] procedure has proved useful in research, but have repeatedly stated that its success should stimulate rather than discourage the development of other procedures … It is paradoxical that the search for new procedures comes not from the critics of strange-situation research but from among those who have been most intimately involved in it. I mention here particularly Mary Main and Everett Waters.’
353 Ainsworth, M. (1991) Past and future trends in attachment research. Film of the presentation made available by Avi Sagi-Schwartz (Chair), International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991.
354 For discussions of, and different approaches to, this problem see Cassidy, J., Marvin, R., with the Attachment Working Group of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Network on the Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood (1992) Attachment organisation in preschool children: procedures and coding manual. Unpublished manual;Crittenden, P.M. (2017) Gifts from Mary Ainsworth and John Bowlby. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 22(3), 436–42; Waters, E., Vaughn, B., & Waters, H.S. (eds) (in press) Measuring Attachment. New York: Guilford.
355 Waters, E. & Deane, K.E. (1985) Defining and assessing individual differences in attachment relationships: Q-methodology and the organization of behavior in infancy and early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1/2), 41–65.
356 Waters, E. & Deane, K.E. (1985) Defining and assessing individual differences in attachment relationships: Q-methodology and the organization of behavior in infancy and early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1/2), 41–65, p.53; Seifer, R. & Schiller, M. (1995) The role of parenting sensitivity, infant temperament, and dyadic interaction in attachment theory and assessment. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2–3), 146–74.
357 A supplement to the Attachment Q-Sort to scale disorganized attachment (Chapter 3) was developed in the 1990s by John Kirkland. However, the work was not published, or even discussed in print until recently. The only study to date to have used this supplement is Handley, E.D., Michl-Petzing, L.C., Rogosch, F.A., Cicchetti, D., & Toth, S.L. (2017) Developmental cascade effects of interpersonal psychotherapy for depressed mothers: longitudinal associations with toddler attachment, temperament, and maternal parenting efficacy. Development & Psychopathology, 29(2), 601–15. The authors report a strong association with disorganized attachment in the Strange Situation, though on a study using only 10% of their sample of 125 toddlers. On disorganized attachment and the Attachment Q-Sort measure see also the item analyses reported in Van Bakel, H.J. & Riksen-Walraven, J.M. (2004) AQS security scores: what do they represent? A study in construct validation. Infant Mental Health Journal, 25(3), 175–93.
358 Fearon, R.P., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Lapsley, A.M., & Roisman, G.I. (2010) The significance of insecure attachment and disorganization in the development of children’s externalizing behavior: a meta-analytic study. Child Development, 81(2), 435–56, p.450.
359 Cadman, T., Diamond, P.R., & Fearon, P. (2018) Reassessing the validity of the attachment Q-sort: an updated meta-analysis. Infant and Child Development, 27(1).
360 See also Tarabulsy, G., Provost, M.A., Larose, S., et al. (2008) Similarities and differences in mothers’ and observers’ ratings of infant security on the attachment Q-sort. Infant Behavior & Development, 31(1), 10–22.
361 Van IJzendoorn, M.H., Vereijken, C.M., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & Marianne Riksen-Walraven, J. (2004) Assessing attachment security with the attachment Q sort: meta-analytic evidence for the validity of the observer AQS. Child Development, 75(4), 1188–213, p.1207.
362 Cadman, T., Belsky, J., & Fearon, R.M.P. (2018) The Brief Attachment Scale (BAS-16): a short measure of infant attachment. Child: Care, Health and Development, 44(5), 766–75. Independently of Fearon, Bakermans-Kranenburg and colleagues also developed a brief version of the AQS about 15 years earlier. Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Willemsen-Swinkels, S.H.N., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2003) Brief Attachment Screening Questionnaire. Unpublished manuscript, Leiden University, Centre for Child and Family Studies. This was used as part of Rutgers, A.H., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., et al. (2007) Autism, attachment and parenting: a comparison of children with autism spectrum disorder, mental retardation, language disorder, and non-clinical children. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 35(5), 859–70.
363 Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1980) Attachment and child abuse. In G. Gerbner, C.J. Ross, & E. Zigler (eds) Child abuse: an agenda for action (pp.35–47). Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.45.
364 See Ziv, Y. & Hotam, Y. (2015) Theory and measure in the psychological field: the case of attachment theory and the strange situation procedure. Theory & Psychology, 25(3), 274–91.
365 Compare, for instance, attempts to pare down established assessments of caregiving behaviour to develop a brief screening measure: Haltigan, J.D., Madigan, S., Bronfman, E., et al. (2019) Refining the assessment of disrupted maternal communication: using item response models to identify central indicators of disrupted behavior. Development & Psychopathology, 31(1), 261–77.
366 Waters, E., Kondo-Ikemura, K., Posada, G., and Richters, J.E. (1991) Learning to love. In M.R. Gunnar & L.A. Sroufe (eds) Self Processes and Development (pp.217–55). New York: Psychology Press, p.236; Waters, E., Posada, G., Crowell, J.A., & Lay, K.L. (1994) The development of attachment: from control system to working models. Psychiatry, 57(1), 32–42, p.35.
367 Crowell, J.A. & Waters, E. (1994) Bowlby’s theory grown up: the role of attachment in adult love relationships. Psychological Inquiry, 5(1), 31–4, p.32.
368 Waters, H.S. & Waters, E. (2006) The attachment working models concept: among other things, we build script-like representations of secure base experiences. Attachment & Human Development, 8(3), 185–97. They were influenced by earlier work by Schank, R. & Abelson, R. (1977) Scripts, Plans, Goals, and Understanding: An Inquiry into Human Knowledge Structures. New York: Lawrence Erlbaum; Bretherton, I. (1987) New perspectives on attachment relations: security, communication, and internal working models. In J.D. Osofsky (ed.) Handbook of Infant Development, 2nd edn (pp.1061–100). New York: Wiley. There was also other work in the 1990s that helped set the stage for the proposal of secure base scripts, e.g. Kirsh, S. & Cassidy, J. (1997) Preschoolers’ attention to and memory for attachment relevant information. Child Development, 68, 1143–53.
369 Waters, T.E.A. & Facompré, C.R (in press) Measuring secure base script knowledge in the Adult Attachment Interview. In E. Waters, B.E. Vaughn, & H.S. Waters (eds) Measuring Attachment. New York: Guilford.
370 Bowlby, J. (1985) Letter to John Byng-Hall, 12 April 1985. PP/Bow/J.9/45, discussing Byng-Hall, J. (1985) The family script: a useful bridge between theory and practice. Journal of Family Therapy, 7(3), 301–305.
371 Waters, H.S. & Waters, E. (2006) The attachment working models concept: among other things, we build script-like representations of secure base experiences. Attachment & Human Development, 8(3), 185–97.
372 For instance, routine definitions of ‘internal working models’ have increasingly made appeal to the concept of script. E.g. Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Juffer, F., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2019) Reflections on the mirror: on video-feedback to promote positive parenting and infant mental health. In C. Zeanah (ed.) Handbook of Infant Mental Health, 4th edn (pp.527–42). New York: Guilford.
373 Waters, T.E., Brockmeyer, S.L., & Crowell, J.A. (2013) AAI coherence predicts caregiving and care seeking behavior: secure base script knowledge helps explain why. Attachment & Human Development, 15(3), 316–31; Waters, T.E., Ruiz, S.K., & Roisman, G.I. (2017) Origins of secure base script knowledge and the developmental construction of attachment representations. Child Development, 88(1), 198–209; Farrell, A.K., Waters, T.E.A., Young, E.S., et al. (2019) Early maternal sensitivity, attachment security in young adulthood, and cardiometabolic risk at midlife. Attachment & Human Development, 21(1), 70–86.
374 Waters, T.E., Fraley, R., Groh, A., et al. (2015) The latent structure of secure base script knowledge. Developmental Psychology, 51(6), 823–30.
375 Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Sagi-Schwartz, S. (2016) Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: universal and contextual dimensions. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (eds) Handbook of Attachment. New York: Guilford (pp.790–815), p.809.
376 Tanner, J.M. & Inhelder, B. (eds) (1956) Discussions on Child Development: Proceedings of the WTO Study Group of the Psychobiological Development of the Child, Vol. 2. London: Tavistock, p.90. See also Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., Steele, H., Zeanah, C.H., et al. (2011) Attachment and emotional development in institutional care: characteristics and catch up. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 76(4), 62–91.
377 Harkness, S. (2015) The Strange Situation of attachment research: a review of three books. Reviews in Anthropology, 44(3), 178–97, p.196.
378 Ainsworth, M. (1963) The development of infant–mother interaction among the Ganda. In B.M. Foss (ed.) Determinants of Infant Behaviour (pp.67–104), Vol. 2. London: Methuen, p.95. Bowlby’s annotations on this chapter are in an edition held by Richard and Xenia Bowlby.
379 Bowlby, J. (1980) Loss. New York: Basic Books, p.126. W.H.R. Rivers was also an early influence. Van Dijken, S., van der Veer, R., van IJzendoorn, M., & Kuipers, H.J. (1998) Bowlby before Bowlby: the sources of an intellectual departure in psychoanalysis and psychology. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 34(3), 247–69.
380 LeVine, R.A. (2014) Attachment theory as cultural ideology. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need (pp.50–65). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
381 Bowlby’s concerns fed Ainsworth’s focus on dyadic interaction. In turn, Bowlby’s antipathy to multi-person interactions and Ainsworth’s focus on dyadic interaction together formed a serious obstacle to applications or extensions of attachment research beyond the dyad, including small group research—though see Ein-Dor’s work discussed in Chapter 5. Likewise, though there are exceptions, multi-person caregiving arrangements have been comparatively underresearched by attachment researchers. Keller, H., Bard, K., Morelli, G., et al. (2018) The myth of universal sensitive responsiveness: comment on Mesman et al. (2017). Child Development, 89(5), 1921–8.
382 Bowlby, J. (1975) Letter to Robert Marvin, 5 November 1975. PP/Bow/J.9/132.
383 Ainsworth, M. (1998) Harold Stevenson—SRCD oral history interview. http://srcd.org/sites/default/files/documents/ainsworth_mary_interview.pdf.
384 A plea for mixed methods research on attachment has also been made by Rothbaum, F. & Morelli, G. (2005) Attachment and culture: bridging relativism and universalism. In W. Friedlmeier, P. Chakkarath, & B. Schwarz (eds) Culture and Human Development: The Importance of Cross-Cultural Research to the Social Sciences. Lisse: Swets & Zeitlinger; and by Keller, H. (2018) Parenting and socioemotional development in infancy and early childhood. Developmental Review, 50, 31–41. For a recent example of use of mixed-methods see Suchman, N., Berg, A., Abrahams, L., et al. (2019) Mothering from the inside out: adapting an evidence-based intervention for high-risk mothers in the Western Cape of South Africa. Development & Psychopathology, 32(1), 105–22.
385 Exemplary contrary cases include Hobson, R.P., Patrick, M., Crandell, L., Garcia-Perez, R., & Lee, A. (2005) Personal relatedness and attachment in infants of mothers with borderline personality disorder. Development & Psychopathology, 17(2), 329–47; Kozlowska, K. (2010) Family-of-origin issues and the generation of childhood illness. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Family Therapy, 31, 73–91; Tharner, A., Verhage, M.L., Oosterman, M., & Schuengel, C. (2019) The case of attachment non-transmission: zooming in on the pathways through parental sensitivity. Paper presented at International Attachment Conference, Vancouver, 20 July 2019.
386 Danziger, K. (1990) Constructing the Subject: Historical Origins of Psychological Research. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, p.88.
387 Grossmann, K. & Grossmann, K. (2012) Bindungen—das Gefüge psychischer Sicherheit Gebundenes. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.
388 For a discussion of some of the requisites for successful alliance and collaboration between psychology and anthropology see Azuma, H. (1996) Cross-national research on child development: the Hess–Azuma collaboration in retrospect. In D.W. Shwalb & B.J. Shwalb (eds) Japanese Childrearing: Two Generations of Scholarship (pp.220–40). New York: Guilford.
389 Keller, H. (2008) Attachment—past and present. But what about the future? Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, 42, 406–15. A good illustrative case of the use of the idea of ‘attachment’, but not attachment research, for interpreting social practices and meanings is Lowe, E.D. (2002) A widow, a child, and two lineages: exploring kinship and attachment in Chuuk. American Anthropologist, 104(1), 123–37. For reflection on the different aims of interpretive and experimental forms of research see Reddy, W.M. (2014) Humanists and the experimental study of emotion. In F. Biess & D.M. Gross (eds) Science and Emotions after 1945: A Transatlantic Perspective (pp.41–66). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. The social psychological tradition of attachment research (Chapter 5) has likewise seen little uptake within anthropology, sociology, human geography, or cognate social sciences concerned primarily with practices. An exception is Quinlan, R.J. & Quinlan, M.B. (2007) Parenting and cultures of risk: a comparative analysis of infidelity, aggression, and witchcraft. American Anthropologist, 109(1), 164–79. However, the social psychological tradition has also seen no critique from anthropologists. Presumably it has fallen under the blanket of ‘developments after Ainsworth’, which anthropologists have tended to ignore.
390 Eriksen, T.H. & Nielsen, F.S. (2001) A History of Anthropology. London, Pluto Press.
391 See e.g. Keller, H. (2018) Universality claim of attachment theory: children’s socioemotional development across cultures. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(45), 11414–19; Keller, H., Bard, K., Morelli, G., et al. (2018) The myth of universal sensitive responsiveness: comment on Mesman et al. (2017). Child Development, 89(5), 1921–8.
392 See e.g. Zevalkink, J., Riksen-Walraven, J.M., & Van Lieshout, C.F. (1999) Attachment in the Indonesian caregiving context. Social Development, 8(1), 21–40; True, M., Pisani, L., & Oumar, F. (2001) Infant–mother attachment among the Dogon of Mali. Child Development, 72(5), 1451–66.
393 Otto, H. (2014) Don’t show your emotions! Emotion regulation and attachment in the Cameroonian Nso. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations of a Universal Human Need (pp.215–29). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
394 E.g. van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1988) Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: a meta-analysis of the strange situation. Child Development, 59, 147–56; Grossmann, K.E., Grossmann, K., & Keppler, A. (2005) Universal and culture-specific aspects of human behavior: the case of attachment. In W. Friedlmeier, P. Chakkarth, & B. Schwarz (eds) Culture and Human Development: The Importance of Cross-Cultural Research for the Social Sciences (pp.75–97). New York: Psychology Press.
395 Kermoian, R. & Leiderman, P.H. (1986) Infant attachment to mother and child caretaker in an East African community. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 9(4), 455–69.
396 Posada, G., Carbonell, O.A., Alzate, G., & Plata, S.J. (2004) Through Colombian lenses: ethnographic and conventional analyses of maternal care and their associations with secure base behavior. Developmental Psychology, 40(4), 508–18; Posada, G. (2013) Piecing together the sensitivity construct: ethology and cross-cultural research. Attachment & Human Development, 15(5–6), 637–56.
397 Exceptions include Marvin, R.S., VanDevender, T.L., Iwanaga, M.I., LeVine, S., & LeVine, R.A. (1977) Infant–caregiver attachment among the Hausa of Nigeria. In H.M. McGurk (ed.) Ecological Factors in Human Development (pp.247–60). Amsterdam: North-Holland; Crittenden, P.M. & Claussen, A.H. (eds) (2000) The Organisation of Attachment Relationships. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; Thompson, R.A. (2017) Twenty-first century attachment theory. In H. Keller & K. Bard (eds) The Cultural Nature of Attachment: Contextualizing Relationships and Development (pp.301–19). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
398 Keller, H. (2013) Attachment and culture. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 44(2), 175–94, p.180.
399 The collaboration between Bob Marvin and the LeVines stands as an apparent exception to the division between these two traditions, even if it was not feasible to bridge the division completely through use of the Strange Situation. However, it is striking also as a somewhat isolated case, at least until the past decade. It also illustrates well the difficulties and lack of professional reward for such work. See Marvin, R.S., VanDevender, T.L., Iwanaga, M.I., LeVine, S., & LeVine, R.A. (1977) Infant–caregiver attachment among the Hausa of Nigeria. In H.M. McGurk (ed.) Ecological Factors in Human Development (pp.247–60). Amsterdam: North-Holland.
400 E.g. Brazelton, T.B. (1972) Implications of infant development among the Mayan Indians of Mexico. Human Development, 15(2), 90–111; Tronick, E.Z., Morelli, G.A., & Ivey, P.K. (1992) The Efe forager infant and toddler’s pattern of social relationships: multiple and simultaneous. Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 568.
401 Chisholm, J.S. (1996) The evolutionary ecology of attachment organization. Human Nature, 7(1), 1–37; Chisholm, J. (2003) Uncertainty, contingency and attachment: a life history theory of theory of mind. In K. Sterelny & J. Fitness (eds) From Mating to Mentality: Evaluating Evolutionary Psychology (pp.125–54). Hove: Psychology Press.
402 A signal exception is work by Belsky and colleagues on early attachment experiences as priming regarding the need for long-term or short-term focused reproductive strategies. This concept has generated substantial interest among biological anthropologists. Belsky, J., Steinberg, L., & Draper, P. (1991) Childhood experience, interpersonal development, and reproductive strategy: an evolutionary theory of socialization. Child Development, 62, 647–70.
403 Though a critic of the tradition of attachment research located within developmental science, Heidi Keller has been an important figure in seeking bridges between disciplines, and in updating the ‘working model’ held of attachment researchers by anthropologists. See e.g. Otto, H. & Keller, H. (eds) (2014) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. A heartening sign of a more serious interaction between developmental science and anthropology is the debate between Judy Mesman and Heidi Keller and colleagues, though the tendency towards talking past one another remains in evidence. See Keller, H., Bard, K., Morelli, G., et al. (2018) The myth of universal sensitive responsiveness: comment on Mesman et al. (2017). Child Development, 89(5), 1921–8.
404 E.g. Meehan, C.L. & Hawks, S. (2015) Multiple attachments: allomothering, stranger anxiety, and intimacy. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need (pp.113–40). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
405 See e.g. Quinn, N. & Mageo, J. (eds) (2013) Attachment Deconsidered: Cultural Perspectives on a Western Theory. London: Palgrave; Morelli, G. (2015) The evolution of attachment theory and cultures of human attachment in infancy and early childhood. In L.E. Jensen (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Human Development and Culture: An Interdisciplinary Perspective (pp.149–64). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
406 Scheper-Hughes, N. (1993) Death Without Weeping: The Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil. Berkeley: University of California Press. Similar issues can be found in later anthropological works, even the otherwise excellent Gottlieb, A. (2004) The Afterlife Is Where We Come From. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
407 Though, unusually, collaboration and coauthorship between attachment researchers and anthropologists can be seen in Keller, H. (eds) (2017) The Cultural Nature of Attachment: Contextualizing Relationships and Development. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
408 Keller, H. & Thompson, R. (2018) Attachment theory: past, present & future. Recorded at the 2nd ‘Wilhelm Wundt Dialogue’, Leipzig University, 28 November 2018, hosted by the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development (LFE). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nG5SelEj28.
409 Cf. Aviezer, O., Sagi-Schwartz, A., & Koren-Karie, N. (2003) Ecological constraints on the formation of infant–mother attachment relations: when maternal sensitivity becomes ineffective. Infant Behavior and Development, 26(3), 285–99.
410 Keller, H. & Thompson, R. (2018) Attachment theory: past, present & future. Recorded at the 2nd ‘Wilhelm Wundt Dialogue’, Leipzig University, 28 November 2018, hosted by the Leipzig Research Center for Early Child Development (LFE). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nG5SelEj28.
411 Weisner, T. (2014) The socialization of trust: plural caregiving and diverse pathways in human development across cultures. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment (pp.263–77). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
412 Grossmann, K.E., Grossmann, K., Huber, F., & Watner, U. (1981) German children’s behavior towards their mothers at 12 months and their fathers at 18 months in Ainsworth’s Strange Situation. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 4(2), 157–81.
413 Wartner, U.G., Grossmann, K., Fremmer-Bombik, E., & Suess, G. (1994) Attachment patterns at age six in south Germany: predictability from infancy and implications for preschool behavior. Child Development, 65(4), 1014–27. With the D classification included, the distributions were 50% B, 15% A, 4.5% C, and 30.5% D.
414 Beller, E.K., & Pohl, A. (1986) The Strange Situation revisited. Paper presented at 4th International Conference on Infant Studies, Beverly Hills, April 1986. Distribution of attachment classifications reported in van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1988) Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: a meta-analysis of the strange situation. Child Development, 59(1), 147–56. Even in a sample of German children known to social services for potential child abuse and neglect, rates of secure attachment have been found to be high at 24 months. Suess, G.J., Bohlen, U., Carlson, E.A., Spangler, G., & Frumentia Maier, M. (2016) Effectiveness of attachment based STEEP™ intervention in a German high-risk sample. Attachment & Human Development, 18(5), 443–60.
415 However, empirical study of parents’ perceptions of the appropriate attachment behaviour of young children showed few differences between north and south Germany: Scholmerich, A. (1996) Attachment security and maternal concepts of ideal children in northern and southern Germany. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 19(4), 725–38. An alternative explanation for the early independence encouraged in the Bielefeld infants might be found in war trauma experienced by the parents in the Bielefeld sample. Bielefeld was heavily bombed during World War II. By contrast, though the Messerschmitt aircraft factory and the oil refinery nearby were attacked, the town of Regensburg itself received little bombing. On German war trauma and attachment processes see the discussion in Kaiser, M., Kuwert, P., Braehler, E., & Glaesmer, H. (2018) Long-term effects on adult attachment in German occupation children born after World War II in comparison with a birth-cohort-matched representative sample of the German general population. Aging & Mental Health, 22(2), 197–207.
416 Grossmann, K.E., Grossmann, K., & Schwan, A. (1986) Capturing the wider view of attachment: a reanalysis of Ainsworth’s Strange Situation. In C.E. Izard & P.B. Read (eds) Measuring Emotions in Infants and Children, Vol. 2 (pp.124–71). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
417 E.g. Simonelli, A., De Palo, F., Moretti, M., Baratter, P.M., & Porreca, A. (2014) The Strange Situation procedure: the role of the attachment patterns in the Italian culture. American Journal of Applied Psychology, 3(3), 47–56.
418 E.g. LeVine, R.A. (2014) Attachment theory as cultural ideology. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need (pp.50–65). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. See also Grossmann, K.E. & Grossmann, K. (1999) Mary Ainsworth: our guide to attachment research. Attachment and Human Development, 1, 224–8: ‘Our study, though, became known more because of the high percentage of insecure-avoidantly attached infants (Grossmann, Grossmann, Huber, Wartner,1981) than for its many confirmations of Ainsworth’s findings with a larger sample’ (224). Another important early cross-cultural study of the 1980s was work by Sagi and Lamb exploring the attachment classifications of infants raised on Israeli kibbutzim with their mother, father, and communal caretakers. This research was of particular importance in highlighting the important contribution made by attachment figure overnight availability to security as assessed in the Strange Situation. Sagi, A., Lamb, M.E., Lewkowicz, K.S., Shoham, R., Dvir, R., & Estes, D. (1985) Security of infant–mother, –father, and –metapelet attachments among kibbutz-reared Israeli children. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50(1/2), 257–75; Sagi, A., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Aviezer, O., Donnell, F., & Mayseless, O. (1994) Sleeping out of home in a kibbutz communal arrangement: it makes a difference for infant–mother attachment. Child Development, 65(4), 992–1004.
419 Takahashi, K. (1986) Examining the Strange Situation procedure with Japanese mothers and 12-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 22(2), 265–70. In a later report on the same sample, 75% were classified as secure, 21% ambivalent/resistant, and 4% unclassifiable. Nakagawa, M., Lamb, M.E., & Miyake, K. (1992) Antecedents and correlates of the strange situation behavior of Japanese infants. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 23, 300–10.
420 Alan Sroufe, personal communication, January 2019.
421 Takahashi, K. (1990) Are the key assumptions of the ‘Strange Situation’ procedure universal? A view from Japanese research. Human Development, 33(1), 23–30.
422 Behrens, K.Y. (2016) Reconsidering attachment in context of culture: review of attachment studies in Japan. Online Readings in Psychology and Culture, 6(1), 7.
423 Takahashi, K. (1986) Examining the Strange Situation procedure with Japanese mothers and 12-month-old infants. Developmental Psychology, 22(2), 265–70, p.266.
424 E.g. Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Bell, S.M. (1970) Attachment, exploration, and separation: illustrated by the behavior of one-year-olds in a strange situation. Child Development, 41(1), 49–67.
425 Serafica, F.C. & Cicchetti, D. (1976) Down’s syndrome children in a strange situation: attachment and exploration behaviors. Merrill-Palmer, 22(2), 137–50; Smith, L. & Martinsen, H. (1977) The behavior of young children in a strange situation. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 18(1), 43–52.
426 Grossmann, K.E. & Grossmann, K. (1989) Preliminary observation on Japanese infants’ behavior in Ainsworth’s strange situation. Hokkaido University Annual Report, Research and Clinical Center for Child Development, 11, 1–12.
427 Grossmann, K., Fremmer-Bombik, E., & Freitag, M. (1991) German and Japanese infants in the Strange Situation: are there differences in behavior beyond differences in the frequency of classes? Paper presented at meeting of International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991.Copy shared by Karin Grossmann.
429 Grossmann, K.E. & Grossmann, K. (1996) Kulturelle perspektiven der bindungsentwicklung Japan in und Deutschland. In G. Trommsdorff & H.-J. Konrad (eds) Gesellschaftliche und individuelle Entwicklung Japan in und Deutschland (pp.215–35). Konstanz: Universitätsverlag Konstanz.
430 Grossmann, K.E. & Grossmann, K. (1989) Preliminary observation on Japanese infants’ behavior in Ainsworth’s strange situation. Hokkaido University Annual Report, Research and Clinical Center for Child Development, 11, 1–12.
431 Grossmann, K., Fremmer-Bombik, E., & Grossmann, K.E. (1990) Familiar and unfamiliar patterns of attachment of Japanese infants. Hokkaido University Annual Report, Research and Clinical Center for Child Development, 2, 30–39.
432 Grossmann, K., Fremmer-Bombik, E., & Freitag, M. (1991) German and Japanese infants in the Strange Situation: are there differences in behavior beyond differences in the frequency of classes? Paper presented at meeting of International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development, Minneapolis, July 1991.Copy shared by Karin Grossmann. However, curiously, the Japanese infants also seemed much less wary of the stranger than the German infants.
433 Rothbaum, F., Weisz, J., Pott, M., Miyake, K., & Morelli, G. (2000) Attachment and culture: security in the United States and Japan. American Psychologist, 55(10), 1093–104.
434 Vereijken, C.J.J.L., Riksen-Walraven, J.M., & Van Lieshout, C.F.M. (1997) Mother–infant relationships in Japan: attachment, dependency, and amae. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 28(4), 442–62
435 Rothbaum, F. & Kakinuma, M. (2004) Amae and attachment: security in cultural context. Human Development, 47(1), 34–9. Cf. Posada, G., Lu, T., Trumbell, J., et al. (2013) Is the secure base phenomenon evident here, there, and anywhere? A cross-cultural study of child behavior and experts’ definitions. Child Development, 84(6), 1896–905.
436 Kondo-ikemura, K., Behrens, K.Y., Umemura, T., & Nakano, S. (2018) Japanese mothers’ prebirth Adult Attachment Interview predicts their infants’ response to the Strange Situation Procedure: the Strange Situation in Japan revisited three decades later. Developmental Psychology, 54(11), 2007–2015.
437 True, M. (in press) Multiple pathways to infant disorganization: insights from an African dataset. In T. Forslund & R. Duschinsky (eds) The Attachment Reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
438 See also Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Sagi-Schwartz, S. (2016) Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: universal and contextual dimensions. In J. Cassidy & P. Shaver (eds) Handbook of Attachment (pp.790–815). New York: Guilford, p.809.
439 Exceptions include Posada, G., Carbonell, O.A., Alzate, G., & Plata, S.J. (2004) Through Colombian lenses: ethnographic and conventional analyses of maternal care and their associations with secure base behavior. Developmental Psychology, 40(4), 508–18; Howes, C. & Wishard Guerra, A.G. (2009) Networks of attachment relationships in low-income children of Mexican heritage: infancy through preschool. Social Development, 18(4), 896–914; Fuertes, M., Ribeiro, C., Gonçalves, J.L., et al. (2020) Maternal perinatal representations and their associations with mother–infant interaction and attachment: A longitudinal comparison of Portuguese and Brazilian dyads. International Journal of Psychology, 55(2), 224–33.
440 Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Sagi-Schwartz, A. (2016) Cross-cultural patterns of attachment. In J. Cassidy & P.R. Shaver (eds) The Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, 3rd edn (pp.852–77). New York: Guilford; see also Posada, G. (2013) Piecing together the sensitivity construct: ethology and cross-cultural research. Attachment & Human Development, 15, 637–56.
441 Röttger-Rössler, B. (2014) Bonding and belonging beyond WEIRD worlds: rethinking attachment theory on the basis of cross-cultural anthropological data. In H. Otto & H. Keller (eds) Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need (pp.141–68). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. See also Carlson, V.J. & Harwood, R.L. (2003) Attachment, culture, and the caregiving system: the cultural patterning of everyday experiences among Anglo and Puerto Rican mother–infant pairs. Infant Mental Health Journal, 24(1), 53–73; LeVine, R.A., Gielen, U.P., & Roopnarine, J. (2004) Challenging expert knowledge: findings from an African study of infant care and development. In Childhood and Adolescence: Cross-cultural Perspectives and Applications (pp.149–65). Westport, CT: Praeger/Greenwood.
442 Exceptions include Mesman, J., van IJzendoorn, M., Behrens, K., et al. (2016) Is the ideal mother a sensitive mother? Beliefs about early childhood parenting in mothers across the globe. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 40(5), 385–97; Posada, G., Trumbell, J., Noblega, M., et al. (2016) Maternal sensitivity and child secure base use in early childhood: studies in different cultural contexts. Child Development, 87(1), 297–311; Dawson, N.K. (2018) From Uganda to Baltimore to Alexandra Township: how far can Ainsworth’s theory stretch? South African Journal of Psychiatry, 24, 8. Perhaps the only study to have examined the cross-cultural consistency of coding the Strange Situation is Van IJzendoorn, M. H. & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1990) Cross-cultural consistency of coding the strange situation. Infant Behavior and Development, 13(4), 469–85.
443 E.g. Fourment, K., Nóblega, M., Conde, G., del Prado, J.N., & Mesman, J. (2018) Maternal sensitivity in rural Andean and Amazonian Peru. Attachment & Human Development, 27 March, 1–9.
444 Kieling, C., Baker-Henningham, H., Belfer, M., et al. (2011) Child and adolescent mental health worldwide: evidence for action. The Lancet, 378(9801), 1515–25. However, see Bain, K. & Baradon, T. (2018) Interfacing infant mental health knowledge: perspectives of South African supervisors supporting lay mother–infant home visitors. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(4), 371–84.
445 Bell, S.M. & Ainsworth, M.D.S. (1972) Infant crying and maternal responsiveness. Child Development, 43(4), 1171–90.
446 On the landmark status of this study see Lewis, M. (1997) Altering Fate: Why the Past Does Not Predict the Future. New York: Guilford, p.145.
447 See the debate between attachment and behaviourist theorists over Ainsworth’s findings: Gewirtz, J.L. & Boyd, E.F. (1977) Does maternal responding imply reduced infant crying? A critique of the 1972 Bell and Ainsworth report. Child Development, 48, 1200–1207; Ainsworth, M.D.S. & Bell, S.M. (1977) Infant crying and maternal responsiveness: a rejoinder to Gewirtz and Boyd. Child Development, 48, 1208–16. For an example of Bowlby using Ainsworth’s findings regarding crying as ammunition against social learning approaches see e.g. Bowlby, J. (1973) Separation. London: Pimlico, p.358.
448 Ainsworth, M., Bell, S., & Stayton, D. (1972) Individual differences in the development of some attachment behaviors. Merrill-Palmer, 18(2), 123–43, p.136.
449 Stayton, D. & Ainsworth, M. (1973) Individual differences in infant responses to brief, everyday separations as related to other infant and maternal behaviours. Developmental Psychology 9(2), 226–35, p.233.
450 Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978, 2015) Patterns of Attachment: A Psychological Study of the Strange Situation. Bristol: Psychology Press, p.146.
451 E.g. Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum: ‘A group difference in maternal unresponsiveness to crying in the first quarter led to the conclusion that “Mothers who are promptly responsive to crying signals in the early months have babies who later become securely attached” (Ainsworth et al. 1978, p.150). In fact, when the measure is expressed as a proportion (Maternal unresponsiveness per hour/Infant crying per hour), the proportion of A and B infants are equivalent, and the deviant group (C) contains only four dyads’ (65).
452 Newton, L.D. (1983) Helping parents cope with infant crying. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing, 12(3), 199–204.
453 Frodi, A.M. & Lamb, M.E. (1980) Child abusers’ responses to infant smiles and cries. Child Development, 51(1), 238–41.
454 Van IJzendoorn, M.H., Tavecchio, L.W.C., Goossens, F.A., & Vergeer, M.M. (1982) Opvoeden in Geborgenheid. Een Kritische Analyse van Bowlby’s Attachment Theorie. Deventer: Van Loghum Slaterus.
455 Van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2004) Roos. In H. Procee, H. Meijer, P. Timmerman, & R. Tuinsma (eds) Bij die Wereld wil ik Horen! Zevenendertig Columns & Drie Essays over de Vorming tot Academicus (pp.86–89). Amsterdam: Boom.
456 Hubbard, F.O. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1991) Maternal unresponsiveness and infant crying across the first 9 months: a naturalistic longitudinal study. Infant Behavior and Development, 14(3), 299–312.
457 Hubbard, F.O.A. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (1987) Maternal unresponsiveness and infant crying: a critical replication of the Bell & Ainsworth study. In L.W.C. Tavecchio & M.H. van IJzendoorn (eds) Attachment in Social Networks. Contributions to the Bowlby–Ainsworth Attachment Theory (pp.339–78). New York: Elsevier, p.344.
459 Dozier, M. & Bernard, K. (2019) Coaching Parents of Vulnerable Infants: The Attachment and Biobehavioral Catch-up Approach. New York: Guilford, p.11.
460 Sameroff, A. (2009) The transactional model. In A. Sameroff (ed.) The Transactional Model of Development: How Children and Contexts Shape Each Other (pp.3–21). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association. On the shift towards contextualism in developmental psychology in the 1970s see Lerner, R.M., Hultsch, D.F., & Dixon, R.A. (1983) Contextualism and the character of developmental psychology in the 1970s. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 412(1), 101–28.
461 Cassidy, J., Marvin, R., with the Attachment Working Group of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Network on the Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood (1992) Attachment organisation in preschool children: procedures and coding manual. Unpublished manual; Main, M. & Cassidy, J. (1988) Categories of response to reunion with the parent at age 6: predictable from infant attachment classifications and stable over a 1-month period. Developmental Psychology, 24(3), 415–26.
462 Except when a sample has been specifically recruited with such factors in mind, e.g. Espinosa, M., Beckwith, L., Howard, J., Tyler, R., & Swanson, K. (2001) Maternal psychopathology and attachment in toddlers of heavy cocaine-using mothers. Infant Mental Health Journal, 22(3), 316–33.
463 Grossmann, K. & Grossmann, K. (2012) Bindungen—Das Gefüge psychischer Sicherheit Gebundenes. Stuttgart: Klett-Cotta.
464 E.g. Fonagy, P. (2000) Attachment Theory and Psychoanalysis. New York: Other Press.
465 Crittenden, P.M. (1992) Preschool Assessment of Attachment. Miami: Family Relations Institute; Crittenden, P.M. (2016) Raising Parents: Attachment, Representation, and Treatment, 2nd edn. London: Routledge. The Cassidy/Marvin MacArthur preschool system has some elements of a dyadic focus, though these are not foregrounded. Cassidy, J., Marvin, R., with the ttachment Working Group of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Network on the Transition from Infancy to Early Childhood (1992) Attachment organisation in preschool children: procedures and coding manual. Unpublished manual. Dyadic coding is more foregrounded in Marvin’s later work: Britner, P.A., Marvin, R.S., & Pianta, R.C. (2005) Development and preliminary validation of the caregiving behavior system: association with child attachment classification in the preschool Strange Situation. Attachment & Human Development, 7(1), 83–102.
466 Main, M., Kaplan, N., & Cassidy, J. (1985) Security in infancy, childhood, and adulthood: a move to the level of representation. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50, 66–104; Strage, A. & Main, M. (1985) Attachment and parent—child discourse patterns. Paper presented at Biennial meeting of Society for Research in Child Development, Toronto. PP/Bow/J.4/4.
467 Obsuth, I., Hennighausen, K., Brumariu, L.E., & Lyons-Ruth, K. (2014) Disorganized behavior in adolescent–parent interaction: relations to attachment state of mind, partner abuse, and psychopathology. Child Development, 85(1), 370–87.
468 Main, M. & Weston, D. (1981) The independence of infant–mother and infant–father attachment relationships: security of attachment characterises relationships, not infants. PP/Bow/J.4/3. The paper was ultimately published under the title ‘The quality of the toddler’s relationship to mother and to father: related to conflict behavior and the readiness to establish new relationships’.
469 Bowlby, J. (1969, 1982) Attachment, Volume 1. London: Penguin, p.349.
470 Sroufe, L.A. (2007) The place of development in developmental psychopathology. In A. Masten (ed.) Multilevel Dynamics in Developmental Psychopathology: Pathways to the Future: The Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, Vol. 34 (pp.285–99). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p.291.
471 Eagle, M. (2013) Attachment and Psychoanalysis. New York: Guilford, p.55. See also Kobak, R. & Bosmans, G. (2018) Attachment and psychopathology: a dynamic model of the insecure cycle. Current Opinion in Psychology, 25, 76–80, p.76.
472 Bosmans, G., Van de Walle, M., Goossens, L., & Ceulemans, E. (2014) (In)variability of attachment in middle childhood: secure base script evidence in diary data. Behavior Change, 31, 225–42.
473 Fonagy, P. & Campbell, C. (2015) Bad blood revisited: attachment and psychoanalysis. British Journal of Psychotherapy, 31(2), 229–50, p.236.
474 Lamb, M., Thompson, R.A., Gardner, W., & Charnov, E.L. (1985) Infant–Mother Attachment: The Origins and Developmental Significance of Individual Differences in the Strange Situation. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, p.4.
475 Ainsworth, M. (1984) Attachment, adaptation and continuity. Paper presented at International Conference on Infant Studies, April 1984. PP/Bow/J.1/57
476 Waters, E., Posada, G., Crowell, J., & Lay, K.L. (1993) Is attachment theory ready to contribute to our understanding of disruptive behavior problems? Development & Psychopathology, 5(1–2), 215–24, p.217.
477 E.g. Erickson, M., Sroufe, L.A., & Egeland, B. (1985) The relationship of quality of attachment and behavior problems in preschool in a high risk sample. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50 (1–2), 147–86; Belsky, J. & Fearon, R.P. (2002) Early attachment security, subsequent maternal sensitivity, and later child development: does continuity in development depend upon continuity of caregiving? Attachment & Human Development, 4(3), 361–87.
478 Thompson, R. (1998) Early sociopersonality development. In W. Damon & N. Eisenberg (eds) Handbook of Child Psychology: Vol. 3. Social, Emotional, and Personality Development, 5th edn (pp 25–104). New York: Wiley, p.58.
479 E.g. Egeland, B. & Farber, E.A. (1984) Infant–mother attachment: factors related to its development and changes over time. Child Development, 55(3), 753–71 .
480 E.g. Sroufe, L.A. (1983) Infant–caregiver attachment and patterns of adaptation in preschool: the roots of maladaptation and competence. In M. Perlmutter (ed.) Development and Policy Concerning Children with Special Needs: The Minnesota Symposia on Child Psychology, Vol. 16 (pp.41–83). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
481 E.g. Jimerson, S., Egeland, B., Sroufe, L.A., & Carlson, B. (2000) A prospective longitudinal study of high school dropouts examining multiple predictors across development. Journal of School Psychology, 38(6), 525–49.
482 See e.g. Farrell, A.K., Waters, T.E.A., Young, E.S., et al. (2019) Early maternal sensitivity, attachment security in young adulthood, and cardiometabolic risk at midlife. Attachment & Human Development, 21(1), 70–86.
483 NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1999) Child care and mother–child interaction in the first three years of life. Developmental Psychology, 35, 1399–413. Belsky and Fearon conducted an analysis of the relative contributions of attachment and sensitivity to later outcomes in this dataset, but only included measures of sensitivity subsequent to the Strange Situation. Belsky, J. & Fearon, R.P. (2002) Early attachment security, subsequent maternal sensitivity, and later child development: does continuity in development depend upon continuity of caregiving? Attachment & Human Development, 4(3), 361–87.
484 Connell, J.P. (1987) Structural equation modeling and the study of child development: a question of goodness of fit. Child Development, 58, 167–75
485 Carlson, E.A., Sroufe, L.A., & Egeland, B. (2004) The construction of experience: a longitudinal study of representation and behavior. Child Development, 75(1), 66–83.
486 Carlson, E.A. (1998) A prospective longitudinal study of attachment disorganization/disorientation. Child Development, 69(4), 1107–28.
487 Beijersbergen, M.D., Juffer, F., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2012) Remaining or becoming secure: parental sensitive support predicts attachment continuity from infancy to adolescence in a longitudinal adoption study. Developmental Psychology, 48(5), 1277–82.
489 Schoenmaker, C., Juffer, F., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Linting, M., van der Voort, A., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J. (2015) From maternal sensitivity in infancy to adult attachment representations: a longitudinal adoption study with secure base scripts. Attachment & Human Development, 17(3), 241–56.
490 Groh, A.M., Fearon, R.P., Bakermans-Kranenburg, M.J., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Steele, R.D., & Roisman, G.I. (2014) The significance of attachment security for children’s social competence with peers: a meta-analytic study. Attachment & Human Development, 16(2), 103–36, p.126.
491 Cassidy, J., Woodhouse, S.S., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., Powell, B., & Rodenberg, M. (2005) Examination of the precursors of infant attachment security: implications for early intervention and intervention research. In L.J. Berlin, Y. Ziv, L. Amaya-Jackson, & M.T. Greenberg (eds) Enhancing Early Attachments: Theory, Research, Intervention, and Policy (pp.34–60). New York: Guilford.
492 Woodhouse, S.S., Scott, J.R., Hepworth, A.D., & Cassidy, J. (2020) Secure base provision: a new approach to examining links between maternal caregiving and infant attachment. Child Development, 91(1), 249–65.
493 Ainsworth, M. (1969) Object relations, dependency and attachment. Child Development, 40, 969–1025, p.1003.
494 Cf. Sayes, E. (2014) Actor–network theory and methodology. Social Studies of Science, 44(1), 134–49.
495 For detailed argument on this point see van IJzendoorn, M.H., Tavecchio, L.W.C., Goossens, F.A., & Vergeer, M.M. (1982) Opvoeden in Geborgenheid: Een Kritische Analyse van Bowlby’s Attachment Theorie. Amsterdam: Van Loghum Slaterus. By way of comparison, for discussion of a movement in psychoanalytic theory in the same period that failed to take root within academic psychology see McLaughlin, N.G. (1998) Why do schools of thought fail? Neo-Freudianism as a case study in the sociology of knowledge. Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences, 34(2), 113–34.
496 Granqvist, P. (2020) Attachment, Religion, and Spirituality: A Wider View. New York: Guilford: ‘That the placement of attachment theory and research within mainstream psychology is largely a historical coincidence, resulting from some skilled developmental psychologists’ receptiveness to Bowlby’s ideas. They adopted the theory, contributed to it, and made it a major part of psychology. However, attachment theory, originating in ethology, was among the first fully developed theories within what was later to become evolutionary approaches to human psychology. Similarly, as evidenced in Bowlby’s use of a cybernetic model and his borrowing of the internal working model construct, attachment theory grew in the same soil that later produced cognitive science.’
497 Ainsworth, M. (1995) On the shaping of attachment theory and research: an interview with Mary D.S. Ainsworth. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 60(2/3), 2–21, p.12.
498 Klaus and Karin Grossmann, personal communication, November 2018.
499 The Sroufe and Egeland Minnesota group were an exception here; core to their mission was an attempt to replicate and evaluate Ainsworth’s findings, to test out their scientific standing (Chapter 4).
500 See also White, S., Gibson, M., Wastell, D., & Walsh, P. (2019) Reassessing Attachment Theory in Child Welfare. Bristol: Psychology Press. Collins has offered the term ‘alien science’ to describe the reception of research in cases with such a sharp disparity. Collins, H.M. (1999) Tantalus and the aliens: publications, audiences and the search for gravitational waves. Social Studies of Science, 29(2), 163–97.
501 Reijman, S., Foster, S., & Duschinsky, R. (2018) The infant disorganised attachment classification: ‘patterning within the disturbance of coherence’. Social Science & Medicine, 200, 52–8.
502 Cf. Bourdieu, P. (1989) The social genesis of the eye. In The Rules of Art, trans. S. Emanuel (pp.313–21). Cambridge: Polity Press.
503 E.g. Koós, O. & Gergely, G. (2001) A contingency-based approach to the etiology of ‘disorganized’ attachment: the ‘flickering switch’ hypothesis. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 65(3), 397–410.
504 By the 1990s, additional centres of gravity included—though were not limited to—Pennsylvania (Jay Belsky), Harvard (Karlen Lyons-Ruth), Leiden (Marinus van IJzendoorn), Maryland (Jude Cassidy, Doug Teti), Haifa (Avi Sagi-Schwartz), and London (Peter Fonagy, Miriam Steele, and Howard Steele). Berkeley and Minnesota especially, and Regesburg and SUNY to an extent, nonetheless appeared to retain particular significance and, in certain regards, social priority. This dynamic can be seen in the pattern of citation by the research groups of one another.
505 For a discussion of the role of authorities of delimitation see Foucault, M. (1969, 1972) The Archaeology of Knowledge, trans. A.M. Sheridan Smith. London: Routledge, Chapter 3.
506 E.g. Tavecchio, L.W. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (eds) (1987) Attachment in Social Networks: Contributions to the Bowlby–Ainsworth Attachment Theory. New York: Elsevier; Emde, R.N. & Fonagy, P. (1997) An emerging culture for psychoanalytic research? International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 78(4), 643–51: ‘Extensive training is often needed for coding and observation, which can lead not only to isolation but to shared assumptions that are unspecified among those doing the research’ (649).
507 E.g. van IJzendoorn, M.H. & Kroonenberg, P.M. (1990) Cross-cultural consistency of coding the strange situation. Infant Behavior and Development, 13(4), 469–85; Sagi, A., van IJzendoorn, M.H., & Koren-Karie, N. (1991) Primary appraisal of the Strange Situation: a cross-cultural analysis of preseparation episodes. Developmental Psychology, 27(4), 587–96.
508 See Roisman, G.I. & van IJzendoorn, M.H. (2018) Meta-analysis and individual participant data synthesis in child development: introduction to the special section. Child Development, 89(6), 1939–42.
509 The particular object of contention here has been the NICHD sample: NICHD Early Child Care Research Network (1997) The effects of infant child care on infant–mother attachment security: results of the NICHD Study of Early Child Care NICHD Early Child Care Research Network. Child Development, 68(5), 860–79.
510 Verhage, M.L., Fearon, R.P., Schuengel, C., et al. (2018) Examining ecological constraints on the intergenerational transmission of attachment via individual participant data meta-analysis. Child Development, 89(6), 2023–37.
511 The disjuncture between the willingness to engage with public media between Bowlby and Ainsworth was already remarked upon by Karen, R. (1990) Becoming attached. The Atlantic, February 1990: ‘Ainsworth is all but unknown to the public (and to many psychoanalysts and psychiatrists, who tend to be unfamiliar with trends in developmental psychology), and yet her fame in the world of infant development exceeds that of John Bowlby himself … Unlike Bowlby, who holds the light as if he were born to it, she doesn’t seem at home.’ Ainsworth, M. (1990) Letter to John Bowlby, 24 1990, PP/BOW/B.3/8.
512 Some further limited exceptions can be identified. For instance, Sroufe was involved in writing a popular textbook, and composed a few newspaper articles. Marti Erickson led the Children, Youth & Family Consortium after finishing the STEEP intervention and the research, and worked directly in family policy. Generally, though, the difference in scale between Bowlby’s public engagement activities and those of Ainsworth and the second generation of attachment researchers is profound. As will be discussed further in Chapter 6, the lack of public engagement by second-generation researchers stands in contrast to the extensive public-facing activities of third-generation attachment researchers such as Sheri Madigan. Madigan, S. (2019) Beyond the academic silo: collaboration and community partnerships in attachment research. Paper presented at International Attachment Conference, Vancouver, 20 July 2019: ‘The public are looking for information, and will get misinformation unless we extend research findings to the public. I am taking it as a responsibility of mine to disseminate information to those who want it, often parents and clinicians.’
513 See e.g. Britto, P.R., Lye, S.J., Proulx, K., et al., and the Early Childhood Development Interventions Review Group, for the Lancet Early Childhood Development Series Steering Committee (2017) Nurturing care: promoting early childhood development. The Lancet, 389(10064), 91–102; Leach, P. (ed.) (2017) Transforming Infant Wellbeing: Research, Policy and Practice for the First 1001 Critical Days. London: Routledge.
514 See e.g. Spieker, S.J. & Crittenden, P.M. (2018) Can attachment inform decision-making in child protection and forensic settings? Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(6), 625–41; Fonagy, P. & Higgitt, A. (2004) Early mental health intervention and prevention: the implications for government and the wider community. In B. Sklarew, S.W. Twemlow, & S.M. Wilkinson (eds) Analysts in the Trenches: Streets, Schools, War Zones (pp.257–309). Mahwah, NJ: Analytic Press; Fonagy, P. (2018) Evidence submitted to the Evidence-Based Early-Years Intervention Inquiry. Science and Technology Committee (Commons). http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/evidencebased-early-years-intervention/written/77644.pdf.
515 Powell, B., Cooper, G., Hoffman, K., & Marvin, R.S. (2009) The circle of security. In C.H. Zeanah (ed.) Handbook of Infant Mental Health (pp.450–67). New York: Guilford.
516 Goldberg, S. (2000) Attachment and Development. London: Routledge, p.248. By way of comparison, consider the use of popular forums even for scholarly debates between specialists in evolutionary psychology in the 1990s. Cassidy, A. (2005) Popular evolutionary psychology in the UK: an unusual case of science in the media? Public Understanding of Science, 14(2), 115–41. The marked contrast between attachment research and evolutionary psychology in this regard has been noted by Granqvist, P. (2020) Attachment, Religion, and Spirituality: A Wider View. New York: Guilford.
517 Bourdieu, P. (1975) The specificity of the scientific field and the social conditions of the progress of reason. Social Science Information, 14(6), 19–47; Bourdieu, P. (2004) The Science of Science and Reflexivity, trans. R. Nice. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. For equivalent processes in another area of the social sciences see Turner, S.P. (2012) De-intellectualizing American sociology: a history, of sorts. Journal of Sociology, 48(4), 346–63.