Explain the phases in the development of attachment in the early years of life
Attachment is used to describe the relationship between an infant and his or her caregiver. A secure, loving and emotional bond forms the best attachment. The Shaffer (1964) study has helped us to understand the development of attachment through his research on babies. He has identified five key phases and found that the age of onset of specific attachment is at 6 - 9 months old.
Phase 1 - Pre-attachment: Indiscriminate social responsiveness (birth - 2mths).
In this phase the children behave in a friendly manner towards other people. They have minimum ability to discriminate between care-giver and another person. The baby will not show a march preference for social stimuli (such as a smiling face) until near the end of this period.
Phase 2 - Attachment-in-the-making: Recognition of familiar people (2mths - 7mths).
Infants are still generally sociable but there is a difference in behaviour towards the primary care-giver. Infants are still comforted by others without difficulty and show no anxiety towards strangers.
Phase 3 - Specific attachment: Separation protest and stranger anxiety (7mths - 2yrs).
It is this phase when a specific attachment develops, and they are attached to one special person. Infants are reluctant to be put down by the primary care-giver, and delighted when reunited with that person. This displays separation protest. When infant becomes more mobile he begins to display stranger anxiety. An infant will follow the care-giver as that persons provides full love and security. 131
Phase 4 - Multiple attachments (8 mths approximately)
By now the main attachment has formed and the infant begins to form more attachments with a wider range of people, with those who are consistent. However, the quality of attachment is of some debate. Some psychologists adhere to the fact there is still one special attachment which is referred to as...