Cultural Variations in Attachment
Describe and evaluate research into
cultural variations in attachment.
• Did you go to nursery?
• Have you ever been looked after by an older
brother or sister or family member outside of
your main caregivers?
• ‘Children must remain with their mothers for the
first six months to be fully bonded with them’ Do
you agree with this statement?
• Do you think that the above statement is practical
in the western world when many are working
• In Kibbutzim, communal farms in Israel, babies
are placed in communal childcare when they are
four days old and cared for by a nurse called a
• Feeding, changing and caring for the baby are the
responsibility of the metapelet, the parents visit
for around 3hrs every day
• When they are around four months old, they
move to another nursery and continue to be
cared for by another nurse
Research study –
using the Strange Situation
• Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg
• Analysed the results of 32 different studies
using 8 different countries using Ainsworth’s
strange situation to look at differences in
attachment between cultures
• 2000+ babies were studied
• Babies were classified using Ainsworth’s A,B or
• See table page 62 of your textbook for results
Main findings of the study
• Type B (secure attachments) were most
common form in all cultures. 50% of Chinese
attachments were secure, 75% in Britain
• Type A (avoidant attachments) were more
common in West Germany more than any
other culture. Very rare in Israel and Japan
• Type C (ambivalent attachments) were more
common in Israel, China and Japan.
But what about within cultures?
• Van Ijzendoorn and Kroonenberg also found
that in their 2 Japanese studies, one had no
type A babies whereas the second had around
• Intra-cultural variation was quite high,
similarly to Ainsworth’s findings
• SO it is important to remember that it is too
simplistic to believe that all children are
reared in the same way in each country
Evaluating the study
• Give one strength and one weakness of the
sample used in the study
• Using the information on page 63 of your
textbook, explain the difference between
individualistic and collectivist cultures and
how this is an evaluative point
• Can we say that it is an ethnocentric piece of
• What is meant by meta-analysis?
How does this information relate to
child rearing methods?
• Research can directly relate to the methods
that a culture uses. Following research into
the kibbutz system in Israel; it was concluded
that the communal sleeping aspect may lead
to ambivalent attachments.
• Many kibbutz nurseries have now changed
their policies and return the babies to the
parents to sleep at night
Plenary – eye on the exam
• What is the most common attachment type
across all cultures?
• Give two examples of how differences in
attachment types reflect child rearing
• What is meant by intra and inter cultural