It is well established that individuals have an inborn instinct to attach to their caregivers. Even though there is a universal component to attachment, however, does not mean that attachment patterns look the same across cultures. Different cultures approach the care of and interaction with infants differently, which is also deeply shaped by a wide array of culturally held values. For example, individualistic cultures tend to value independence in their children. As you explored in Week 2, this value of independence is a factor in why many Western infants sleep alone in their own rooms. The importance of this value of independence can also be seen with respect to attachment patterns. Specifically, German babies are more likely to be classified with avoidant attachments because of the strong value of independence in that culture (Grossman, Grossmann, Spangler, Suess, & Unzner, 1985; Colin, 1996). This contrasts with the attachment patterns of a cultural group in Mali, Africa, called the Dogon people. No avoidant attachment has been identified between infants and their mothers, as those mothers tend to keep their babies close, co-sleep, and nurse frequently when their babies are tired, distressed, or hungry (True, Pisani, & Oumar, 2001).
Taken together, these factors lead to different cultural patterns of attachment. In this Discussion, you look specifically in the scholarly literature to identify two cultures and compare and contrast their attachment patterns. For many of you, this may be your second look at cross-cultural attachment patterns after having explored the topic in DPSY 6112/8111: Themes and Theories of Developmental Psychology. Consider how your knowledge of attachment has changed or grown since then and use that perspective to inform your responses here.
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- Conduct a library search for scholarly articles that examine cross-cultural differences in caregiver-infant attachment.
- Based on what you found, choose two cultures that interest you.
- How do attachment patterns vary between the two cultures, and how are they similar?
By Day 4
Post a brief description of the two cultures you selected. Then, summarize the caregiver-infant attachment patterns that are found in each culture, explaining similarities and differences between the two cultures. Explain which cultural values or practices account for these attachment patterns and the implications the patterns have for individuals. Be specific and provide examples.
Bowlby, J. (1982). Attachment (Vol. 1). New York, NY: Basic Books.
Chapter 11, “The Child’s Tie to His Mother: Attachment Behavior” (pp. 198–209)
Chapter 12, “Nature and Function of Attachment Behavior” (pp. 210–234)
Attachment and Loss, Vol. 1: Attachment, 3rd Edition by Bowlby, J. Copyright 1982 by Hachette Books Groups. Reprinted by permission of Hachette Books Groups via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Groh, A. M., Pasco Fearon, R. M., IJzendoorn, M. H. van, Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J., & Roisman, G. I. (2017). Attachment in the early life course: Meta-analytic evidence for its role in socioemotional development. Child Development Perspectives, 11(1), 70–76. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12213
Attachment in the Early Life Course: Meta-Analytic Evidence for Its Role in Socioemotional Development by Groh, Ashley M.; Fearon, R. M. Pasco; IJzendoorn, Marinus H.; Bakermans‐Kranenburg, Marian J.; Roisman, Glenn I., in Child Development Perspectives, Vol. 0/Issue 0. Copyright 2016 by John Wiley & Sons – Journals. Reprinted by permission of John Wiley & Sons – Journals via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Keller, H. (2014). Introduction: Understanding relationships—What we would need to know to conceptualize attachment as the cultural solution of a universal developmental task. In H. Otto & H. Keller (Eds.), Different faces of attachment: Cultural variations on a universal human need (pp. 1–24). New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Different Faces of Attachment: Cultural Variations on a Universal Human Need, by Otto, H.; Keller, H. Copyright 2014 by Cambridge University Press. Reprinted by permission of Cambridge University Press via the Copyright Clearance Center.
Thompson, R. A. (2016). Early attachment and later development: Reframing the questions. In J. Cassidy & P. R. Shaver (Eds.), Handbook of attachment: Theory, research, and clinical applications (3rd ed., pp. 330–348). New York, NY: Guilford Press.
Handbook of Attachment: Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, 3rd Edition by Cassidy, J.; Shaver, P. R. Copyright 2016 by Guilford Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Guilford Publications, Inc. via the Copyright Clearance Center.