Powerpoint for Mary Ainsworth’s strange situation.
Ainsworth’s Strange Situation (1970) develops an experimental paradigm to measure attachment. Ainsworth used structured observational research to assess & measure the quality of attachment.
The situation includes the mother leaving the child, for a short while to play with available toys in the presence of a stranger & after separation alone and the reunion when the mother returns to the child.
- Stage 1 – Mother and child enter the playroom
- Stage 2 – The child is encouraged to explore
- Stage 3 – The Stranger – enters and attempts to interact
- Stage 4 – Mothers leaves while the stranger is present
- Stage 5 – Mother enters and the stranger leaves
- Stage 6 – Mothers leaves
- Stage 7 – Stranger returns
- Stage 8 – The Reunion – Mother returns and interacts with child
Children were observed through a one-way mirror.
Ainsworth & Bell (1970) used 4 criteria (separation/ stranger anxiety, reunion behaviour & willingness to explore the room) to classify 100 middle class American infants into 1 of 3 categories.
- 70% Secure
- 15% Avoidant insecure
- 15% Resistant insecure
Therefore most children appeared to be securely attached. The results highlight the importance of early attachment and the mother’s role.