Mary Ainsworth - psychologist, who made a big impact on Bowlby's Attachment Theory. She had definitely modified and improved this theory by providing most famous research which explained the individual differences of newborns in attachment.
While Bowlby is called the father of Attachment theory, Ainsworth could definately be named a mother of Attachment theory.
Mary Dinsmore Salter Ainsworth (December 1, 1913 – March 21, 1999) was an American-Canadian developmental psychologist known for her work in early emotional attachment with "Strange Situation" as well as her work in the development of Attachment Theory.
|Mary Ainsworth’s biography and career summary|
|1. Mary Ainsworth was born in Glendale, Ohio, in December of 1913.|
|2. At age fifteen, Ainsworth read William McDougall's book entitled Character and the Conduct of Life, which inspired her to become a psychologist|
|3. Ainsworth earned her BA in 1935, her Master's degree in 1936, and her PhD in developmental psychology in 1939, all from the University of Toronto|
|4. She joined the Canadian Women's Army Corp in 1942.|
|5. In 1950, she married Leonard Ainsworth and moved to London.|
|6. Soon Ainsworth began a research position at the Tavistock Clinic with John Bowlby, where she studied maternal-infant attachments.|
|7. In 1954 Leonard Ainsworth accepted a job at the East African Institute of Social Research in Kampala, Uganda.|
|8. 2 years later Ainsworth returned to US to teach at John Hopkins. She began working on creating an assessment to measure attachments between mothers and children. It was here that she developed her famous "Strange Situation" assessment.|
|9. Mary Ainsworth moved from Johns Hopkins to the University of Virginia in 1975. She died in 1999.|
Mary Ainsworth developed a test known as the Strange Situation test, which has now become a standard test for researching infants' respond to a slightly stressful situation.
The Strange Situation developed by Mary Ainsworth has become one of the most commonly used procedures in child development research.
*The whole test lasts around twenty minutes.
*The test is administered to infants aged between 12 and 24 months.
The purpose of this test is to study child's respond to stress when mother leaves and then child's ability to calm down and continue exploring. Therefore, there are 4 key elements of behavior that help determine the child's attachment type.
The results are finalized according to the responses of these questions:
Special attention is paid to how the infant responds to the mother on her return.
According to the child's behavior in this test there are 4 attachment styles categorized to determine how secure/unsecure is infant.
Here is comic caricature of what does child think during strange situations (when he has secure attachment with his mother).
According to the study, the children who have a secure attachment by 12 months they will have:
Ainsworth, M. and Bowlby, J. (1965). Child Care and the Growth of Love.
Ainsworth, M. (1967). Infancy in Uganda.
Ainsworth, M., Blehar, M., Waters, E., & Wall, S. (1978). Patterns of Attachment.
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