Cultural differences in attachment
Van Ijzendoorn & Kroonenberg 1988
What is culture?
* “Culture is a framework of beliefs and values shared by a group, that influences the perception and interpretation of experiences by individuals within that group, as well as their goals for action and their actions themselves.”.
* Parents' attachment beliefs, values, and practices differ around the world.
Although the attachment relationship is universal, parents' attachment beliefs, values, and practices differ around the world.
Abraham Sagi, Marinus Van IJzendoorn & N Koren-Karie (1991) reported on Strange Situation findings from studies in the United States, Israel and Japan. The American results were similar to Ainsworth’s: 71% showing secure attachment, 12% anxious-resistant and 17% anxious-avoidant.
The Israeli findings - from Sagi, Van Ijzendoorn, Ora ...view middle of the document...
(These findings very much replicated Nathan Fox’s 1977 study into infant attachments on kibbutzim.) Sagi, IJzendoorn & Koren-Karie compared kibbutz children who experienced family sleeping arrangements with those who experienced communal sleeping arrangements and found that the children who slept with their family showed the more ‘normal’ attachment patterns.
The Japanese - from Kazuo Miyake, S J Chen & J J Campos (1985) - showed 68% secure and 32% anxious-resistant, in accordance with Takahashi’s findings. (Miyake et al found no anxious-avoidant at all in their samples.)
Sagi, IJzendoorn & Koren-Karie found that only 40% of German infants were securely attached, 49% were anxious-avoidant and 11% anxious-resistant. This supported Grossman, Grossman, Huber & Wartner’s earlier findings and suggests that German culture requires some distance between parents and children - “the ideal is an independent, non-clinging infant who does not make demands on the parents but rather unquestioningly obeys their commands.”
A more recent study by Mary McMahan True, Lelia Pisani & Fadimata Oumar (2001) of the Dogon in West Africa found a complete absence of anxious-avoidant. This was atrributed to the community’s infant care practices which involve responsiveness, constant closeness to mothers and immediate nursing in response to signs of stress.
In 2005 Jin Mi Kyoung compared 87 Korean families with 113 American families, using the Strange Situation. Although there were some notable differences - eg: Korean infants stayed less close to their mothers and explored and, when the mothers returned, they were more likely to get down on the floor and play with their infants - there were a similar proportion of securely-attached children in both cultures.
following on from the important earlier meta-analysis by IJzendoorn & Pieter Kroonenberg -
It could also be argued, from an American point of view, that there was a cultural bias in Ainsworth & Bell’s study as they only looked at middle-class children.