ERIC Number: ED130772
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1976-Sep
Reference Count: 0
Maternal Attachment to Infants During the Postnatal Period.
Jones, Freda A.
This paper presents an overview of the literature on mother-infant attachment behavior. Attachment is defined by Ainsworth as involving affection, discrimination, observable behavior, active participation by both parties, and reciprocal response. The process of attachment is seen by Stone, Smith, and Murphy as taking place in three stages over the first year of the infant's life. In the first stage the baby is "addicted" to social objects. In the second stage the infant distinguishes its mother from others and responds to her selectively. In the third stage the child realizes that the mother is different and develops stranger anxiety. Recent investigations on the maternal component of attachment indicate that there is a period shortly after birth that is most important to mother-to-infant attachment. This critical period has been observed in animals. Common maternal behavior in postnatal contact has been observed in humans. Bowlby has posited that the instinctual responses of infants evoke maternal behaviors in the mother. Ainsworth identified patterns of behavior in infants which seemed to mediate attachment. Harlow's research with infant rhesus monkeys supported the importance of social and emotional contact. The post partum separation of mothers and infants in hospitals that began in the United States at the turn of the century has become the subject of recent studies. The effects of separation on the mother have been measured in terms of behavioral responsiveness to the infant during an interaction event, such as nursing. Implications of this research into the importance of post partum interaction are discussed. (Author/SB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Filmed from best available copy; Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychological Association (84th, Washington, D. C., September 3-7, 1976)