Maternal Deprivation Research Paper

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Maternal deprivation is a concept that was considered by Bowlby, to lead to adverse effects on the child who experienced it. Maternal deprivation is the interruption/separation between a child and its mother, or a lack of maternal care in early childhood, which may then go on to cause psychological problems in adult life. Bowlby investigated the results of several studies where children had been separated from their mothers and noticed stages that they went through – initially crying and clinging to adults, then their activity diminishes and they cry less often, they then withdraw from social interaction becoming absorbed in their toys and finally if they are picked up, they struggle or cringe away from the adult. Bowlby’s work which he…show more content…
Bowlby saw and recognised the huge importance of mothers love and the need for mother-child contact to be unbroken.
However, the subject of maternal deprivation is a complex and controversial one. Casler, in 1968 came to different conclusions altogether and stated that, ‘the human organism does not need maternal love in order to function normally’. This is quite a shocking statement to read and yet we know that many babies are still separated from their mother and adopted. Whether or not they suffer from that lack of maternal love is perhaps based on individual
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Brown and Harris undertook a study which found in, ‘..a sample of women aged 18-65, loss of mother before the age of 17, either by death or by separation of one year or more, was associated with clinical depression..’ (Loss of parent in childhood and adult psychiatric disorder: the role of lack of adequate parental care: Tirril Harris, George Brown, Anonia Bifulco, 1986).
Since the 1970s, there has been developing criticism of Bowlby’s claims about maternal deprivation.
The adverse effects of separation are due to a range of causes and not just maternal deprivation; any linguistic and intellectual debilitation is most likely to be due to a lack of linguistic and environmental stimulation rather than a breakdown of the mother-infant relationship; and
Hetherington (1982) suggests that the mother-infant relationship is not unique based on the fact that children who experienced divorce and lived with the parent they had a particularly good relationship with (regardless of gender) were protected from the worst effects of marriage breakdown.
It is clear that society has evolved to create more likelihood of separation between mother and infant in many ways – mothers give birth in hospitals especially in western society, this can lead
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