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AINSWORTH'S STRANGE SITUATION PROCEDURE: THE ORIGIN OF AN INSTRUMENT

AINSWORTH'S STRANGE SITUATION PROCEDURE: THE ORIGIN OF AN INSTRUMENT The American‐Canadian psychologist Mary Ainsworth (1913–1999) developed the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) to measure mother‐child attachment and attachment theorists have used it ever since. When Ainsworth published the first results of the SSP in 1969, it seemed a completely novel and unique instrument. However, in this paper we will show that the SSP had many precursors and that the road to such an instrument was long and winding. Our analysis of hitherto little‐known studies on children in strange situations allowed us to compare these earlier attempts with the SSP. We argue that it was the combination of Ainsworth's working experience with William Blatz and John Bowlby, her own research in Uganda and Baltimore, and the strong connection of the SSP with attachment theory, that made the SSP differ enough from the other strange situation studies to become one of the most widely used instruments in developmental psychology today. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences Wiley

AINSWORTH'S STRANGE SITUATION PROCEDURE: THE ORIGIN OF AN INSTRUMENT

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
ISSN
0022-5061
eISSN
1520-6696
DOI
10.1002/jhbs.21729
pmid
25990818
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The American‐Canadian psychologist Mary Ainsworth (1913–1999) developed the Strange Situation Procedure (SSP) to measure mother‐child attachment and attachment theorists have used it ever since. When Ainsworth published the first results of the SSP in 1969, it seemed a completely novel and unique instrument. However, in this paper we will show that the SSP had many precursors and that the road to such an instrument was long and winding. Our analysis of hitherto little‐known studies on children in strange situations allowed us to compare these earlier attempts with the SSP. We argue that it was the combination of Ainsworth's working experience with William Blatz and John Bowlby, her own research in Uganda and Baltimore, and the strong connection of the SSP with attachment theory, that made the SSP differ enough from the other strange situation studies to become one of the most widely used instruments in developmental psychology today.

Journal

Journal of the History of the Behavioral SciencesWiley

Published: Jul 1, 2015

References