Cultural and historical diversity in early relationship formation
|AMERICAN; ATTACHMENT; Ecocultural theory; ethnotheories; infancy; INFANTS; NEEDS; PREDICTORS; Psychology; Psychology, Developmental; socialization goals; TRANSMISSION; VALUES
|ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
|EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF DEVELOPMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY
Attachment theory has been challenged as representing exclusively Western middle class child care philosophy. In particular, the conception of a single, primary adult caregiver does not correspond with the reality of many early child care patterns worldwide. Different models of care that have been identified and described by cultural anthropologists, cultural and cross-cultural psychologists over the last decades are presented. It is apparent that in many cultural communities children and grandparents are significant caretakers and attachment figures. Caregiving is adapted to the sociocultural environments in which children are born and raised to become competent adults. Sociocultural environments also change over historical time, especially with respect to the amount of formal schooling and, as a corollary, maternal age at first birth, the number of children in the household, and household composition. In the second part of the paper, sociodemographic changes in different cultural environments are documented. Concomitant changes in socialization goals and socialization strategies involving babies are presented; these involve comparing different generations (mothers and grandmothers), and different cohorts over historical time. In the discussion the interplay between change and continuity as related constructs for understanding human development and well-being is considered, along with how universality and cultural/historical specificity co-exist in early relationship formation and thus attachment.
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