Culture and Attachment : Perceptions of the Child in Context book cover
1st Edition

Culture and Attachment
Perceptions of the Child in Context

  • This format cannot be shipped to your selected country.
ISBN 9781572302464
Published October 13, 1997 by Guilford Press
169 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Examining attachment from the perspective of culture, and evaluating two different cultures from the vantage point of mothers' perceptions of attachment behavior, this book provides a unique view of desirable child behavior and long-term socialization goals among Anglo and Puerto Rican mothers of infants and toddlers. The authors integrate in-depth interviews with quantitative methods to shed light on variations both between cultures and among different socioeconomic groups within each culture, while at the same time delineating coherent conceptual frameworks that can be used to guide future research.

Table of Contents

1. Attachment Theory and Its Role in the Study of Human
2. Child Development and Theories of Culture.
3. Studying Culture and Attachment: A Symbolic Approach.
4. Images of the Child: Autonomy and Relatedness.
5. Images of the Child: Respect and Affection.
6. Culture and Socioeconomic Status.
7. Attachment, Culture, and Behavior.
Appendix: Vignettes of Strange Situation Behavior Used in Study 2. References.

View More



Robin L. Harwood, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor at the University of Connecticut at Storrs in the Department of Human Development and Family Relations. She currently has a grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue her studies of culture and attachment.

Joan G. Miller, Ph.D., is on the faculty in the Psychology Department at Yale University. She has published extensively in the field of cross-cultural moral reasoning.

Nydia Lucca Irizarry, Ed.D., is Professor at the University of Puerto Rico in the Department of Education. She completed her doctoral work at Harvard University in the School of Education.


[This volume] provides a thoughtful and original consideration of research on cultural differences in mothers' goals for their toddlers' competent interpersonal relations, especially in terms of mother-child relations. It gives a valuable overview of theoretical approaches to culture and psychology as well as to the empirical literature on culture and attachment. In addition, it offers important data and analysis of cultural views emphasizing development of individuation and relatedness for Anglo-American mothers and emphasizing becoming involved and responsible participants in the community for Puerto Rican mothers, of varying social classes. The bottom line is that mothers' interpretation of toddlers' behavior and goals for their children's social relations involve anticipation of what is required for success in their own community. --Barbara Rogoff, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz

The authors address the very important issue, `How is the attachment relationship both universal and culturally shaped?' They provide an important perspective and data to support the understudied idea that the early relationship between parent and infant shows both similarities and differences due to cultural variations. The uniqueness of this volume is the authors' message that attachment behaviors provide a rich perspective from which to study and understand cultural meaning systems. Through this work done across cultures, we are provided with a new and more meaningful understanding of alternative models of normative development and ways to conceptualize socioemotional development. The book is highly recommended for students of child development, sociology, and other social sciences to learn more about cultural variations in the attachment relationship and what such early socioemotional development may tell us about the meanings of behaviors with and across cultures. --Joy D. Osofsky, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry, Louisana State University Medical Center, New Orleans

In attachment theory, a universal status has been attributed to the primary attachment relationship between infants and their parents. Each infant is assumed to be genetically biased to display attachment behaviors towards a protective adult, irrespective of social class or culture. In Culture and Attachment, the authors emphasize the importance of studying the symbolic meaning of attachment in addition to its behavioral manifestation. In elaborating the parental perceptions of attachment behaviors they open up new ways of interpreting and conceptualizing the relation between attachment and culture. A secure child in the U.S. shows the same behavioral pattern as a secure child in Puerto Rico, but parents from both cultures appreciate the infants' security for completely different reasons. Through extensive quotes from interviews with U.S. and Puerto Rican mothers the authors illustrate the universality as well as the culturally specific dimensions of attachment. Their combination of developmental and anthropological insights and methods enables the authors to contribute in a unique way to the emerging discipline of cultural psychology. --Marinus H. van IJzendoorn, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Center for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands
Useful and thought-provoking for readers with a focused interest in relationships between children and their caretakers across diverse populations as well as for those readers more broadly interested in the interplay of cultural meaning systems, socialization goals, and individual development and functioning.
--Disability Studies Quarterly, 4/20/1997