Mary Ainsworth

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  • Mary Ainsworth
    • 1. Mary Ainsworth is a colleague of John Bowlby. She was very intrested in the individual differences in attachment types between caregiver and child
    • 2. She moves to Uganda in 1950's  where she conducted her Ganda study investigated mother and child relationships in 6 different villages
    • 3. She visited 26 mothers and their infants regularly over many months, observing them for several hours at a time.
    • 4. She noticed the truth in bowlbys theory of the mother being a safe base and was able to categorise the relationships into one of three types
      • Secure attached
        • Children were generally contented and pacified by the presence of their mother, using her as a safe base
      • Insecurely attached
        • Children were less inclined to explore and cried frequently, even when with the mother
      • Not yet attached
        • Children were indifferent to the presence of their mother
    • 5. She found that securely attached children had mothers who enjoyed breastfeeding and enjoyed the company of their children
      • She called this Maternal sensitivity, as the mother responded to the infant's need to create a secure attachment
    • 6. When she returned to America in 1995 she did a similar study in Baltimore of 26 families
      • She visited mothers and their children for up to four hours at a time, interviewing them and making detailed notes during her observations
      • Her results were similar to Ganda study, in that secure attachments could be found when mothers found contact with their children satisfying and they respond positively to their needs


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