Everything on the Edexcel Psychology Child Approach

  • Created by: Maria
  • Created on: 14-05-10 15:29

Child Psychology –

Child psychology is the study of the development of individuals from birth to adulthood. Research is often conducted into how childhood experiences affect our development in later life. Attachment theories are often studied, and the effect of no attachment or broken attachment is studied and aimed to be resolved.

Definitions –


A bond based on mutual trust and affection including any form of behaviour which results in a person attaining or retaining proximity to some other differentiated and preferred individual, usually perceived as stronger and / or wiser. It is a survival mechanism passed down through evolution and typically occurs between mother and child.


Occurs when an already formed attachment is broken either in the short or long term. Deprivation occurs every time the child is separated from his or her mother or main care giver. For example, when a child goes to school, deprivation is experienced. Bowlby stated that deprivation could have severe long term consequences.


Occurs when no attachment is ever formed between carer and child. Feral children are seen as privated. Privation is thought to have devastating consequences for the child which may never be resolved. Genie was seen as a privated child.


The advancement of a species through survival of the fittest. Any mechanism which aids the survival of an organism can be passed down through the genes; those organisms with the survival mechanism will survive and breed and thus continue the mechanism, those without the survival mechanism will die before passing on their traits. Attachment is seen as having an evolutionary basis.


Any situation where a child is looked after by anyone other than his or her parents / main carer. Daycare can be seen as a form of short term deprivation and there is debate over whether it is harmful or beneficial for the child.

Separation Anxiety:

The process which child and carer go through when they are separated from each other. The child experiences separation anxiety on a greater scale than the carer. First, protest occurs when the child cries to get the carer’s attention. Second, despair occurs where the protest behaviours become more severe. Finally, detachment occurs where the child ceases all crying and continues as normal, although they are detached from the outside world.

Research Methods –

Naturalistic Observation:

· Naturalistic observations take place in the child’s natural settings. As with most observations, they can gather qualitative or quantitative data and can be either covert, overt, participant or non-participant. Naturalistic observations are used with an aim to studying ‘real’ behaviour, either to help a child develop appropriate behaviour or to research their behaviour. Naturalistic observations can take place in the child’s school, home or when with their peers. Time sampling is a technique which is often used in naturalistic observations – chunks of time are allocated and a researcher will record what happens in that time frame. This helps build a more widespread picture of what is happening.

· Data from naturalistic observations…




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Frank Wyatt


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