Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Harry Freeman

Second Advisor

Dr. Angela Helmer

Third Advisor

Dr. Lana Svien


Normative Attachment Formation, Institutional Care, Orphanage Care, Indiscriminate Friendliness, Peer to Peer Attachment

Subject Categories

Developmental Psychology | Psychology


Attachment bonds are assumed to exist in nearly all non-institutional settings (Bowlby, 1958, 1983), with strength of the attachment being the most significant variable. However, these attachments may not have the opportunity to form when caregiver presence is inconsistent. This often occurs within orphanages or other institutional settings (Dozier & Rutter, 2008). In the current study the author observed behaviors among infants, caregivers, and external figures within an Ecuadorian orphanage over a six week period. Minimal requirements for attachment within institutional care were explored through qualitative analysis of these observations. In this particular orphanage, although physical, structural, and immediate emotional needs were largely met, infants did not express behaviors typical of children who have formed attachment relationships. The formation of attachment, therefore, may be more strongly associated with the consistent presence of specified caregivers and caregiver exclusivity than the quality of the care received.



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