established that individuals have an inborn instinct to attach to their caregivers

It is well established that individuals have an inborn instinct to attach to their caregivers. Even though there is a universal component to attachment, however, does not mean that attachment patterns look the same across cultures. Different cultures approach the care of and interaction with infants differently, which is also deeply shaped by a wide array of culturally held values. For example, individualistic cultures tend to value independence in their children. As you explored in Week 2, this value of independence is a factor in why many Western infants sleep alone in their own rooms. The importance of this value of independence can also be seen with respect to attachment patterns. Specifically, German babies are more likely to be classified with avoidant attachments because of the strong value of independence in that culture (Grossman, Grossmann, Spangler, Suess, & Unzner, 1985; Colin, 1996). This contrasts with the attachment patterns of a cultural group in Mali, Africa, called the Dogon people. No avoidant attachment has been identified between infants and their mothers, as those mothers tend to keep their babies close, co-sleep, and nurse frequently when their babies are tired, distressed, or hungry (True, Pisani, & Oumar, 2001).

Taken together, these factors lead to different cultural patterns of attachment. In this Discussion, you look specifically in the scholarly literature to identify two cultures and compare and contrast their attachment patterns. For many of you, this may be your second look at cross-cultural attachment patterns after having explored the topic in DPSY 6112/8111: Themes and Theories of Developmental Psychology. Consider how your knowledge of attachment has changed or grown since then and use that perspective to inform your responses here.

To Prepare:

  • Conduct a library search for scholarly articles that examine cross-cultural differences in caregiver-infant attachment.
  • Based on what you found, choose two cultures that interest you.
  • How do attachment patterns vary between the two cultures, and how are they similar?
By Day 4

Post a brief description of the two cultures you selected. Then, summarize the caregiver-infant attachment patterns that are found in each culture, explaining similarities and differences between the two cultures. Explain which cultural values or practices account for these attachment patterns and the implications the patterns have for individuals. Be specific and provide examples.

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