Interplay among behavioral systems: Illustrations from the study of attachment, affiliation, and wariness in young children with Down's syndrome

Dante Cicchetti, Felicisima C. Serafica

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

42 Down's syndrome (DS) children, age 30-42 mo, were seen in M. D. Ainsworth and B. A. Wittig's (1969) "strange situation" to assess the interrelationships among the affiliative, attachment, and fear/wariness behavioral systems. A stranger evoked affiliative behaviors in Ss but also elicited wariness and attachment behaviors. The emergence, sequence, and intensity of these behavioral systems varied with the context and the behaviors of both stranger and mother. The finding that more than one behavioral system was activated suggests that an explanation of social responsiveness must be sufficiently broad and integrative to encompass different but interrelated behavioral systems, with their respective functions and determinants. Despite certain quantitative and qualitative differences, behavioral systems appear to be similarly organized in DS and normal children. It is argued that the behavioral organization manifested by the retarded children supports and extends E. Zigler's (see record 1969-08608-001) "developmental" position. These findings suggest that the DS group constitutes a legitimate target of research for elucidating the processes of normal and deviant development. (43 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-49
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume17
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1981
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • affiliative &
  • attachment &
  • fear responses to strangers, 30-42 mo old Down's syndrome children

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