The way an infant is treated by caregivers has a profound influence on their development

A painstakingly detailed approach to measuring the qualities of the parent-child relationship, which follows directly from Bowlby and Ainsworth’s observations and has been enabled by advances in video-film technology, was undertaken by the innovative work of the ‘baby watchers’, including Edward Tronick and Beatrice Beebe. Edward Tronick’s impressive work on the timing and quality of motherinfant interactions highlighted how even the securely attached dyad doesn’t get it right 100% of the time. In fact the rate of misattunement observed in lab-based interactions, when things are ‘as good as they get’, is more like 50%! (see Stern 1985). From this can be understood that ‘normal’ social interactions involve children in interactions with caregivers in the confident hope of being understood, and the understanding of how reparation may be achieved if one feels misunderstood. It may be that the working through of the mismatches provides an essential ingredient for becoming securely attached; i.e., the infant or child is provoked to find a strategy for bringing the caregiver back into a focused interaction and from this learns (consciously and mainly unconsciously) what works and what doesn’t. This may be the essential ingredient for a sense of inner confidence, cohesion, and attachment security. For those parent-infant pairs for whom the mismatches are simply too frequent and/or too intense, the frustration may simply be too great and they are provoked to give up on the search for attunement. In these instances we can see that defensive manoeuvres get built up relatively quickly (i.e., by 9 months of age) that help protect against the pain of overwhelming and misattuned interactions.

由于视频电影技术的进步,一个精心详细的测量亲子关系质量的方法,随着BowlbyAinsworth的观察推出,由“宝贝守望者”这项创新工作来承担,Edward TronickBeatrice Beebe也参与此项工作。Edward Tronick对母婴互动的时机与质量进行工作和研究,令人印象深刻。他强调安全的连接配对不会总是百分之百地发生。事实上,在实验观察中,当一切看起来很好,而协调失败的比率却超过了50%!(see Stern 1985)。从这里我们明白了,为何“正常”的社会互动包括孩子与照顾者的互动,都希望被对方理解,及当误解发生时我们又应当如何来修复。很有可能,通过对不匹配部分的工作,才为安全依恋提供了基本的组成部分。也就是说,婴儿或孩子被激发去寻找把照顾者带回到互动中的策略,并从中学习(有意识的,主要是无意识的)哪些是有效的,哪些是无用的。这可能是内在信心,凝聚力和依恋安全感的基本成分。对那些不匹配太过频繁和激烈的母婴而言,挫折可能太过巨大,使得他们放弃了对协调的尝试。在这种情况下,我们可以看到,防御策略比较快地被建立(9个月的月龄),用以抵抗难以承受的不协调互动带来的痛苦。


Beatrice Beebe and her colleagues have been able to carefully calibrate the sophisticated minutiae of the pre-linguistic interactions between mothers and their infants. In a recent monograph Jaffe et al. (2001) highlight how they were able to predict infant-mother attachment classifications from assessments of ‘rhythmic coupling’ in 88 4-month-old infants. By looking at the features of these conversations in terms of such constructs as ‘turn taking, joining, yielding and tracking’ they were able to define mother-infant attunement in an empirically robust manner. That these observations at 4 months predict joyous responses to mother, following separation (in the Strange Situation), at 12 months is highly suggestive of how early mother-child interaction patterns contribute to the building up of the child’s inner world (or internal working model), including representations of self and others. Jaffe and colleagues appear to have captured the actual experiences which contribute to the building up in the child’s mind of an enduring sense of what it feels like to be in, what to bring to, and what to expect from, relationships. Increasingly, developmental research is able to distinguish between normative mother-infant interaction and mild to major disturbances in this core relationship system.

Beatrice Beebe和她的同事们已经能够很仔细地去测量母亲与婴儿之间前语言互动的微妙细节。在Jaffe等人(2001)最近的专著中,重点强调了他们如何通过评估4个月大的婴儿“节奏配对”,来预测母婴依恋分类。通过观察对话中诸如“轮流、加入、妥协和跟随”的这些结构特征,他们用实证方式来解释母婴协调。这些观察,在4个月时预测了孩子对母亲的愉悦反应,接下来的分离反应(陌生情境实验),在12个月时高度提示了早期母婴互动模式对建立孩子的内在世界(或内部工作模型),以及对自我和他者的表征有多么重要的作用。Jaffe和同事似乎已经抓住了实际经验是如何在孩子的心中建立起一种持久感觉的,怎样的感觉是在关系中,怎样是进入到关系,怎样是在期待关系。逐渐地,发展研究能够识别出核心关系系统中,正常的母婴互动和轻度到重度障碍。


One of the most creative and clinically relevant discoveries in the world of attachment research emerged from a pre-eminent centre of attachment research, i.e. the Social Development Lab, run by Mary Main and Erik Hesse, in Berkeley, California. Main, a purveyor of ingenious methodological innovations, observed that some of the infants she was trying to classify in the original Strange Situation system simply did not fit. They appeared not to have an organised strategy for dealing with the stresses the paradigm engendered and so she described this group as having a disorganised classification (Main and Solomon 1990). The infant displaying a disorganised pattern appeared to view the parent as frightening (Main and Hesse 1990), suggesting the infant was uncertain of which behaviour would be appropriate in the presence of the parent—sometimes showing avoidance, other times resistance, perhaps attending more closely to the stranger than the parent upon reunion, and/or demonstrating extreme self-protective gestures such as covering the face, lying prostrate or maintaining a frozen posture. This bemused stance runs counter to the child’ s inner striving for integration and security and cannot long be maintained by the infant. As Main and Hesse describe, the attachment figure ‘is at once the source of and the solution to its alarm’, (Main and Hesse 1990:163). The incidence of disorganisation in the population as a whole ranges from 10% to 15%, while in populations where levels of risk to the parent-child relationship, i.e. child maltreatment are high, parental psychopathology not surprisingly increases the risk to up to 90% (Lyons-Ruth and Jacobovitz 1999). The clue for this disorganised pattern was sought in home observations of maternal behaviour.

在世界依恋研究中,一项与临床相关的发现极有创造性,它发生于一家卓越的依恋研究中心,即位于加利福利亚伯克利的社会发展实验室,由Mary MainErik Hesse运营。Main提供了一个巧妙的创新方法,发现有一些婴儿无法与原来的陌生情境系统的分类相匹配。他们似乎没有一个全面的策略来应对出现的这个模式,所以她把这一组描述为混乱依恋(MainSolomon 1990)。婴儿呈现的混乱状态似乎把父母当作了一个令人恐怖的对象(MainHesse 1990),表明婴儿不确定,哪些是现场父母适当的行为,所以婴儿有时表现出回避,有时又抗拒,有时可能在与父母重聚时表现出对陌生人更加亲近,和/或表现出极端自我保护的姿势,如把手盖在脸上,伏卧或维持一个僵硬的姿势。这种困惑的立场,与孩子内在追求整合与安全背道而驰,不能被婴儿长久地保持。正如MainHesse所描述,依恋对象,“是面对紧急状态时的力量来源,可以立即提供解决方案。” (MainHesse 1990:163)。混乱依恋在一般人群中的发生率在10%15%的范围内,在有亲子关系问题如儿童虐待的风险水平高的人群中或者父母有精神病理性问题的情况下这个比率毫无意外的增加到90%(Lyons-RuthJacobovitz 1999)。这种混乱依恋模式的线索是在母亲行为的家庭观察中发现的。


Careful home observations of mothers and their infant were coded along guidelines suggested by Main and Hesse (1995) for frightened or frightening behaviour. In the United States Jacobovitz pioneered this fieldwork (see Lyons-Ruth and Jacobovitz 1999), while Dutch colleagues Schuengel et al. (1999) also sought and found correlations between maternal frightening behaviour and disorganised infant-mother strategies. Notably, Karlen Lyons-Ruth and colleagues expanded the set of potentially frightening behaviours observed between mothers and babies to find that extreme parental misattunement to the specific content of an infant’s attachment-related communication, and the display of competing caregiving strategies that both elicited and rejected infant attachment affects and behaviours, contributed to disorganised attachment (see Lyons-Ruth and Jacobovitz 1999). It is clear from these independent research endeavours that observable connections exist between parents’ actual behaviour and attachment classification of disorganisation, but actually capturing the behaviour is not at all easy.

MainHesse (1995)提出,将家庭观察中,母婴互动间恐惧或可怕的行为编写进指导手册。Jacobovitz在美国率先开展现场工作(see Lyons-RuthJacobovitz 1999),同时荷兰的Schuengel等人(1999)致力于寻求发现母亲的可怕行为和混乱的母婴依恋策略之间的相互关系。值得注意的是,Karlen Lyons-Ruth和他的同事们扩展了母婴之间潜在可怕行为的观察,去发现父母对婴儿依恋交流具体内容中极端的协调失误。一些相互矛盾的看护策略,是导致混乱依恋的罪魁祸首,如既引诱又拒绝婴儿的依恋情感和行为(Lyons-RuthJacobovitz 1999)


To say that the actual behaviour of parents toward children is important highlights what most of us, even the man in the street, might be able to tell you. However, historically many analysts have suggested that the focus of clinical energies must be upon fantasy. To this, Bowlby said ‘No’. He refuted this point by saying as clinicians we need to know as far as is possible what probably happened to a particular child because we would intervene differently depending on what we know about the child’s actual experience. For example, a child who ties up doll figures during a therapy session needs to be considered as someone who may have experienced being tied up. And, if this is the case, we need to respond differently from a situation where the idea of being physically constrained stems from a neurotic circumstance involving an intrusive mother who has helped provoke this kind of fantasy in her child.



In work with adoptive parents of children who faced severe adversity in the form of physical, sexual, and emotional abuse one can often hear the adoptive parent’s disbelief when they report how when they have wished to provide an experience of fun or affection they have been met with rejection, spoiling or even fear. For some of these children, the enduring representations of caregivers who maltreat and abuse break through and the need to provoke the new caregiver into behaving in the familiar pattern is unrelenting. Other adopters of the newly placed older child comment on how shocked they have been when a body movement, such as reaching across the table for the salt, provokes cowering and discernible fear in the child. It takes adults some minutes to figure out how their seemingly benign behaviour may prompt a terrified response.



The powerful influence of actual behaviour by caregivers has been richly documented in the ethological literature to which Bowlby was greatly indebted. The work of primate researcher Stephen Suomi has offered stimulating data on the way in which variations in the early attachment histories of rhesus monkeys can have lifelong consequences. For example, when rhesus monkeys are reared for the first 6 months of life in the company of same-age peers, but not adults, strong bonds form amongst the peers. However, because the peers are not as effective as a secure base, in the way an adult mother would be, the attachment relationships with the peers are of an ‘anxious’ nature (Suomi 1991). While in familiar environments, these peer-reared monkeys cannot be distinguished from mother-reared ones; however, when faced with a novel situation they are much more timid, show more aggression and when followed into maturity are much less able to show adequate care to their own offspring.

照顾者实际行为的强大影响力已经被丰富地记载进了行为学文献中,Bowlby从这里受益颇多。Stephen Suomi对灵长类动物的研究工作提供了令人兴奋的资料,发生在恒河猴早期依恋史的变化将对其造成终生影响。例如,恒河猴在出生后的头六个月,与同一年龄段的同伴一起被饲养,而不是被在群体中形成牢固连接的成年猴喂养。由于同龄的恒河猴无法如成年母亲一样提供有效的安全基地,所以它们的依恋关系将会出现“焦虑”的特质。在熟悉的环境中,那些与同伴一起被饲养的猴子,与由母亲喂养的猴子相比,并没有显著的不同。但是,当面临一个全新的环境时,它们更胆小,更具侵略性,在成熟之后,不能给予自己的后代足够的照顾。


Other innovative studies by Suomi have examined the consequences of fosterreared monkeys. Foster-reared monkeys with difficult temperaments but whose unrelated mothers were especially nurturant had positive long-term developmental outcomes where they were able to adeptly recruit support from their group members and even rose to the very top of their social group’s dominance hierarchy. These were contrasted with the monkeys with difficult temperaments who, raised by punitive foster mothers, develop ‘insecure attachments and subsequently display extreme reactions to environmental novelty and stress and end up at the bottom of their group’s dominance hierarchy. Interestingly, monkeys with an easy temperament seem less affected by the quality of mothering (Suomi 1995). A similar finding as to the importance of context was shown to be critical in a study by Werner and Smith (1982), who found that in their study of high- and low-risk families good parenting was unrelated to child outcome in the low-risk families but critical in the high-risk families.

Suomi其他创新研究评估了寄养对恒河猴的影响。性格脾气不太好的寄养猴,但如果他的养母特别善于养育,在长期发展中他将有积极的获益,他能够巧妙地获得团体成员的支持,甚至爬到他们的社会群体统治阶层的顶端。存在明显差异的是,同样性格脾气不太好的猴子,被惩罚性的养母养育,将会发展出“不安全”依恋,在随后陌生和压力环境下呈现出极端化的反应,最终位于他们群体中统治阶层的底部。有趣的是,性格脾气比较好的猴子,似乎受母亲品质的影响较小。(Suomi 1995)类似的发现也出现在WernerSmith (1982)的研究中,即环境的重要性是非常关键的。他们在研究中发现,低风险家庭中好父母对孩子的成长相关性不是太大,但在高风险家庭中,好父母就非常关键了。


To sum up on the documented importance of actual experiences with caregivers, there are fascinating interactions with the emotional characteristics or temperament of the infant. This has interesting implications for our understanding of the way in which resilience, and the related capacity to reflect on relationships, are facilitated. It might well be that the origins of healthy psychic development are to be found not simply in the count of attuned or misattuned interactions, but in the sequence of connection, misconnection or disconnection followed by repair and restoration of the interaction. The infant who experiences losing and regaining his balance is less likely to tumble badly in the future.


These suggestions about the immense value of compensatory experiences in the midst of or following adversity are consistent with clinical observational reports (Hopkins 1996), developmental research on temperament and attachment (Crockenberg, 1981; van den Boom 1994) and epidemiological findings (e.g. Rutter et al. 1990). Hopkins highlights the risks of too good as well as not good enough mothering, in addition to the potential for mothers to turn things around and embrace the joy, and tolerate the frustration, of being just good enough! Crockenberg’s classic study demonstrated that highly irritable, easily overwhelmed, newborns may well be prone to develop insecure attachments (as earlier research suggested) but only if the mother has experienced a low level of social support over the first year. Relatedly, van den Boom’s well-controlled study provided strong evidence that a brief therapeutic intervention in the middle of the first year of life can help a highly irritable newborn become a securely attached infant at 1 year. While Rutter et al. show that early severe relationship adversity is unlikely to lead to ongoing psychosocial problems for women who succeeded at school, developed effective planning strategies relating to work and life, and correspondingly established and maintained a satisfying marital relationship.


在逆境之中或未来面临逆境时,补偿性经验具有巨大价值,这些发现与临床观察报告(Hopkins 1996),气质和依恋的发展研究(Crockenberg1981van den Boom 1994)及流行病学研究结果(如Rutter等人. 1990)是一致的。Hopkins强调太好的母亲与不足够好的母亲一样都有风险,除非母亲有潜力扭转乾坤拥抱快乐,并忍受挫折,这就是足够好的母亲!Crockenberg的经典研究表明,只有母亲在第一年非常缺乏系统支持时,容易急躁和崩溃的新生儿,才会发展出不安全依恋(如早期的研究显示)。与此相关地,van den Boom的对照研究提供了有力的证据,在生命的第一年中,一个短暂的治疗干预可以帮助一个非常急躁的新生儿成为一个安全依恋的婴幼儿。而Rutter等人表明,对女性而言,如果她在学校表现出色,在工作生活中都发展出有效的规划策略,并相对地建立和保持了一个满意的婚姻关系的话,早期困难关系的逆境,并不一定会导致心理问题的继续发展。

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