The Importance Of Deprivation Of Infant And Young Children

Submitted By mszgrace
Words: 670
Pages: 3

Researchers have found ample evidence which strongly discourages deprivation of infants and young children from a primary caregiver. In the early 20th century, people began noticing increased mortality rates of children living in an institution facility. The problem was so severe that the term hospitalism, or failure to thrive, was coined to describe the deaths of these children. Children who lived in these institutions were found to also have symptoms of depression and lost hope. When people began to search for the cause of these heartbreaking events, they suspected malnutrition and infection. However, the groundbreaking work of researcher Rene Spitz documented infants in a Mexican foundling home in film and proved that excellent nutrition, medical care, and hygienic attention did not in fact change symptom manifestation. Although his research began stacking the building blocks to the answer of what was really going on, Spitz’s research was received with intense harsh criticism by his peers.
A psychoanalyst named David Levy made a report of a girl named Anna who was adopted at age 6. Her adoptive parents found her to be incapable of real affection and felt emotionally distant from her even after living with Anna for one and a half years. Levy found that children who bounced from place to place then subsequently adopted shared similar features of lack of affection and behavior problems. Unfortunately, these symptoms didn’t respond to psychotherapy and these children continued to have these personality traits past adulthood. Loretta Bender from the Bellevue Hospital at New York similarly found that children who were placed in the new Child Psychiatric Service were without organic deficits who were behaviorally disturbed came from two major adoption agencies. Although these agencies provided excellent care, the children received little social contact and were given no toys to play with. Consequently, the children become indiscriminately affectionate or lacked attachment and couldn’t adjust to their new homes, regardless of the welcoming new parents.
The person who really paved the way towards change in attitudes towards early attachment was John Bowlby. His 44 Juvenile Thieves study examined a group of delinquent children who showed symptoms of emotional aloofness and difficulty connecting with others. These children were all found to have experienced maternal deprivation or separation in their early years. These results led to Bowlby writing a World Health Organization Report regarding the importance of early maternal care (which was a term that included all genders and ages). Bowlby was finally able to combine works of earlier researchers, such as Spitz, Levy, and Bender who were essentially finding the same results. Bowlby’s World Health Organization Report jumpstarted the change in public policy on adoption, social work, and hospital