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Attachment in the early years
Attachment in the early years

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6 Strange Situation Test

The Strange Situation Test is a standardised assessment of a child’s attachment status, which is normally carried out when a child is aged between 9 and 18 months of age. The following two videos show examples of this method being carried out in the laboratory of the Childhood and Youth Studies Group on The Open University’s Milton Keynes campus.

Making a valid classification of a child’s attachment on the basis of videos such as these is a highly skilled task, requiring extensive training to reach a high degree of accuracy and reliability. For this reason, do not view these videos with an aim of assessing each child’s status. Rather, make use of them to better understand the method and, in particular, the reunion behaviour that is analysed.

Now view the videos below.

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Strange Situation Test 2
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You may be concerned about the ethics of these tests. The protocols that are followed have been developed over many years to minimise and mitigate children’s distress and the two separation episodes are terminated as soon as either the carer or the supervising researcher feels that the stress may become too much for a child to cope with.