11 Sep 2022


Diversity and Cultural Factors in Psychology Discussion

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Academic level: University

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Is Secure Attachment a Universal Ideal? 

Culture differs when it comes to the notion of “ideal attachment.” What is ideal in the American culture may not be the same in an African setup. In a secure attachment, infants become distressed when their mother leaves but send them mixed signals when they return (Dozier, Stoval, Albus, and Bates, 2001). The vast literature on attachment in different cultures shows that attachment between children and their caregivers is a universal phenomenon. What differs is the ideal attachment, which involves the specific attachment behaviors. Specific attachment behavior seen in an infant may show secure or insecure attachment. Parenting practices that show secure and insecure attachment also differ across cultures. Attachment relationships in children may have long time effects into adolescent and later into adulthood. Early attachment relationships also have an impact on the quality of peer relationship that a child has. A child’s ability to develop intimacy with people and parental attachment between him or her and a caregiver is a universal phenomenon. 

The research reviewed thus far shows cross-cultural differences in which temperamental styles may be more common in a culture and how temperamental styles are related to children’s adjustment. Why does temperament differ across cultures? 

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Temperament is the individual differences in self-regulation and reactivity influenced by experience, maturation, and hereditary factors. Hereditary factors and experience are related to the cultural environment. Societal norms, group dynamics, moral climates, and typical children learning vary between different cultures. The different in traits result from the fact that different cultures have diverse values, practices, and beliefs. For instance, the difference in temperament between American and Finnish infants may result from different parenting styles. Finnish children grow under harsh parents while American parents are not harsh (Gaias et al, 2012) . Parents living in cultures where there is more stress in raising a child affect the fearfulness of an infant. In the United States, parents receive relatively little support from the government regarding childcare. They have to come home early and leave the children under other people’s care. It affects the children’s temperament. On the contrary, Finnish mothers have time to stay with their children. They sooth their child and create a good relationship as a result. 


Dozier, M., Stoval, K. C., Albus, K. E., & Bates, B. (2001). Attachment for infants in foster care: 

The role of caregiver state of mind.  Child Development , 72 (5), 1467-1477. 

Gaias, L. M., Räikkönen, K., Komsi, N., Gartstein, M. A., Fisher, P. A., & Putnam, S. P. (2012). 

Cross ‐ cultural temperamental differences in infants, children, and adults in the United States of America and Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 53 (2), 119-128. 

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