Article

Changing attitudes towards the care of children in hospital: a new assessment of the influence of the work of Bowlby and Robertson in the UK, 1940-1970.

Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Attachment & Human Development (Impact Factor: 2.38). 04/2009; 11(2):119-42. DOI: 10.1080/14616730802503655
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT It is generally believed that the work of Bowlby and Robertson was new and decisive in changing the hospital conditions for young children. The fact that parents in the UK and other European countries can now visit their sick child at any time they wish or even room-in is attributed to an acquaintance with Bowlby's findings and Robertson's well-known films about the potentially detrimental effects of hospital stays for young children. In this paper we shall argue that this picture is incomplete and that, historically, things were rather more intricate. Bowlby and Robertson were neither the first nor the only researchers who tried to change hospital policies. Moreover, the older hospital policies were not uniformly bad. Long before Bowlby and Robertson began their plea for reforms, several individuals and hospitals had already introduced conditions that we now still regard as exemplary. The whole change towards more liberal, flexible, and humane practices in children's wards took place over several decades and was fuelled by both worried medical doctors, pressure groups of parents, sympathetic editors of medical journals, and emerging new research findings such as those provided by Bowlby and Robertson. In that societal debate, the voices of Bowlby and Robertson were influential but not necessarily new or decisive.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
157 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This commentary has two parts. In the first part I highlight major theoretical issues raised by the two integrative articles, adding my own perspective and interpretations. Next I discuss selected findings from the two intervention programs designed to enhance infant-mother attachment in prison- and jail-diversion nurseries and the multi-informant interview study of children's, caregivers', and mentors' comments about an incarcerated parent. I offer some additional background, queries, and what I hope to be clarifications. In the second part of this commentary, I reflect on ways in which theory and findings presented in this special issue might inform future intervention research on children of incarcerated parents and their families, briefly touching on issues related to recruitment of participants, research design, and qualitative and quantitative measures, as well as required conceptual innovations, social policy, and advocacy.
    Attachment & Human Development 07/2010; 12(4):417-28. · 2.38 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In this contribution, the authors situate the development of Bowlby's attachment theory against the background of the social, cultural, and scientific developments in interbellum Britain. It is shown that fairly early in his life Bowlby adopted one fundamental idea-that an infant primarily needs a warm and loving mother, and that separations from the mother are potentially damaging-and never substantially changed that basic notion in later years. Bowlby's first and foremost goal-and his lifelong undertaking-was to convince certain others (e.g., orthodox psychoanalysts, psychiatrists, clinicians, and medical doctors) of the importance of this idea by theorizing and gathering empirical evidence. Bowlby's view of mother love deprivation as the main source of maladjusted behavior was at variance with the views of many practitioners and theorists, but it was by no means fully novel and original. The authors show that Bowlby took inspiration from various persons and groups in British society with whom he shared basically similar views.
    History of Psychology 02/2010; 13(1):25-45. · 0.26 Impact Factor
  • Archives de Pédiatrie 06/2010; 17(6):723-4. · 0.36 Impact Factor

Full-text

View
117 Downloads
Available from
May 29, 2014