Bowlby Juvenile Study

Keywords: bowlby thieves research, john bowlby juvenile thieves

In the following essay I will be taking a look at the case study of John Bowlby and the 44 Juvenile thieves. I am describing the initial hypothesis of the analysis and what Bowlby aimed to find. I am going to then check out two other key subconscious studies into individual behaviour. Once I've looked at all three of the studies, I will then look at the research methods used by all three. I'll closely go through the moral implications of the studies as well as the practical applications used in each.

John Bowlby (1907-1990) was a Psychoanalyst who worked well at the London Child Direction Center between 1936 and 1939. Bowlby thought that mental health and behavioural problems could be attached to early years as a child experience in the same way Freud does. He aimed to prove that parting from Mothers or singular carers before the get older of five damaged children's adolescent behaviour. Bowlby got 44 patients that got enter into his clinic who were thieves that were advised by their school, parents or communal carers. The group of thieves were split into two groups, they were class I who got only taken once, and the other was grade IV who have been repeat offenders. He then took another group of 44 children who were emotionally disturbed however, not thieves, this group was known as the control group. The 88 children involved in this analysis were all aged between five and sixteen. In the band of thieves there have been 31 young boys and 13 ladies whilst in the control group there were 34 kids and 10 girls.

There were three key studies in cases like this study that have been run by the psychologist, social staff member and a psychiatrist. The first was an IQ test which was invigilated by one of the center psychologists; the test was done as each one of the participants entered in to the clinic. The psychologist found that as well as all of the individuals being similar in age group, these were all similar in their IQ so they were no anomalies when you compare the educational history of the kids.

The second analysis was an interview of the participant's parents that was held by a communal worker, the purpose of this was to record information on the child's early on life.

The third research was an interview presented with the kid and the mother or father that they were with; this was held by the psychiatrist to see if the details distributed by the parents matched up with those of the kid.

The social staff member and psychiatrist made different reports that have been compared when that they had completed them in regards to each child. Once the reports had been compared, the kids were then split into different groups, these were;


  • No Irregular symptoms


  • Showing symptoms of depression


  • Showing symptoms of unhappiness and over activity


  • Over activity


  • No affection for others no sense of shame or responsibility


  • Withdrawn and missing romantic relationships with others


  • Showing symptoms of nervousness or hysteria

The results involve some significant anomalies; the 14 affectionless personas are statistically significant, this is because 13 of the 14 (93%) were grade IV thieves; this evidently implies that the affectionless have been very misguided and uncared for in the child years. Over 50 % of the grade IV thieves were affectionless. Other studies are that 19 of the cases had suffered long term separation from their sole carer throughout their first five years. 17 of the 19 that acquired suffered prolonged separation were thieves and 12 of the 17 were classed as affectionless. From the 23 which were level IV thieves, 14 of them had suffered prolonged separation.

After the case study, Bowlby concluded that "The prolonged parting of the child from his mother or foster mother is highly quality of the persistent offender"

When looking at the research study in depth, there are several implications that make this study unethical. All of the children that were involved in the study were already clients of Bowlby's and so when the research study was done, neither the kids nor the parents were prepared of what Bowlby was doing and experienced no proven fact that the results of the study would be released. This is very unethical as Doctors and Psychiatrists are supposed to have a confidentiality contract with the client, this study implies that Bowlby clearly didn't have any problems in launching the results that were found therefore there might have been many implications when released. When Bowlby proceeded to go forward with this analysis, there is a great deal of personal information released combined with the results. This information included the names of the customers and parents, along with things such as whether the children were breasts fed as a newborn. This sort of information is very personal and even if all the participants agreed to the study and information being released, these sort of comprehensive details being released can be even more damaging to the members over time as anybody that has read the full report that Bowlby experienced released can have preconceptions of these when they are more aged and using situations such as applying for work.

After looking at the results of the case study, there's a clear difference between the ones that are repeat offenders and those who are not. When you compare the results of the two groupings, it was a delight to observe that the eight Priggish children were from the control group; this is surprising as they haven't any history of theft, let alone do it again offending.

When evaluating the Bowlby research, there are definitely more criticisms of the study than positives although, the positives remain around to see today. After the results of the study had been released, attitudes towards child attention changed considerably. Bowlby's work 'humanised' child treatment practices in regard to fostering policies. Nursing homes have also improved their policies in regards to parental trips. Criticisms of the analysis are that Bowlby must have used one third group of ordinary children from a normal school as then would have possessed something to compare to as the individuals were all either thieves or psychologically troubled and so gives an unfair representation. Because the analysis was considered orally, there could have been gaps in the information given by the kids or parents, it is because memories fade and so some of the details recorded might have been inaccurate, the parents were also able to give their own answers therefore could have transformed the reality so they would look better. Bowlby put the children into the various groups knowing which ones were thieves and those were not therefore this automatically alters people's views on the results as they already may have had their own perceptions of what they likely to find out.

Before Bowlby started this case analysis, he already got an thoughts and opinions that any form of deprivation would cause problems when more mature; he did not consider the difference between deprivation and separation. This supposed that Bowlby's thoughts were already inspired prior to the results have been recorded. Another influence on Bowlby was Konrad Lorenz and his analysis into geese.

Michael Rutter (Blessed 1933) was one of the first Psychologist's to question Bowlby's theory that deprivation brought on juvenile delinquency between children. Rutter assumed that it was important to tell apart the distinctions of deprivation suffered by children as different types of separation triggered different final results in adulthood. In 1972 he had written a book called Maternal Deprivation Re-assessed where he suggested that Bowlby may have oversimplified the concept of maternal deprivation. Rutter distinguished the variations between deprivation and privation. Rutter believed that privation was when a child failed to make an connection, which could have been for many reasons such as having many carers. Deprivation Rutter believed was the increased loss of or harm to an attachment they may experienced. Rutter quoted that "Privation is likely to lead to attention seeking, a personality characterised by insufficient guilt and clingy behavior".

In 1981 Rutter examined his theory on Deprivation and Privation. His research study was very influential as his theory on Privation was later researched again by Hodges and Tizard (1989). Rutter's hypothesis was to verify that different types of separation had different influences down the road. Rutter analyzed over two thousand children aged between nine and 12 who resided on the Isle of White. He interviewed the kids and their families to see whether the boys who was simply separated from their mothers in early life had turned to crime.

Rutter found that the boys who was simply separated using their company mothers through health problems or fatality were less inclined to turn to criminal offense down the road. The boys who had been separated through the emotional disorder of 1 of the parents, stress or quarrels within the family were four times more likely to carefully turn to criminal offenses.

From the results Rutter figured it was the issue and stress of the parting more than the parting itself that was the cause of the antisocial behaviour and caused the children to carefully turn to crime later in life.

Strengths of Rutter's case study are that he used two thousand participants who had been all close in get older. Two thousand is a large sum of individuals to do complete interviews with and so you can conclude that the results are rather reliable and can be generalised across a higher number of people. People may possibly also conclude that if the study was repeated outside of the Isle of white, the results could be similar.

Weaknesses of the study are that because the kids were aged between nine and twelve, they would have to remember from memory which really is a similar weakness to that of Bowlby's research study. Another weakness is the fact Rutter only used kids in the study; results might have been different if women were also interviewed.

There weren't any real Ethical implications of the Rutter research study. The parents of the males interviewed were alert to the reasoning behind the case study. There was no personal information given out when the results of the study were released so there is no stress of implications in the boy's later lives.

"Jill Hodges and Barbara Tizard (1989) focussed quite definitely on the privation part of the Rutter case study. The study aimed to look at the long-term effects of Privation.

There were three seeks for this case study and they were;

  1. To investigate the result of institutional upbringing on later parts.
  2. To investigate the consequences of privation on later sociable and psychological development.
  3. To investigate if the effects of privation can be reversed. " (Anon)

In the Hodges and Tizard research study, they implemented 65 children from birth through to adolescence at 16. THE KIDS were in two teams; one of the groups acquired children that put in the first part of their lives in an organization until either used or taken back again by their natural parents and the other group were normal kids who got grown up with their natural parents and siblings. The purpose of the study was to observe how beginning life within an institution affected the introduction of relationships with the children, their carers, parents, teachers and peers throughout their years as a child. They would do this by getting the parents, followed parents and teachers to complete questionnaires at different stages whilst growing up to observe how their relationships were expanding. "The results revealed that the ex-institutional children were deeply mounted on their followed parents whilst the ex-institutional children who went back to their natural parents were not deeply attached. The ex-institutional children have have trouble forming close associations and friendships with the siblings and peers compared to the non-institutional children. " (Anon)

Advantages of this review were that it was a longitudinal test which recommended that it was done over an extended time frame (16 years), this meant that they were in a position to get an enormous amount of information about each child over that period of time.

Disadvantages of the kind of research are that as it has ended such an enormous time frame, it is nearly impossible to keep in touch with the parents of all the children for reasons uknown i. e. changing address. This means that they were unable to completely get all of the information needed.

Ethical implications of this case study are that there is not enough home elevators if the parents and adopted parents were fully aware of the real reason for the study. The children may not have been actually or emotionally harmed by the experimented but got they become aware that there experience were being noted for an test; they might not exactly have needed those details released.

When comparing each one of the three case studies that I have looked at in this article, there are clear differences between them. Rutter (1981) and Hodges and Tizard (1989) have both were able to significantly demonstrate that Bowlby oversimplified his theory when doing the 44 juveniles research study. They both proven that Children were not simply afflicted in later life by deprivation of parts off their parents. There were much more complicated aspects that needed looking at when learning the behaviour's of children. Whilst Bowlby was on the right course along with his theory, it's been turned out that he was greatly inspired by other theorists and this his theory that deprivation would cause juvenile delinquency was quite remote the truth. The primary final result from these three key studies is that children are able to have close parts to parents down the road; but it's the parents themselves that affect how close the attachment becomes.

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