British Journal of Psychology

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Volume 88 Issue 2 (May 1997), Pages 179-354

Dynamics of behaviour in the Strange Situation: A structural equation approach (pages 311-332)

In this paper, we present a structural equation approach to modelling infant behaviour in the Strange Situation. A model was developed on a Dutch data set, and was subsequently cross‐validated for an American data set containing the original Ainsworth data. Model building is reported in some detail as no previous similar analyses of the Strange Situation exist in the literature. The latent variables in the preferred model are stranger wariness, minimization or deactivation of attachment concerns, and maximization or hyperactivation of attachment concerns. Stranger wariness influences only the subsequent behaviour towards the mother, and behaviour in the second reunion episode is dependent on the same mother behaviour in the first reunion episode, and not on other mother behaviours. Structural equation modelling behaviour in the Strange Situation is shown to provide further insight into the dynamics of the procedure.

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