Graduation Year

2017

Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Psychology

Reader 1

Sheila Walker

Reader 2

Michael Spezio

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© 2016 EmmaS. Scrimshaw-Hall

Abstract

Abstract

According to Bowlby, infants have a universal need to seek close proximity with their caregiver when under distress or threatened. This study seeks to look at attachment in a population that is undergoing extreme distress as they suffer from opioid withdrawal within the first few weeks of life. It aims to explore the role touch (kangaroo care) can have in creating the secure base that attachment theorists describe as the basis for all future attachments, and in reducing the length of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. It is hypothesized that infants born with drug dependencies who receive increased touch and holding throughout their withdrawal will have a shorter duration of Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome and will be more securely attached at 18 months than those who do not receive increased touch. It is also hypothesized that infants whose caregivers reported high scores of bonding with their infants in the first year of life will be more securely attached than those with lower scores of bonding. Infants who were sent home with their birth parents after discharge are hypothesized to be more securely attached at 18 months with their caregiver than infants who were sent home to a foster family. The results of this study will contribute to attachment literature in a population where research is lacking, and will add to the knowledge on Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome treatment.

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