maternal deprivation


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maternal deprivation

lack of contact between mother figure and child. The term was coined by BOWLBY (1958) who maintained that maternal deprivation in early life would lead to behavioural problems and delinquency in later childhood and adolescence. This link has subsequently been questioned, particularly by Rutter (Maternal Deprivation Reassessed, 1981), who argued that privation, rather than maternal deprivation, was the more likely cause of the problems shown by the children Bowlby studied.
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Other risks related to the infant's milieu and often found in combination with maternal deprivation include nutritional deprivation, maltreatment (Johnson, 2000) and experiences that have been characterised as global deprivation (Rutter and the ERA study team, 1998; Gunnar 2001).
Scientists conducting maternal deprivation studies have long been able to induce permanent changes in the behaviors of animals, notably their responses to stress.
In particular, thorough studies have been carried out on the relationship between an early experience of loss and psychopathology, frequently stimulated by Bowlby's (1951) hypothesis on the negative consequences of maternal deprivation.

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