Outline and describe the effects of
privation and institutionalisation (12 marks)
Privation is when a child fails to form any attachments. It has been suggested privation may occur in situations where attachments are disrupted, such as prolonged stays in hospital, or it may be due to abusive or neglectful parenting as seen, for example, in rare cases of isolated children. Also the most common cause of privation is thought to be institutional care.
The case study of Genie by Curtiss (1977) is an example of privation. Genie had spent the first years of her life all alone in her bedroom as she was thought to have been ‘mentally retarded’ and this was to protect her. She had spent most of her time ties to a commode and was fed baby food by her brother who was not allowed to talk to her. Her parents spent no time with her and punished her if she made any sound. Genie was found when she was 13 by social workers. When she was found she was undernourished, could not stand properly or walk normally, could not understand any language and could not speak.   She was then adopted by psychologists who conducted research on her as well as giving her intensive help in developing her skills, teaching her how to walk and educating her. In some areas she had improved quickly however her language did not develop properly as she never got beyond communicating using basic speech. She had developed attachments with her foster carers, but as she grew older she was sent to a lot of short term foster homes in which she was mistreated. This suggests that if a child is given the right environments they can overcome privation however not all of the effect of privation will leave them as in the case of Genie.
The case study of the Czech Twins by Koluchova (1976) is an example in which privation was overcome. The twins were discovered at the age of seven. They had been kept in isolation in a cellar with only each other for company, and were neglected and abused and therefore did not form any...