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maternal deprivation


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Inadequate mothering, whether delivered by the mother or another primary carer, during the first six months of life, leading to a failure of attachment, or more generally inadequate mothering during the first five years of life. The concept was introduced by the English psychiatrist (Edward) John (Mostyn) Bowlby (1907–90) who argued in his book Child Care and the Growth of Love (1953) that it could seriously affect the child's development and lead to psychological problems and juvenile delinquency. Early research tended to support the theory, but subsequent research suggested that the adverse effects were often caused by other factors that tend to accompany maternal deprivation, such as physical neglect. See also anaclitic depression, attachment theory, hospitalism, separation anxiety, separation anxiety disorder.


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