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The Hodges and Tizard Page


Below is a very brief summary of the Hodges and Tizard study.  You will need to use the more detailed summary here to revise for the exam.

You can also find all of the past exam questions on Hodges and Tizard's study here.   


There is some interactive stuff too.  Here is a multiple choice quiz.


The aim of Hodges and Tizard's study was to examine the effect of institutional upbringing on later attachments.

To study the effects of early experience on later development Hodges and Tizard used a longitudinal approach. A longitudinal approach is where a group of participants are followed up after a period of time, in this case 16 years. To collect their data Hodges and Tizard used various self-report measures, interviews, and psychometric tests, with the participants themselves (adolescents) and their parents and teachers.

The participants in the study were all aged 16 and had all been in institutional care until at least two years of age.  At this age most of the children had either been adopted or restored to biological parents.  The study focused on 31 ex-institutional children.  

Two comparison groups were also studied. Hodges and Tizard compared their group of children with matched groups who had been with their families throughout their lives. One comparison group was drawn from the London area, and was made up of 16-year-old children who were matched one for one with the ex-institutional children on the basis of sex, position in the family, whether they were from one- or two-parent families, and the occupation of their family's main breadwinner. The other comparison group consisted of a same-sex school friend (of the same age) for each of the ex-institutional children.

Five main methods were used to collect data on all the adolescents (including those in the comparison groups):

1. an interview with the adolescent subject;

2. an interview with the mother (in some cases with their father present);

3. a self-report questionnaire concerning 'social difficulties';

4. a questionnaire completed by the subjects' school teacher about their relationships with their peers and their teachers;

5. the Rutter 'B' scale which is a type of psychometric test which identifies psychiatric problems such as depression.

At 16 the majority of the adoptive mothers felt that their child was deeply attached to them. By contrast only a half of the restored children were described as deeply attached. Adopted adolescents were also more often said by their mothers to be attached to their father than the restored group.

Ex-institutional children had greater problems with siblings than a comparison group.

There were no differences regarding the number of contacts with opposite sex friends, or whether the 16 year-old currently had a boy/girl friend compared to non-institutionalised adolescents.

However, ex-institutional children had poorer relationships with peers than a comparison group. Teachers rated the ex-institutionalised group as more often quarrelsome, less often liked by other children and as bullying other children more than the comparison group. According to their mothers, the ex-institutional adolescents were less likely to have a definite special friend.

Hodges and Tizard believed argued that their findings demonstrate that children who are deprived of close and lasting attachments to adults in their first years of life can make such attachments later, although this does depend on the adults concerned and how much they nurture such attachments.

Hodges and Tizard offer an explanation for why the adopted children were more likely to overcome some of the problems of early institutional upbringing better than the restored children.  The financial situation of the adoptive families was often better, they had on average fewer children to provide for, and the adoptive parents were particularly highly motivated to have a child and to develop a relationship with that child. The biological parents in Hodges and Tizard's sample seemed to have been 'more ambivalent about their child living with them'.