Uploaded by Karolina Dąbrowska

Extra Assignment

Karolina Dąbrowska
Attachment, parenting & development
Extra Assignment: Paper Review
Gernhardt et al. (2016) "Children’s Family Drawings as Expressions of Attachment
Representations Across Cultures: Possibilities and Limitations
The paper by Gernhardt et al. (2016) presents a comparative exploration of children's family
drawings as a tool for assessing attachment representations in different cultural contexts.
Illustrations made by children from rural areas of Cameroon and middle-class Berlin were
systematically analysed to draw conclusions about attachment quality and the influence of
maternal socialisation goals.
The study’s main strength is its contribution to the cross-cultural comparison of pictorial
attachment representations against the background of culturally distinct socialisation goals.
The disparities in children’s early experiences were analysed to uncover differences in the
representations of the family and self. These informed the authors’ conclusion that attachment
security may not be discernible from family drawings across cultures based on the same
assessment criteria. This greatly enhances the current understanding of attachment expression
and highlights the importance of cultural context.
Furthermore, the design is characterised by considerable methodological rigour. The drawings
were analysed with two standardised tools validated for use with children albeit mostly in the
West. The authors enhanced the credibility of their conclusions by using blind coding. The
general description of the procedure is detailed and ensures replicability.
A notable weakness of this paper is a relatively limited overview of theory and past research
presented within the introduction which does not provide a comprehensive background for the
study. An in-depth exploration of previous results would certainly give the reader a clearer
understanding of the state of knowledge within the field and emphasised the value and
originality of the design.
An additional limitation lies in the small sample size. Even though, the children were selected
diligently ensuring the comparability of demographic characteristics between the groups, there
may be doubt regarding the generalisability of the findings. The authors make strong assertions
about the overall attachment security tendencies and goals of socialisation in each study
population based on data obtained from around 30 participants respectively. The
appropriateness of their conclusion may, therefore, be questioned.
Future research could benefit from exploring a more diverse range of populations, the
associated socialisation goals, and their overall possible influence on pictorial attachment
representations to perhaps create a more unified and holistic theory about their exact
relationship. Additionally, subsequent studies could revise and test the drawing analysis tools
across different cultures to arrive at more appropriate criteria for attachment assessment.
In conclusion, the paper provides valuable insights into the advantages and drawbacks of using
family drawings as a tool to assess attachment representations across different cultural groups
and creates interesting avenues to be explored by future studies.