Informations and abstract
Our study, carried out in Torino, aims at infants separated at birth from their inadequate family and raised by professional caregivers in small residential structures ("Comunità Alloggio"). Thirty-eight risk infants (from 4 to 15 months) are compared with 38 infants randomly selected from the population of Torino, matched by age. Particularly, we evaluated the daily experience of infants with respect to number and stability of caregivers, and to caregivers attitude in interaction; moreover, we observed the differentiation of stranger and familiar persons response and the confidence of infants in availability of caregivers (secure base), as indicators of attachment development in first year of life (Bowlby, 1969; Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters e Wall, 1978). Results indicate that daily experience of risk infants is different from that of infants living in their family: the professional caregivers are more numerous and less stable, and less emotionally involved than mothers. However, no signals of hospitalism are present, and overall development of infants is quite normal, if risk factors at birth are considered. Nevertheless, an observational evaluation of behaviour of infants with familiar persons and strangers indicate that the risk infants are less able in differentiating caregivers and less confident in their availability. For the infants living in "Comunità Alloggio" it seems that a smaller number of caregivers is linked to a better development of attachment behaviours.