The Strange Situation is a standardized assessment procedure used to evaluate the quality of attachment between an infant and their primary caregiver.


The Strange Situation involves a series of brief separations and reunions between the infant and their caregiver, conducted in a controlled laboratory setting. The procedure typically consists of eight episodes, each lasting approximately three minutes.


  1. Introduction: The infant and caregiver enter the unfamiliar room, allowing the infant to explore.
  2. Separation (Episode 1): The caregiver leaves the infant alone in the room for a short period of time.
  3. Reunion (Episode 1): The caregiver returns to the room and the interaction between them is observed.
  4. Separation (Episode 2): A stranger enters the room and the caregiver leaves, leaving the infant alone with the stranger.
  5. Reunion (Episode 2): The caregiver returns to the room and the stranger leaves.
  6. Separation (Episode 3): The caregiver leaves the infant alone in the room.
  7. Reunion (Episode 3): The caregiver returns to the room and the interaction between them is observed.
  8. Conclusion: The stranger leaves the room and the caregiver says goodbye to the infant before exiting.


The Strange Situation allows researchers to observe how the infant responds to these brief separations and reunions. The behaviors exhibited by the infant are categorized into different attachment patterns, namely:

  • Secure Attachment: Infants with secure attachment feel safe exploring their environment and show distress when the caregiver leaves, but can be easily comforted upon reunion.
  • Avoidant Attachment: Infants with avoidant attachment display minimal distress upon separation and avoid seeking comfort from the caregiver upon reunion.
  • Ambivalent/Resistant Attachment: Infants with ambivalent/resistant attachment show high levels of distress upon separation, and their behavior upon reunion is a mix of seeking and rejecting the caregiver’s comfort.
  • Disorganized Attachment: Infants with disorganized attachment exhibit confusing and contradictory behaviors, suggesting a lack of organized attachment strategies.


The Strange Situation is widely used in research and clinical settings to assess the attachment relationship between infants and their caregivers, providing valuable insights into the dynamics of early parent-child interactions.