ATTACHMENT - The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships

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  • The influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships
    • General
      • def continuity hypothesis: the idea that there is consistency between early emotional experiences and later relationships
        • early attachments are reflected in later life
      • based on IWM (internal working model) where primary attachments provide template for later attachments
      • IWM can be broken: divorce, separation. Institutionalisation effects can be overturned: QUINTON - some females had good rels with children - loving care from partners
    • Child relationships
      • research ~ continuity between early attach styles and quality of childhood rels
      • Research
        • YOUNGBLADE & BELSKY ('92) - 3-5 yr olds with secure.attachs = more curious, competent, empathetic, resilient, self-confident & got along better with other children
        • MULLIS ('99) - in late childhood, attachments to friends are similar to those made to parents in infancy
        • WESTERMARCK (1891) - children who have attachs with each other in early life will likely not have sexual rels with later
        • SHEPHER ('71) - 3,000 Israeli marriage records - no children raised together in kibbutz got married to each other. Supports Westermarck
      • Evaluation (A03)
        • attachments between child + caregiver have large influence in determining quality of later rels
        • secure attach: child develop better in terms of positive personal characteristics and social abilities
        • early attach types influence development in cog.ability, emotional response and social skills -> influence quality of later rels
        • deterministic -> other factors may be involved - financial pressures, age diffs etc
        • Westermarck's theory suggests it's an evolutionary anti-incest device -> stops genetically transmitted diseases in children
    • Adult relationships
      • research ~ intergenerational continuity between adults and their own children (inc. adopted children)
      • it is possible for people to have secure attachs in later life even if they don't have one with their parents
      • not all evidence supports idea of continuity between early and later rels
      • Research
        • HAZAN & SHAVER ('87) - love quiz (see other resource)
        • MCCARTHY ('99) - 40 women aged 25-44 with insecure attachs. Ins-avoid women had less successful romantic adult attachs. Ins-resis women had trouble forming non-romantic adult rels. SUPPORTS IWM
        • KIRKPATRICK & DAVIS ('94) - 300 dating couples over 3 yrs (longitudinal study). Sec-attachs had more stable and satisfying rels. SUPPORTS IWM
        • BELSKY ('99) - S-A women had less conflict about time spent together and household division than IA and IR women
          • SA - committed to better rels and felt greater love for partners. SUPPORT HAZ & SHAV
        • BRENNAN & SHAVER ('95) - IA  more willing to engage is sex with absence of love. HAZ & SHAV - IA would have more one-night stands and prefered sexual contact to comtionally intimate sexual contact (kissing etc.). SUPPORTS IWM
        • KUNCE & SHAVER ('94) - IR women reported more 'compulsive caregiving' - more likely to say 'I can't stop 'mothering' my partner'
      • Evaluation (A03)
        • WOOD (2003) - quality of rel determined on interaction between 2 people. Insecurely attached people have secure attachs if they are in rel with secure.attach people
        • IWM not fully supported:
          • STEELE ('98) - correlation of 0.17 between having secure attach in child and adulthood
          • ZIMMERMAN (2000) - attach style at 12-18 months doesn't predict quality of later rels. Divorce had bigger influence
          • HAMILTON ('94) - securely attachs children sometimes went on to have insecure attachs if they suffered negative life events
        • temperament hypothesis - quality of adult rels are determined biologically from innate personality
          • suggests attempts to develop better quality rels by changing adult's attach style to more positive ones wouldn't work


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