the influence of childhood on adult relationships 

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  • the influence of childhood on adult relationships
    • parent child relationships
      • Attachment, care-giving and sexuality
        • Shaver et al – What we experience as romantic love adulthood is an integration of 3 behavioural systems acquired in infancy
          • The first system: attachment, related to concept of internal working model – John Bowlby’s theory
            • Bowlby - later r/s likely to be continuation of early attachment styles
              • The internal working model of r/s leads the infant to expect the same in later r/s.
                • Internal working model can lead to development of an attachment disorder
                  • Second, care-giving system: knowledge about how one cares for another learnt by modelling behaviour of primary attachment figure.
                    • Third, sexuality system: also learnt in relation to early attachment e.g. individuals who suffered from avoidant attachment are more likely to hold the view that sex without love is pleasurable
      • Effects of childhood abuse on later r/s
        • Indivs who have experienced physical abuse in childhood more likely to report increased rates of depression, anger and anxiety than non-abused indivs. - Springer
          • Childhood sexual abuse also associated with psychological impairments, find it difficult forming healthy r/s
            • Indivs who have experienced both forms of abuse develop damaged ability to trust people and sense isolation from others – Alpert et al
              • Kolk and Fisler – abused indivs had difficulty forming healthy attachments and formed disorganized attachments instead
                • Disorganised patterns led to difficulty regulating emotions, key aspect of forming a healthy r/s
      • Parental relationship research support
        • Fraley – meta-analysis, correlations from .10 to .50 between early attachment type and later r/s
          • One reasons for low correlation could be because insecure-anxious attachment is more unstable
            • Could be that an indivs attachment type is determined by the current r/s
              • Attachment theory suggests that significant r/s experiences can alter attachment organisation
                • Kirkpatrick and Hazan – r/s breakups associated with shift from secure to insecure attachments
      • Research support for influence of childhood abuse
        • Berenson and Anderson support the claim that abused kids have difficulty developing adult r/s.
          • Adult women who have been abused later display negative reactions towards another person but only people who remind them of their abusive parent.
            • The process of transference could lead indivs abused in childhood to use inappropriate behavioural patterns learnt from their r/s with abusive parent
      • IDA – insights from non-human species
        • Social deprivation not possible with human kids for ethical reasons
          • Suomi and Harlow – rhesus monkeys reared with adequate adult but inadequate peer contact later displayed inappropriate social and sexual behaviour
            • The longer they were denied the opportunity to interact, the more extreme the social inadequacies
    • interaction with peers
      • Childhood friendships
        • Qualter and Munn – kids also learn from experiences with other kids, the way that a kid thinks about himself and others is determined by specific experiences which then become internalised.
          • Kids develop sense of their own values as a result of interaction with others which in turn determines how they approach adult r/s
            • Nangle et al – children’s r/s are training grounds for adult r/s
              • Having a best friend has same characteristics that are important in later romantic r/s.
      • Adolescent r/s
        • Attachment usually shifts from parents to peers
          • Romantic r/s serve a  of purposes: help achieve separation from parents, can redirect intense interpersonal energy toward their romantic partner, allow adolescents to gain a type of emotional and physical intimacy that is quite different from what is experienced towards parents
            • Madsen – tested the effects of dating behaviour in adolescence (15-17.5) on the quality of young adult (20-21) romantic r/s
              • Moderate or low dating frequency predicted higher quality young adult r/s whereas higher frequency of dating predicted poorer quality adult r/s
                • Suggested that some dating in adolescence is advantageous for adult r/s quality but can be maladaptive if too much
      • Gender differences
        • Richard and Schneider - girls have more intimate friendships than boys, more likely to report care and security in their r/s with other girls
          • Other research found that boys’ relationships tend to be more competitive, girls are more likely to engage in cooperative and sharing activities
            • Erwin – sex difs in childhood experiences of r/s have been overemphasised and many similarities tend to be overlooked
      • Negative effects
        • Romantic r/s in adolescence can be healthy for later adult r/s.
          • Also shown potential for negative effects – Haynie
            • Romantic involvement increases some forms of deviance in adolescence by as much as 30%.
              • Neemann et al – romantic involvement in early to middle adolescence was associated with decrease in academic achievement and increase in conduct problems
                • In late adolescence, romantic involvement no longer related to these negative outcomes, suggesting that it is the timing of romantic r/s in adolescence that determines what influence if any they’ll have
                  • Maddsen – heavy dating patterns during adolescence are associated with poorer quality adult r/s
                    • Challenged by Roisman et al – found no effects of romantic experience at age 20 on romantic r/s at age 30 suggesting there is no consistent evidence that adolescent romantic r/s are building blocks of adult r/s


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