What influence do early attachments have on later relationships?

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  • What influence do early attachments have on later relationships?
    • psychology- attachment the importance of the internal working model
      • when a child forms their first relationship with their primary attachment figure, a mental representation of this relationship is also formed
      • this internal working model acts as a template for future realationships
      • this is called the continuity hypothesis i.e infant attachments affect adult relationships
        • evaluation of the continuity hypothesis
          • POSITIVE: McCarthy's study appears to support the continuity hypothesis and so provide evidence for an internal working model
          • NEGATIVE: Zimmerman (2000) assessed infant attachment type and adolescent attachment to parents. There was very little relationships between quality of infant and adolescent attachment
            • relationships in adulthood with romantic partners
              • McCarhty (1999) studied 40 adult women who has been assessed then they were infants to establish their attachment
              • SECURE ATTACHMENT: had the best adult friendships and relationships
                • AVOIDANT ATTACHMEBT: struggled with intimacy in romantic relationships
                • Hazan and Shaver (1987) analysed 620 replies to a love quiz. it assessed respondents' current or most important relationship, general love experience e.g number of partners and attachment type by asking respondents to choose a statement that best describes their feelings
                  • FINDINGS: 56% wee identified as securely attached, 25% avoidant and 19% resistant
                    • SECURE ATTACHMENT: most likely to have good and long lasting romantic experiences
                  • AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT: tended to be extremely jealous and fear intimacy
              • RESISTANT ATTACHMENT: had problems maintaining friendships
      • the quality of the child's first attachment provide a template for future relationships
      • a child whose first experience is of a loving, trusting relationship will assume this is how relationships are meant to be
        • SECURE ATTACHMENT: seek out functional relationships and are able to love and trust
        • AVOIDANT ATTACHMENT: too uninvolved or emotionally too close
        • RESISTANT ATTACHMENT: being controlling and argumentative
    • attachment type and friendship
      • attachment type is also associated with the quality of peer attachment
      • Myron- Wilson and Smith assessed attachment type and bullying involvement using questionnaires in 196 children ages 7-11 from London
      • SECURE ATTACHMENTS: form the best quality childhood friendships (Kerns 1994) and are least likely to be involved in bullying
      • AVODIANT ATTACHMENT: most likely to become victims of bullies
      • RESISTANT AVOIDANT: most likely to become bullies
        • most studies do not use the strange situation but assess parent-infant attachment by interview/questionnaire, retrospectively


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