PSYA3 Psychology AQA The Influence of Childhood on Romantic Relationships

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Influence of childhood in romantic relationships
ParentChild relationships
Attachment, caregiving and sexuality
Shaver ­ what we experience as romantic love in adulthood ­ integration of three behavioural
systems acquired in infancy ­ attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems
First system ­ related to concept of internal working model ­ Bowlby
Bowlby ­ later relationships likely to be continuation of early attachment styles ­ behaviour of
infants' primary model figure promotes internal working model of relationships ­ leads infant to
expect same in later relationships
Some extreme cases ­ child's internal working model leads to attachment disorders
Caregiving system ­ knowledge about how one cares for others ­ learned by modelling behaviour of
primary attachment figure
Sexuality system also learned in relation to early attachment ­ e.g those who suffered from avoidant
attachment more likely to hold view that sex without love is pleasurable
Effects of childhood abuse on later relationships
Springer physical abuse in childhood ­ negative effects on adult psychological functioning ­
increased rates of depression, anger and anxiety
Childhood sexual abuse ­ psychological impairment in adult life ­ many victims experience
difficulties forming healthy adult relationships
Alpert those who experience both forms ­ damaged ability to trust people ­ sense of isolation
from others
Distancing and selfisolation ­ inhibit development of romantic adult relationships
Van der Kolk and Fisher ­ those suffering childhood abuse had difficult forming healthy attachments
­ formed disorganised attachments instead ­ lead to difficulty in regulating emotions ­ key aspect in
forming and maintaining healthy relationship
HARLOW longitudinal
Interaction with peers
Childhood friendships
Qualter and Munn ­ children also learn from experiences with other children
Way child thinks about himself and others determined by specific experiences ­ become internalised
Children may develop sense of own value as a result of interaction with others, in turn determines
how they approach adult relationships
Nangle ­ children's friendships ­ training grounds for important adult relationships
Close friendships characterised by affection, alliance and intimacy, sharing of secrets and personal
Having close friend to confide in ­ promotes feeling of trust, acceptance and sense of being
understood ­ important in later relationships
Adolescent relationships
Attachment shifts from parents to peers
Romantic relationships in adolescence serve number of purposes

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different from experiences with parents
Madsen ­ tested effects of dating behaviour in adolescents (1517.5) on quality of young adult
romantic relationships (2021) ­ moderate or low dating frequency predicted higherquality
young adult relationships ­ heavy dating predicted poorer quality young adult relationships ­
suggests some dating in adolescence advantageous for adult relationship quality, but too much
Parental Relationships ­ research support
Fraley ­ meta analysis of studies ­ correlation from .10 to .…read more

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Madsen ­ challenged by Roisman ­ found no effect of romantic experiences at age 20 on romantic
relationships at 30 ­ suggests no consistent evidence that adolescent relationships "building blocks"
of adult relationships
Simpson ­ Longitudinal study ­ spanning more than 25 years, 78 participants studied at 4 key points
­ infancy, early childhood, adolescence and adulthood.
Caregivers reported on child's attachment behaviour at one year of age.
At 68 years old, children's teachers asked to rate how well child interacted with peers.…read more


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