The effect of childhood on adult relationships

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
The effect of childhood on adult relationships
Description- attachment types and adult relationships
One theory suggests that adult romantic relationships are derived from our
childhood attachment type. The attachment forms the internal working model which
influences our expectations about relationships as adults. It follows that securely
attached children will have better adult relationships. Our care giving and
sexuality systems are also formed in childhood and will be influenced by
attachments. This is because our care giving system is modelled off the primary
care giving in childhood. Our sexuality system is determined by attachment type
with avoidant children believing that sex without love can still be pleasurable.
Avoidant children doubt the existence and durability of love but would engage in
sex without love.
Securely attached children would believe in romantic love and have the most
successful relationships
Resistant children enter relationships quickly and become angry when love isn't
reciprocated.
Evaluation
/ There is consistent evidence that securely attached children have the most
enduring and positive relationships. The same is true for avoidant children having
one night stands and avoiding commitment. However the evidence is mainly
correlational and we can't be sure that attachment type is the cause of the type of
adult relationship.
Simpson studied 78 participants for 25 years and assessed them at infancy,
childhood, adolescence and adulthood. He found that securely attached children
were socially competent at age 6, were closer to friends at age 16 and had greater
emotional attachment to romantic partners in adulthood. This supports the idea
that secure attachments have good adult relationships.
/ Hazan and Shaver found that the internal working model was correlated to
adult attachment types. Securely attached adults were far more positive about
themselves and potential love compared to securely attached adults. The link
between child attachment and adult relationship decreases with age. This means
that other factors are influencing a child's attachment and adult relationships. The
study didn't measure the strength of attachment and this may be more important
to the adult relationship than just the type of attachment.

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
Main shows that the attachment types can change and an insecurely attached
mother may not produce an insecurely attached child. This means that other
factors are influencing a child's attachment and adult relationships.
Fraley did a meta analysis and found correlations of 0.1 and 0.5 between
attachment type and later relationships. These low correlations may be due to
insecurely attached children being more unstable.…read more

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
Correlational research which means that we can't be sure if teenage
relationships are the actual cause of different types of adult relationships
Deterministic as it suggests that individuals have no free will over their adult
relationships and that their childhood determines their adult relationships.
However, there are lots of individuals who have happy adult relationships despite
suffering a disrupted childhood and this shows that childhood is not the only
influence upon adult relationships.…read more

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