Influence of childhood and adolescent experiences on relationships


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  • Created by: Ana
  • Created on: 21-01-10 22:56

Childhood experiences - AO1

Shaver et al (1988) claimed that what we experience as romantic love in adulthood is an integration of three behavioural systems acquired in infancy - attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems.

Bowlby (1969) Later relationships are likely to be a continuation of early attachment styles because the behaviour of the infants' primary attachment figure promotes an internal working model of relationships which leads the infant to expect the same in later relationships.

Qualter and Munn (2005) have shown that children also learn from their experiences with other children. Children may develop a sense of their own values through interactions with others, which in turn determines how they approach adult relationships.

Nangle et al (2003) claim that children's friendships are training grounds for important adult relationships. The experience of having a friend to confide in promotes feelings of trust, acceptance and a sense of being understood - characteristics that are also important in later romantic relationships.

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Childhood experiences - AO2

+ Fraley (1998) conducted a meta-analysis of studies, finding 0.10 to 0.50 correlations between early attachment type and later relationships. Fraley suggested such low correlations may be because insecure-anxious attachment is more unstable.

- Gender differences - Richard and Schneider (2005) found that girls have more intimate friendships than boys, and are more likely to report care and security in their relationships with other girls. Erwin (1993) has found that boys' relationships tend to be more competitive.

+ Erwin does also claim that gender differences have been over-emphasised and many similarities tend to be overlooked.

+ Simpson et al (2007) Ongoing longitudinal study spanning more than 25 years, 78 participants studied at infancy, early childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. Caregivers reported on their children's attachment behaviour at 1yr. 6-8yrs teacher rated how well the child interacted with their peers. 16yrs, participants asked to describe their close friendships, and as young adults their romantic partners were asked to describe their romantic relationship. Findings supported childhood experiences theory.

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