Psychology A2: Effects of Childhood and Culture on Relationships

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Childhood: Parent-Child Relations

  • Adult romantic love is a product of childhood attachement (refer to AS psychology), caregiving and sexuality systems from infancy.
  • Abuse and or neglect may lead to a attachment disorder making it difficult for the individual to create and sustain healthy relationships.

Attachement: Relationships are a continuation of attachement styles later on in life.

Caregiving: Appropriate behaviour is learned through modelling.

Sexuality Systems: Dependant upon your attachement type as a child may lead to varied views on sex and love.


  • Fraley's Meta-Analysis: Showed a link between attachement type and future relationships.
  • Simpson et al.: Emotional styles in adulthood can be traced back to infancy.
  • Berenson and Anderson: Abused children have a difficult time developing adult relationships due to their previous experiences.
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Childhood: Interaction with Peers

  • Childhood friendships are the point where individuals start to learn about relationships and develop a sense of their own value from interacting with close friends.
  • Adolescent relationships allow separation form parents and development of sexual and emotional intimacy through dating.


  • Research supports gender differences in childhood relationships; in this case girls are more intimate and caring (Later being Mate Choice) whereas boys are more competitive (Later being Mate Competition).
  • Negative effects of early dating include: 

- Deviance

- Lack of Achievement

(However findings for this are inconsistant and do not have a casual relationship.)

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Culture: Western and Non-Western Relationships


  • Western relationships are more voluntary and selective where as non-western are less so.
  • Western culture emphasises freedom and individualistic choice.
  • Non-Western cultures show the importance of family and grouping in decisions.
  • The importance of love is more singificant in western cultures as they are not likely to marry in the absence of love and emotion.
  • Lonelieness is more likely to occur in Western Culture in the absence of romance.
  • Moore and Leung found that there were incredibly different views between Australian and Chinese students in relation to romantic love.


  • Arranged marriages seem to work well with love between both partners and low divorce rates.
  • However a chinese study found that women who had married for love were happier than those who had opted into an arranged marriage.
  • IDA: Human romantic love is 'universal' and has evolved to promote survival and reproduction.
  • Change from permananent to temporary relationships due to urbanisation rather than cultural differences between western and non-western.
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