The influence of childhood/adolescence on adult relationships

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  • Created by: imanilara
  • Created on: 12-05-16 15:07

AO1: parent child relationships

Adult relationships heavily influenced by environmental factors--> childhood experiences. Jon Bowlby put fowrard attachment theory - childhood relationships set the scene for later relationships. Evolutionary theory-- attachments have evolved for survival + protectio of babies.

4 key elements:

  • monotropy- innate need to attach to one main figure
  • Continuity hypothesis- child should receive continuous care for frist 2yrs f life
  • Maternal deprivation hypothesis - long term effects of m.d.- aggression, lower iq
  • internal working model- primary monotropic relationship forms template for later relationships

A secure child = positive internal working model -sensitive emotional care from prim care giver
Insecure avoidant child = IWM - they feel they are unworthy - PC reacted negatively to it during sensitive period 

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AO1: parent child relationships, attachement, care

Shaver et al:

1988- what we experience as romantic love in adulthood is an integration of 3 behavioural systems acquired in infancy- attachment, caregiving, and sexuality systes.

1st system- attachment- concept of the internal working model - according to Bowlby later relatinships are likely to be a continuation of early attachment styles bc the behaviour of the infants primary attachment figure promotes an IWM of relationships which leads the infant to expect the same in later relationships. in extreme cases childs working model develop attachment disorders- eg abuse/separation= lack of trust in relationships - over familiar/distant.

2nd system- caregiving is knowledge about how one cres for others-learned bymodelling the beh of the PCG

3rd system: sexuality- relation to type of attachment- eg insecure avoidant may hold the vie that sex without love is pleasurable.

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how childhood abuse impacts later relationships

abuse has neg effect on psych functioning- eg individuals who expierenced physical abuse in childhood more likely to report anxiety, depression, anger than non abused ppl (springer 2007). 

research has suggested that the majority of sexual abuse victims experience difficulties in the formation of healthy adult relationships.

For those that have experienced both physical and sexual abuse, research has found that they developed a damaged ability to trust other ppl and report a sense of isolation (Alpert+el 1998)--this distancing and self-isolation inhibits romantic relationships in adulthood. Fisher 1994 found that those who had experienced abuse usually had disorganised attachments which would lead to a difficulty in regulating emotions- something that is key in relationship formation+maintenance. 

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Theory 2: Interaction w peers (AO1)

Childhood friendships: 

Qualter + munn (2005) children also learn from their experiences w other children- the way they think about themselves is as a result of specific, internalised experiences. ...children may acquire self value thru their interactions w others - determines how they approach adult relationships. 

Nangle (2003) children's friendships are training grounds for important adult relationships- close friendships characterised by affection, sense of alliance and intimacy and the sharing of secrets. The experience of having a friend to confide in promotes feelings of trust, acceptance and a sense of being understood- key characteristics of healthy adult relationships 

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Theory 2 AO1 continued

In adolescence, attachment usually shifts from parents-peers. 

Romantic relationships in adolescence can serve a number of purposes- first, shifts attachment from parent to peer, as the intense interpersonal energy is directed towards the romantic partner. 

Second- allows the adolescent to gain physical intimacy they have never experienced before . Masden (2001) tested dating behviour in adolesence (15-17.5), and found that low/moderate dating lead to healthy adult relationships, but heavy dating lead to poorer adult relationships. This shows how adolescent dating can be advantageous, but in excess can be maladaptive. 

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Theory 1 AO2

1)Fraley 1998- meta analysis of studies - finding correlations from 0.10 to 0.5  between early attachements and later relationships. They suggested a reason for low correlation was because insecure-anxious attachment is more unstable. 

Support- however weak correlation- also cannot draw causal conclusion - meta-analysis!

2) could be that individual's attachment type is determined by the current relationship which is why happily married couples are secure. Attachment theory does suggest that significant relationship expericnes can alter attachment organisation- eg Kirkpatrick+Hazan (1994) found that relationship breakups associated w shift from secure to insecure attachment type. This means that the direction of the relationship between attachment type and adult relationships is unclear and causal conc cannot be drawn. 
weakness- although we know there is a relationship, we dont know its direction, do adult rel affect attachment type, or does attachment type affect adult rel? cannot conclude that our childhood experiences affect adult relationships. 

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Theory 1 AO2

1)Fraley 1998- meta analysis of studies - finding correlations from 0.10 to 0.5  between early attachements and later relationships. They suggested a reason for low correlation was because insecure-anxious attachment is more unstable. 

Support- however weak correlation- also cannot draw causal conclusion - meta-analysis!

2) could be that individual's attachment type is determined by the current relationship which is why happily married couples are secure. Attachment theory does suggest that significant relationship expericnes can alter attachment organisation- eg Kirkpatrick+Hazan (1994) found that relationship breakups associated w shift from secure to insecure attachment type. This means that the direction of the relationship between attachment type and adult relationships is unclear and causal conc cannot be drawn. 
weakness- although we know there is a relationship, we dont know its direction, do adult rel affect attachment type, or does attachment type affect adult rel? cannot conclude that our childhood experiences affect adult relationships. 

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Theory 1 AO2

3) Hazan and Shaver (1987) Love quiz
childhood attachment types matching adult relationships style (eg avoidant babies=adults w commitment fears, resistant babies- shy away from relationship formaiton, secure- have long, secure relationships). Proportions of each attachment type mirrored the proportions in ainsworth's study.  
supporting- but suffers from deficits of self report research- SDB+DC. 

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Theory 1 AO2

Research support for influence of childhood abuse:

4)Berenson+Anderson (2006)

adult women who had been abused in childhood later displayed negative reactions, eg expectation of rejection+emotional distancing to other ppl , but only when that person reminded them of their abusive parent. They concluded this transference could lead to those who had been abused behaving inappropiately in their relationships as a result of what they had learned from their relationship w the abusive parent.
Supporting- those relationships where children were abused impacted on their actions within relationships. lacks external validity- it is gender bias-only looks at female abuse victims. To extrapulate this info on to males would be challenging- male behaviour in relationships differs from female...would be unlikely to behave in the same way subsequent to childhood abuse. 

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Theory 2 AO2

Gender differences: 

Richard+Schneider 2005- girls more likely to have intimate friendships than boys- report care and security in their relationships w other girls.

2)Other research (erwin 1993) found that boys relationships tend to be more competitive- fact attributed to the greater play in competitive games. In contrast, girls more likely to engage in co-operative and sharing activities - erwin claims sex differences have been emphasised and similarities overlooked. 

Negative effects: 
Although research suggests romantic relationships in adolescence can be pos, also can be negative- Neemann et all found romantic involvement in middle adolescence was associated w a decrease in academic achievement+increases in conduct problems. In late adolescence, romantic relaitonships no longer had these effects- shows that the timing of one's involvement influences the affect the relationship has on them.Roisman et al- no effect of romantic relationships at 20 on romantic relationships at 30. inconsistent evidence!

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IDA

Methodology:

-self report - heavily dominates the research 
-ethics- researching sexual and physical abuse - SSR - protection from psych harm 
-questioning about sensitive experiences - brings back challenging memories and distress

Determinism:
-research suggests early childhood experiences have a fixed effect on adult relationships- suggests those insecurely attached doomed to neg rel. research has shown this isnt the case- most insecurely attached go on to form healthy relationships

Cultural bias:

western biased research- collectivist vs individualist- different child rearing practices.. impact of childhood attachment on adult relationships in uk/usa will differ from the impact in japan/israel (collectivist)

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