Influence of early attachment on childhood and adult relationships, including the role of an internal working model

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Relationships in later childhood:

  • Attachment type is associated with the quality of peer relationships in childhood - securely attached children go on to form the best quality childhood friendships while insecurely attached children have diffuculties later on (Kelms 1994)
  • Bullying behaviour in particular can be predicted by attachment type. Rowan Myron-Wilson and Peter Smith 1998 assessed attachment type and bullying involvement using standard questionnaires in 196 children aged 7-11 in London. Secure children were unlikely to be involved in bullying . Insecure avoidant were most likely to be victims and insecure resistant were most likely to be the bullies.

Relationships in adulthood with romantic partners:

  • in a study of both romantic relationships and friendships Gerard McCarthy 1999 studied 40 adult women who had been assessed as infants to determine attachment type. Those assessed as securely attached had the best adult relationships/freindships; adults classed as insecure resistent struggled to maintain freindships while insecure avoidant struggled with intimacy in romantic relationships.
  • Cindy Hazan and Philip Shaver 1987 conducted a classic study of the association between attachment and adult relationships. they analysed the responses to 620 `love quiz` responses, which had three sections. section 1 assessed respondants current/ most recent relationship, the second section assessed general love experiences such as number of partners while the third section assessed attachment type by askin them to choose which statement was the most applicable to them. 56% were securely attached with 25% insecure avoidant


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