Influence of early attachment on later relationships

  • AO1:
  • Internal working model:
  • The quality of a child's first attachment is crucual because it provides a template that will affect the nature of their future relationships. This is due to the influence of the internal working model created by that first attachment. 
  • A child whose first experience is of a loving relationship with a reliable caregiver assumes this is how all relationships work and are meant to be. They will then seek out functional relationships and behave functioanlly within them .
  • A child with bad experiences if their first attachment will being these experiences to bear on later relationships. This may mean they struggle to form relationships in the first place or they don't behave appropriately in them. 
  • Securely attached infants tend to go on to form the best quality childhood friendships (Kerms). Securely attached infants are less likely to be involved in bullying whereas insecure-resistant are most likely to be victims of bullying and insecure-resistant are most likely to be bullies (Myron-Wilson and Smith). 
  • People base their parenting style on their internal working model so attachment type tends to be passed on through generations of a family. 
  • Key study:
  • In a study of attachment and both romantic relationships and friendships McCarthy studied 40 adult women who had been assessed when they were infants to establish their early attachment type. Those assessed as securely attached had the best adult relationships and friendships. Insecure resistant had problems maintaining friendships and insecure-avoidant struggled with


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