The Influence of Childhood on Adult Relationships

Parent-Child Relationships

  • Attachment, Caregiving and Sexuality
  • What we experience as romantic love in adulthood is an integration of three behavioural systems acquired in infaceny: attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems.
  • Attachment is related to the concept of the internal working model.
  • 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 infants to expec tthe same in later relationships.
  • Sometimes, the internal working model leads to an attachment disorder.
  • individuals who suffered from an avoidant attachment more likely to hold the view that sex without love is pleasureable
  • Effects of Childhood Abuse on Later Relationships
  • Physical abuse has a number of negative effects on adult psychological functioning.
  • Individuals having physical abuse are more likely to report increased rates of depression anger and anxiety.
  • Childhood sexual abuse has also been associaites with psychological impairment in adult life. 
  • Many victims of sexual abuse experience difficulties forming healthy relationships in adulthood.
  • Damage to trust. 
  • Difficulty forming healthy attachments and formed disorgansied attachments


  • Parental Relationships - Research Support
  • Fraley conducted a meta analysis finding correlations from .10 to .50 between early attachment type and later relationships.
  • A reason for low correlations may be because insecure anxious attachment is more unstable.
  • A key question concerning the stability of attachment type could be that an individuals attachment type is determined by the current relationship , why happily married people are secure.
  • Attachment theory does suggest that significant relationship experiences may alter attachment organisation.
  • Relationships break ups associated with


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