Outline and evaluate the influence of childhood and/or adolescent experiences on later adult relationships. (24 marks)

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Outline and evaluate the influence of childhood and/or adolescent experiences on later adult relationships. (24 marks)

        June 11

Bowlby argued that attachments are innate and therefore instinctive. With others they agreed that through the role of social releasers alongside to other factors, infants form one main attachment to a main caregiver, i.e. monotropy. This first relationship provides a basis, so in essence acts as a template or an internal working model (IWM). This IWM acts as a template for future relationships, i.e. all adult relationships are a continuation of the first type of relationship an individual formed.

The continuity hypothesis will therefore suggest that the child’s attachment classification, i.e. secure or insecure, may influence their popularity with their peers. A securely attached type should be more confident in interactions with friends and therefore more popular. This sort of trend will also be seen in adolescent relationships as those who are securely attached will gain friendships which are more intimate, with higher levels of self-disclosure of inner feeling and secrets than an insecure child would. Bee (1995) argues that teenagers use their peer group to make their transition from their protected place within the family to the wider adult world.

Hazan and shaver in 1987 studied the continuity hypothesis in adult romantic relationships though their ‘Love Quiz’. They set out the question ‘Is love in adulthood directly related to the attachment type as a child?’ in a newspaper. Descriptions of 3 attitudes towards adult relationships were published. These were based on Ainsworth et al.’s attachment types: secure, insecure avoidant and insecure ambivalent. Readers were asked to choose which one suited them best and to explain their relationship with their caregiver.

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The results found that the attachment type chosen was significantly related to how they felt about adult relationships. Secure people (56%) were more likely to enjoy secure relationships as an adult because they believe in lasting love and trust. They are also not afraid of closeness and have high self esteem. Insecure avoidant people (25%) were more likely to find it difficult to trust people and were doubtful about the existence of love. Insecure ambivalent people (19%) found it hard to get others as close to them as they wanted because they experience emotional extremes of jealousy and passion as ...

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