Discuss the Influence of Childhood and Adolescence on Adult Relationships

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Discuss the influence of childhood and adolescence on adult relationships Psychologists have identified ways in which experiences in childhood and adolescence tend to influence adult relationships. John Bowlby (1982) was the first to suggest that the attachment styles we develop in early childhood affect future relationships. He said that based on experiences with the primary attachment figure individuals develop an internal working model, which is a cognitive framework of expectations to help understand and interact with the world, including future relationships. Sroufe and Fleeson (1986) elaborated that the internal working model includes the individual’s expectations of emotional experiences, how emotional discomfort is likely to be handled by the individual and the individual’s expectations of how reliable another person is likely to be. Adult relationships are therefore effected by the internal working model according to early attachment styles; this is a concept referred to as the continuity hypothesis, i.e. later emotional behaviour is a continuation of early attachment styles. A study by Hazan and Shaver (1987), entitled the Love Quiz, identified just how early attachment styles effect adult relationships. They published a questionnaire in an American newspaper assessing early attachment type and adult relationship behaviour, to which they received 620 replies. They found the three attachment types consistently lead to certain adult relationships: securely attached individuals who remembered a close and warm relationship with their parents and between their parents also reported stable and loving adult relationships in addition to beliefs like love is enduring, whereas insecurely attached individuals who remembered an unfair and rejecting relationship with their parents also reported difficult relationships, falling in and out of love frequently in addition

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