Effects Of Early Experience On Adult Relationships

628 Words3 Pages
Bowlby proposed that an internal working model (IWM) developed in childhood will determine or affect later adult relationships and how successful they are. Ainsworth’s strange situation helped develop three main types of attachment: secure, resistant and avoidant. Secure children develop a positive model of themselves and relationships as their primary caregiver was sensitive, emotionally responsive and supportive. Resistant children have parents who were inconsistent in their care giving, resulting in the child having a negative image of themself - often seeking attention but not finding comfort when they receive it. Avoidant children often have rejecting parents, which leads to them developing an internal model which makes them think they are unacceptable and unworthy. The continuity hypothesis provides an explanation for why these early experience which lead to certain attachment types go on to affect relationships in adult life, as attachment type remains fairly stable over a lifetime. The internal working model developed in childhood influences a person’s expectations and attitudes towards relationships. The theory predicts that securely attached people are more likely to have stable relationships, compared to resistant types who are likely to be clingy and avoidant types who aren’t comfortable in relationships. Hazan & Shaver conducted an experiment which lends support to Bowlby’s concept of the IWM. They collected a sample from an advertisement in an American magazine, giving the participants a three part questionnaire which assessed their attachment type, their current and previous relationship experiences and their relationship with their parents. They found that securely attached people had the happiest and most satisfying relationships, avoidant types were uncomfortable being close and therefore didn’t seek out relationships and resistant types were
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