The Effects of Childhood and Adolescent Experiences on Adult Relationships.

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The work of Bowlby suggested that attachment is innate. He also emphasised on the importance of caregiver sensitivity and the internal working model leading onto the continuity hypothesis. The internal working model suggests that as infants, we internalise a template of what to expect from relationships using our primary attachment figure. This then develops to an attachment type as found by Mary Ainsworth. The effect on adult relationships of these attachment types developed as a child however was initially investigated by Shaver and Hazer who put out a questionnaire in a newspaper that questioned couples about their childhood experiences (which would determine attachment type as a child) and their current relationships. Here they found a clear link between the two for example, avoidant attachment type as a child would now find sex without love more pleasurable. This shows that early attachment type determined by the relationship of the infant with their primary caregiver can impact and internalise behaviour in adult romantic relationships. To support this, a meta analysis conducted by Fraley found a correlation of early attachment type and relationship type to have a correlation between 0.10 – 0.50. Although this is a positive correlation, it is relatively low although psychologists explained this by concluding that this may be because those that are insecure avoidant tend to be inconsistent. Further developing research also found that break ups in relationships can also often be due to a shift in attachment type for example from going from secure to insecure. Additionally, in childhood experiences, the experience of infants with peers has also been found to affect adult relationships. Qualter and Munn explained that when children have friends, they tend to internalise specific experiences with them from which they evaluate what they think about others and then
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