Infant Attachment Styles And The Resounding Effect On Adult Relationships

Infant Attachment Styles And The Resounding Effect On Adult Relationships

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There is much debate surrounding the subject of infant attachment styles and the resounding effect they have on adult relationships. Attachment theory highlights the influence of early experience on shaping children’s conceptualization of responsiveness and trustworthiness of a significant other (Frayley, Roisman Booth-LaForce, Owen & Holland, 2013). The theory also suggests that an individual that is cared for consistently and responsively will assume that others will be supportive and available when necessary (Ainsworth Blehar, Waters & Wall, 1978). This assumption is influential of the way individuals control attachment behaviour and can consequently effect social development and interpersonal relations (Frayley et al., 2013). A prevalent facet of attachment theory is that an individual’s attachment style in infancy is representative of their adult attachment classification (Ainsworth & Bell, 1970). However, infant attachment styles are not concrete and in particular circumstances are prone to change. The Strange Situation is the most prevalent method to determine the quality of an infant’s attachment to a caregiver, classifying a child as secure, insecure-avoidant or insecure resistant (Ainsworth et al., 1978). In this essay arguments supporting and opposing the proposal that infant attachment styles are strong and enduring and influence relationships into adulthood will be reviewed and compared, ultimately concluding that infant attachment styles are vulnerable to change and refuting its relevance. Firstly, a study supporting attachment security through to adulthood will be reviewed as well as consideration of the strength and limitations of the study. Next, a study that negates attachment security through to adulthood will b...


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...imitation with using a middle-class sample (Waters et al., 2000). Another limitation of the study was that not all the change that occurred was a result of environmental change and no justification was provided as to why this occurred. There were also discrepancies in the data such as reliability and validity problems in the attachment measure certainty due to scoring disagreement (Waters et al., 2000). With consideration of the strengths and limitations and consideration of the data found in the study it is clear that there was a change in some individuals infant attachment classification and which indicates infant attachment styles are susceptible to change. Despite the majority of participant retaining the same attachment style change was still found, therefore, infant attachment styles do not have a strong and enduring influence on relationships into adulthood.

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