Theories and research into adult attachment suggests that the effects of the close emotional bond between parent and child in early life could be responsible for the bond that develops between adults in emotionally intimate relationships during adult life. In line with this, the aim of this report is to offer an overview of the history of attachment theories and the key theoretical ideas through using thematic analysis of a semi structured interview. Findings for this study come an interview with a middle-aged British woman about her own experiences in terms of relationships with parental figures during early age and how those relationships have affected her adult relationships.
Lifespan psychology is concerned with the ways in which we change and develop throughout our life and aims to find out firstly if “developmental change in just one aspect of our psychology (personality, biological and cognitive factors) will have an impact on some or all of the others” (Wood, Littleton & Oates, 2007) and secondly if, these factors are affected more by nature (internal factors) or nurture (external factors). One of the theories called upon to explore this is attachment theory which was first introduced by John Bowlby (1907-1990). A British psychoanalyst who was intrigued by the bonds between parent and child and the high levels of distressed he witnessed by the child during separation from the parent. Bowlby believed the distress behaviours shown by the child such as “crying and searching are adaptive responses to separation…from the primary attachment figure” (Fraley, 2010) providing an “evolutionary function” as the primary caregiver provides the essentials for survival at that point.
Models of attachment theories such as Bowlby’s, believe that as well as evolutionary functions, attachments in early life form the platform for which relationships in later
References: Farley, C, (2010) Retrieved 12/04/2012 http://internal.psychology.illinois.edu/~rcfraley/attachment.htm Stevens, R. (2007). Person psychology: psychoanalytic and humanistic perspectives. In Stevens, R. (Eds). Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., pp171-226). Milton Keynes: The Open University. Wood, C., Littleton, K. & Oates, J. (2007). Lifespan development. In Wood, C., Littleton, K. & Oates, J. (Eds), Mapping Psychology (2nd ed., pp.1-64). Milton Keynes: The Open University.