A QUALITITIVE STUDY SHOWING ADULTS PERCEPTION OF THE EFFECT THAT SIGNIFICANT OTHERS HAVE ON THEIR DEVELOPMENT
The study examines how adults perceive the influence of ‘significant others’ on their lives in the context of developmental psychology and attachment theory. Thematic analysis was conducted on a previously filmed DVD and it’s transcript of a semi-structured interview. Carrying out the analysis the researcher has found themes showing that ‘significant others’ do in fact influence psychological development and relationships in later life. Findings also prove the theory of ‘earned security’- attachment style that we develop during childhood might indeed be changed in adulthood through healthy relationships, sense of security and support.
Ontological assumptions adopted for this research state that people are sense making and capable of reflection on their experiences and they produce and read meaning. The study was conducted using deductive approach within the social constructionist perspective and focused on lifespan development and attachment theory.
Psychologists working with lifespan development theory try to understand how, to what extent and by whom our development is influenced. In our lives we connect with people through vertical relationships- like the ones with our parents or caregivers and horizontal relationships- for example with school or work peers (Shaffer, 1996, cited in Wood et al., 2007, p.8). There was some controversy around the issue of higher importance of one kind of relationships over the other, for example Harris(1999, cited in Wood et al., p.20) states that it is peers not parents that influence us more. Pioneering, sourced in multiple disciplines work of Bowlby (cited in Wood et al., 2007, p.28-29) established that children have a primary attachment relationships with a caregiver who is their secure base and that they develop ‘internal working models’ of such relationship. A child needs a
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