The internal working model is a system during infancy that determines what we experience as romantic relationships as adults. According to Bowlby, later relationships are likely to be a continuation of early attachment styles (insecure or secure). This internal working model can, in extreme cases, cause them to develop an attachment disorder. Children with attachment disorders may avoid the mutual intimacy of loving family relationships. The cause for this could be because of abuse or neglect.
Also, childhood friendships act as a training ground for important adult relationships. Close friendships involve affection, a sense of alliance, and having someone to confide in. These are all important characteristics in later romantic relationships.
During childhood, friendships are important for development, but they become deeper in adolescence and take on additional importance in relation to the ‘psychological tasks’ facing adolescents. Frey and Rothlisberger found that adolescents have twice as many peer relationships than adult relationships. Adolescents who do not develop peer relationships may have difficulty in establishing their autonomy and engaging in adult relationships.
In evaluation, research supporting the importance of early attachment experiences for shaping adult relationships comes from Simpson (2007). He studied 78 participants at four key points in their life. At age one, age six, age 16 and as young adults. The results showed that the participants who were securely attached as infants were rated as having higher levels of social competence as children and were closer to their friends as 16 year olds. They were also more expressive and emotionally attached to their romantic partners in early adulthood. This study was a longitudinal study which meant that the results are reliable. However we can’t say that it is fully reliable because we