"We cannot assume that early inadequate experience will some how be cancelled by later experience. Lasting consequences of early inadequate experiences may be subtle and complex...But there will be consequences" (Sroufe, 1979). Discuss.
Alan Sroufe (1979) stated that lasting consequences of early inadequate experiences may be subtle and complex but there will be consequences. Whilst there are numerous ways in which these consequences may manifest, one important effect is the development of adult love relationships. Hazan & Shaver (1987, cited in Bartholomew, 1990) defined love as an attachment process experienced somewhat differently by each individual person because of variations in their attachment histories. Enduring love relationships are probably the most important attachment relationship in adult life. The marital relationship is the primary source of social support in adulthood, (Coyne & Delongis, 1986, cited in Bartholomew, 1990). This essay will focus upon how early inadequate experiences will influence the affectionate bonds in adult love relationships, and will briefly outline and evaluate some of the empirical studies in this area.
John Bowlby proposed one of the first theories regarding the effects of early experiences on later development. Bowlby theorized that an infant internalises a "working model" of the self that is influenced by interactions and expectations of the primary caregiver. The accessibility and responsiveness that the child experiences with the caregiver will determine the child's working model of the self. If the caregiver is responsive and tentative to the child's needs, this provides a secure base from which the child may follow his/her curiosity thus allowing him/her to explore the environment and develop competence in new activities. If however the child experiences anxiety about the caregivers' responsiveness and availability the child restricts his/her exploration and mastery of the world.
Bowlby (1969 & 1973, cited in Walters, Weinfield & Hamilton, 2000) states that...