There is a growing interest on the long-term effects of early attachment. In this paper, early attachment is being discussed on its relation to romantic relationships. Studies have shown that there are positive lasting effects from having early secure attachment and negative effects for not having early secure attachment. This paper argues that the positive effects increase the quality of romantic relationships and the negative effects diminish it. A new longitudinal study will be done to see if there is a correlation between early attachment and attachment in romantic relationships. Participants are observed at age 3, 5, and 8 with a Strange Situation and naturalistic observation. At age 12, participants will complete a Youth Self-Report. This report will be done again at age 16 along with a questionnaire on relationships. Another questionnaire will be completed at age 20. The results should show that the participants with early secure attachment had secure attachment in their romantic relationships too.
The Direct Relationship Between Early Secure Attachment and Secure Attachment in Romantic Relationships Attachment is an emotional bond that one person forms towards a specific individual. It binds them together in space and endures over time. Attachment is both discriminating and specific. John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth, leading and pioneer psychologists on attachment theory, describe the hallmark of secure attachment relationship as the apparently purposeful balance between proximity seeking and exploration over time and contexts. Bowlby’s main points on his attachment theory were as follows: 1) A child has an innate need to attach to one main figure; 2) A child should receive the continuous care of this single most important attachment figure for approximately the first two years of life; 3) The long term effects of maternal deprivation could include delinquency, reduced intelligence, increased aggression, depression, affectionless psychopathy; 4) short term separation from an attachment figure leads to distress; 5) The child’s attachment relationship with their primary caregiver leads to the development of an internal working model (Isaacson, 2007). The effects from not having early secure attachment affect later relationships in life (Kim & Swaim, 2006). Having early secure attachment is extremely important for future romantic relationships. By seeing the direct relationships between early attachment and romantic attachment, we can understand the importance of creating a secure base for children in the early stages of development. It is important to have early secure attachment in order to have solid romantic relationships in the future. There are multiple methods to determine early secure attachment and relationship attachment. The strange situation has been the preferred procedure to assess secure attachment in infants and toddlers. “It is from the patterning of an infant’s behavior, when seeking proximity to and physical contact with his mother and when exploring his surroundings in the strange situation, that researchers infer the quality of an infant’s emotional bond to his mother” (Posada, 2006). This procedure has been modified from Mary Ainsworth’s original strange situation method designed for infants (up to 18 months). The tailored strange situation can be used from age 3 on up. It is designed to create stress from separation from an attachment figure. The original method creates stress by having the mother leave the room, while a caretaker stays in the room with the baby, and then shortly returns. For preschooler’s strange situation, the separation period is slightly longer, the gender of the stranger in the room, and sometimes the caretaker leaves too leaving the child go through two separations. Researchers study the child’s expressions, emotions, and