The aim of this study was to estimate how adults perceive that significant others in their lives have affected their development. Within the theme (i) loss and change, it can be seen that Chloe’s life and mental state have been affected by her vertical relationships (child-parent). This is in line with the observation of Bowlby (1969/82 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp. 28-29) that the vertical relationships (child-parent) of individuals have a significant effect on their mental life contributing to their psychological well-being.
Chloe accentuates this observation by vividly describing the impact of the psychological changes to her primary caretaker (mother) from playful and fun to depressed and dismissive, on her own psychological way of thinking and being. The sudden loss and subsequent changes deprived young Chloe of a “secure base” which sets the basis for future reactions and relationships (Wood et al, 2007, p. 22).Chloe positioned her childhood within the insecure, anxious ambivalent attachment style identified by Ainsworth et al (1978 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp. 30-31) studying attachment patterns of infants. Chloe tried to counter this by taking up various responsibilities to portray herself as a strong and responsible person as identified in the theme (ii) responsibilities. Hazan and Shaver (1987 as cited in Wood et al, 2007, pp. 23-24) found by means of their ‘love quiz’ studies, that individuals tend to carry this forward into their adult-adult relationships later in life.
The adult relationships of Chloe seem to conform to this finding in that she struggled to escape her insecure childhood attachment type by holding onto her responsibility towards her mother’s interests – the same way she relinquished her own childhood innocence by taking on the responsibility of filling both the physical and psychological void left by her father’s absence. In her early childhood Chloe gives the idea that this process is, as per the claim of Bowlby (1969/82 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp. 28-29), irreversible in that she carried this feeling of responsibility for her mother’s happiness into her marriage in such a strong way that it resulted in the break-down of her marriage further emphasising the findings of Hazan and Shaver (1987 as cited in Wood et al, 2007, pp.
23-24).Main and Goldwyn (1984 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp. 26-27) argued that an individual can, in contrast to the claim of change resistance by the IWM (Bowlby, 1969/82 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp.
28-29), transform their IWM as is evident in the path from insecure childhood to earned security in the theme (iii) emotional needs. Chloe was left with unfulfilled emotional needs after the profound psychological change of her mother due to the loss of her father.This continued throughout her later relationship with her father and her marriage. She managed to work through her relationship with her father and found a strong and positive relationship with her new partner enabling her to revise her IWM of herself and herself in relation to others. This is in line with the claims of attachment theorists Rutter, Quinton & Hill (1990 as cited in Wood et al, 2007, p. 27) and Main and Goldwin (1984 as cited in: Wood et al, 2007, pp. 26-27) arguing that positive adult-adult relationships can earn an individual security.Chloe brings the various concepts of the attachment theory perspectives together in the theme (iv) understanding/acceptance.
She firstly reflects on the effect of the horizontal relationships on later vertical relationships such as those of her mother and her own failed marriage. She goes on by emphasising her paradigm shift in accepting and understanding the characteristics of significant others in her life (being her mother and later her father) and concludes by illustrating how she managed to successfully change her IWM earning her security and eventual happiness.In conclusion, it can be seen that childhood attachments have an influence on the development and latter relationships of Chloe. She illustrates her own maturity process through her ability to change her own internal working model in her path from insecure childhood to earned security.
This seems to give emphasis to the research question asking if adults do perceive that the significant others, in this case the parents of Chloe; have an influence on their development. Chloe illustrates how vertical relationships in her childhood had telling effects on her own psychological well-being and internal working model. Having said that, she also underlines the theoretical understanding by attachment theorists that this is not a fixed but a reversible process. She does this by explaining how she, through reflective functioning, managed to change from an insecure childhood to earned security in later life.Reflexive analysisDuring the initial data familiarisation and subsequent categorisation of items I constantly found myself mentally drawing parallels between Chloe’s narrative and aspects of my own childhood. Although different in nature and less centered on an initial dramatic event (i.
e. loss of a parent), I could relate strongly with the emotional struggles and childhood atmosphere of “a child should be seen and not be heard” view, as described by Chloe. This might have resulted in biasness in the identification of certain themes and patterns of meaning extracted.I noted a lack of emotional expressions (i.e.
body language, voice bending) other than deliberate descriptive words (i.e. “grumpy”) by the participant (see Appendix 2). This may be due to the fact that it was a reconstruction whereby the actress did not correctly portray the initial participant; or due to the fact that I expected a more “fire-in-the-belly” approach due to my own personal experiences and cultural practices.
Contributing further to this observation, may be the fact that the initial participant, who is portrayed as being totally at ease with the researcher and presence of recording equipment, may have talked about this aspect of her life on a regular basis or might have been personally familiar with the researcher. This may possibly also have had an influence on my own analysis of the interview – if I was more familiar with the participant I might have noticed and emphasised various other patterns of meaning expressed by Chloe.Having said that and being fully aware of the fact that researcher biasness does play a role in the qualitative data analysis, I ensured (as far as possible) that I kept my focus on the initial research question, epistemology and ontology as well as the theoretical framework overarching the research. Finally, I am also aware that my personal lack of experience in this area may contribute to the ultimate data analysis presented in this report.