By Ann Birch (auth.)

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This and other studies into the effects of family size seem to suggest that relationships between children and adults are still the most important to many aspects of development. Grandparents Relatively few grandparents share the same home as their grandchildren, though many live fairly close, and those who live further away tend to keep in touch through letters, phonecalls and visits. In the 1930s and 1940s, there were many negative stereotypes of grandparents. In particular, some psychiatrists and social workers regarded grandmothers as too strict and punitive and likely to have a harmful effect on their grandchildren.

Now consider who are the people in your life who provide you with the most support and reassurance - those you would be most likely to confide in, who would look after you if you were ill, who would offer you advice or financial help. It would be very surprising if these were not the people you have placed in the inner circle. Levitt (1991) carried out a series of studies with people at different stages of the lifespan from young adulthood to old age and from different cultural groups. He found a marked consistency among responses.

However, it has been shown that when a child's home circumstances changed, for example, parental divorce, moving house, starting nursery school, security of attachment often changed also, either from secure to insecure or the other way round (Thompson and Lamb, 1983). In sum, most research found stability over time in security of attachment except in some cases where there was a marked change in the child's home circumstances. 3. Parental responsiveness In a follow-up study, Ainsworth et al. (1986) found that when observed in the home, babies' behaviour was very similar to that observed in the laboratory situation.

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