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Model Answer for Question 11 Paper 1: AS Psychology, June 2016 (AQA)

AS, A-Level

Last updated 15 May 2017

Section C - Attachment

11 Abi had a happy, secure childhood with parents who loved her very much. She now has two children of her own and loves them very much too. The two children make friends easily and are confident and trusting.

Referring to Abi and her family, explain what psychologists have discovered about the internal working model. [6 marks]

Suggested Answer: Bowlby believed that children develop an internal working model from their monotropic attachment. According to Bowlby, this is usually the mother or a mother substitute. This internal working model is a mental representation which acts a template for future relationships.

Evidence to support the internal working model comes from Hazan and Shaver, who used a questionnaire called the Love Quiz. They found a positive correlation between early childhood experiences and later love experiences. Securely attached children went on to develop secure and happy adult relationships. This supports Bowlby’s idea of an internal working model as it clearly shows that early attachment experiences can affect later adult relationships, through the internal working model.

As Abi had a ‘secure childhood with parents who loved her very much’ this would have led to her developing a positive internal working model, allowing her to go onto form secure attachments with her children ‘who she loves very much’, as suggested by Hazan and Shaver. Furthermore, her children who are also securely attached have gone onto make secure attachments with their friends, as they are ‘confident and trusting’ in their relationships.

Exam Hint: This question was poorly answered and students appeared to struggle with both the psychological content and the application to the STEM. One way to approach this question is to ‘unpick’ the question and consider what mini-questions are contained. For example:

  • Explain what psychologists have discovered about the internal working model
  • Referring to Abi and her family
    • Abi and her parents
    • Abi and her children

By ‘unpicking’ the question and considering each of these different elements, it is easy to access this difficult content. 

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