Continuity and discontinuity in the development of social relationships have been investigated by reviewing the course of social bonds and by analyzing the effects of a sound intimate relationship in adulthood in conjunction with recalled maternal bonding on the quality of life among students.
A questionnaire-based study of 207 students was conducted. Perceptions of maternal bonding were designated as being representative of one of the two contrasting bonding types “optimal maternal bonding” and “affectionless maternal control” assessed by the Parental Bonding Instrument (PBI) and combined with perceptions of a sound intimate adult relationship measured by the Family Assessment Measure III Dyadic Relationships Scale (FAM-III-D). Quality of life and general health data were determined by using the World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL-BREF) instrument.
Students who reported “optimal maternal bonding” had intimate relationships in adulthood that were of significantly higher quality than those who recalled “affectionless maternal control”. Students who recalled “optimal maternal bonding” and described their intimate relationship as sound showed significantly higher scores in all domains of quality of life and indicated having better general health than those who reported “affectionless maternal control” and a sound intimate relationship.
A sound intimate relationship in adulthood does not appear to compensate the impact of a recalled maternal bonding behavior in terms of affectionless control, on quality of life. Furthermore, results seem to support the hypothesis of continuity of the development of social relationships among psychologically well individuals based on the association between maternal bonding and later intimate relationships.