is the degree to which a person acts quickly without deliberation, movesfrom one activity to the next, and finds it difficult to practice self-control.
is the tendency to be outgoing and friendly and to enjoy the company of others (McAdams, 1989, pp. 136-137).According to this theory, persons are inherently born with tendencies to develop these fourtemperaments to different levels. These dimensions are present in infancy and continue togrow throughout childhood and adulthood. The social environment reacts to thesetendencies, modifying and shaping them in different ways. Such modifications are theresults of interpersonal relationships that begin to form during early life. The development of a unique interpersonal style is a function of temperament (McAdams, 1989).
The Mother-Child Relationship
A human being's first intimate relationship is the mother-child relationship. According toFreud (1949), a human being's first encounter with intimate behavior is with his or hermother during the act of breast-feeding. "The act of sucking is the most primitive manner of knowing the innermost self of another, and to suck the other into one's innermost"(McAdams, 1989, p. 139). During infancy, the baby obtains nourishment and pleasure fromsucking at the mother's breast, thus reducing tension caused by the hunger drive.Engagement in such a tension-relieving activity during this early stage serves as theprototype for relationships that develop later on in life. Life-stage-related changes in stress,tension, and needs are based on the outcome of such coping attempts formed duringinfancy. The need for security and comfort play an important role in shaping the interactionswith caregivers (McAdams, 1989, pp. 71-81).
According to the Bowlby and Ainsworth (1991), the love between a mother and an infant isthe result of an attachment bond formed during the first year of life. Interactions between achild and his or her mother form behavioral patters that are reflected in later relationships.An example of the development of personality as a result of this bond can be seen in thesecurely attached infant. As a result of sensitivity and responsiveness on the part of thecaregiver, an infant may develop a "secure" attachment style (Rothbard & Shaver, 1994).Infants who develop "secure" personality types feel confident and at ease when relating toothers. They learn how to take turns, how to lead and follow, and how to express andreceive. The attachment bond serves as a prototype and provides the earliest pattern forwarm and close relationships (McAdams, 1989, pp. 140-143).
Interactions with Peers
During preschool years, a child's need for autonomy and individuation influences his or herintimate interactions with peers. Children look to share and communicate while enjoying thecompany of their peers. These interactions are based on the quest for coexistence betweentheir newfound independence and the love they experienced during infancy.Aspects of the parent-child relationship affect the efficacy of children's adaptations.Competencies acquired through interactions with parents are reflected in children'sinteractions with peers. In laboratory studies, children who show more self-reliance andcontrol are found to have parents who are nurturing. In contrast, children who are lessautonomous are found to have parents who are more permissive (Prager, 1995, p. 89). Innursery school and kindergarten, children who had developed a secure attachment bondduring infancy are described by their teachers as more socially competent and popular. Theyare observed to show more dominance and initiative (McAdams, 1989, p. 143).Such peer interactions characterized by autonomy, sensitivity, empathetic concern, andability to verbalize emotions reflect the formation of intimate friendships later on (Prager,