A lot can happen during a life—career changes, marriages, divorces, births, deaths, not to mention all the small stuff in between—but childhood lays an important foundation that can last a lifetime. A long-running study published in September 2016 in Psychological Science found that men who grew up in warmer, more nurturing family environments had stronger relationships as older adults. The research is a continuation of Harvard University's Study of Adult Development, a longitudinal study of adult health and well-being that has spanned almost eight decades. At its outset in 1938, researchers enrolled male Harvard students and inner-city Boston teens and used lengthy interviews to rate the quality of the boys' family environments. Different researchers then followed up with the men in midlife to assess how successfully they were able to manage negative emotions. In the most recent study, co-authors Robert Waldinger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, and Marc Schulz, a psychologist at Bryn Mawr College, conducted in-depth interviews with the men, now in their 80s, to determine their level of attachment to their partners. Waldinger and Schulz determined that regardless of socioeconomic standing the men raised in warmer family environments used healthier strategies to manage their negative emotions in midlife and were also more securely attached to their partners late in life. These results suggest our childhood environment affects our relationships not only into early adulthood but for the rest of our life.[NewsNaira]
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