Object relations theory, although having some variations, focuses on the significance of early childhood experiences in a person’s adult life. It concentrates on the relations of a child with the most important people, mainly parents. Moreover, object relations theorists claim that “the child develops an unconscious representation of significant objects in his or her environment” (Burger, 2015, p. 142). Consequently, the image of a mother or a father provides grounds for thinking about the other people when a child becomes an adult. The nature-nurture debate should also be considered in relation to object relations theory. Considering the attention of theorists to the fact that children reflect their surrounding unconsciously, it can be concluded that environment is the most important factor contributing to personality development in object relations theory.
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Burger, J.M. (2015). Personality (9th ed.). Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.