INTIMACY: IDENTIFYING EMPIRICAL DIMENSIONS AND ASSESSING DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGE

SUSAN MIGDAL, Fordham University

Abstract

The present study investigated (1) the construct validity of intimacy, and (2) the developmental salience of intimacy from adolescence to midlife. These objectives taken together reflected the more general aim of providing empirical support for personality changes that have been hypothesized to occur beyond early life. The first objective was investigated by selecting personality measures that were predicted to parallel the theoretical descriptions of intimacy (convergent scales). Additional personality measures were chosen to identify dimensions not included in the intimacy construct (discriminant scales). The second objective was examined in terms of self-perceived change and asked adolescent, young, and middle-aged men and women to provide subjective assessment of their current, past, and future personality characteristics.^ With regard to the first aim, factor analyses revealed that the various intimacy measures loaded on several rather than one factor and thereby suggested that intimacy may be a multifaceted rather than unidimensional construct. Correlational analyses revealed that the intimacy measures generally correlated more highly with one another than they did with the nonintimacy measures and thereby revealed dimensions that existed outside of the intimacy construct. The combined correlational and factor analyses thus provided a more specific understanding of the empirical properties of intimacy.^ Results of the second aim provided mixed support for the predictions that intimacy would be most salient during young adulthood and that nonintimacy measures would reveal no systematic variation from adolescence to middle age. That is, each dimension of select intimacy and nonintimacy measures showed a unique pattern that varied according to the age and sex of the participants. Thus, patterns of self-perceived change and stability from adolescence to midlife appeared to be considerably more complex than was suggested by developmental theory.^ While the various age and sex groups revealed complex patterns of self-perceived change, a clear but unexpected finding in the present study was that women consistently perceived themselves to be higher on intimacy than did males regardless of the temporal period that was being investigated. The finding thus suggested that women's development places continuing importance on intimacy throughout adolescence, young adulthood, and middle age. ^

Subject Area

Developmental psychology

Recommended Citation

MIGDAL, SUSAN, "INTIMACY: IDENTIFYING EMPIRICAL DIMENSIONS AND ASSESSING DEVELOPMENTAL CHANGE" (1982). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8213250.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8213250

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