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Attributes Of Intimate Social Relationships And Personal Identity

1363 words - 6 pages

The reason why I chose this topic and article is because I personally feel that the attributes of intimate social relationships and personal identity are very important. Neither intimacy nor individual development can exist alone. The birth of a child initiates a human being into a life-long process of mutual adaptation between the child, his or her intimate relationship partners and the broader social environment. Intimate interactions and relationships affect adaptations to the changing needs and stresses that evolve with each stage of development throughout one's lifetime. Intimate interactions from early life serve as the basis upon which relationships later in life are formed. ...view middle of the document...

Starting in adolescence, development of a sense of personal identity becomes another important psychological challenge. Together, intimacy and identity are often described as the main criteria for reaching psychological maturity in early adulthood. Yet, the relationships between these variables have not been adequately described in normal samples of people of the relevant age group, which is the early 20s. To do so was our main aim in this study.
Developmental theorists describe the individual's 20s as a period when the primary tasks are (a) the formation of intimate bonds with others, leading to a capacity for close and stable friendships, marriage, and parenthood; and (b) the attainment of individual identity, especially vocational identity (see Erikson, 1971; Gould, 1972; Levinson, 1986; Vaillant & McArthur, 1972). Erikson (1971, p. 33) defined adulthood in terms of taking care of those to whom one finds oneself committed as one emerges from the identity-forming period of adolescence. The contrast between being taken care of and caring for oneself and others is also central to everyday concepts of what it means to be an adult (Hartley, 1991). Greenberger and Sorensen (1974) offered a model of psychosocial maturity in terms of individual adequacy, interpersonal adequacy, and social adequacy; Paul and White (1990) suggested that the concept of "relationship maturity" can encompass both intimacy and the identity that develops concurrently.
Identity and intimacy status have been studied longitudinally (Adams & Fitch, 1982) and in relation to sex and sex role orientation. Although Erikson (1971) clearly implied a sequence from identity to intimacy and nurturance, research by Hodgson and Fischer (1979), Scheidel and Marcia (1985), and Dyk and Adams (1990) has suggested that, for at least some women, intimacy and identity develop together, whereas for men and some other women the pattern is as described by Erikson.
Researchers have developed several measures of individuals' progress toward intimate social relationships and a sense of personal identity, but none of these measures has been completely accepted. Orlofsky, Marcia, and Lesser (1973) described five statuses of intimacy (isolate, stereotyped, pseudointimate, preintimate, and intimate); Loevinger (1976) used a sentence completion technique to assess successive stages of ego development as impulsive and self-protective, then conformist and conscientious, then autonomous and integrated. Rosenthal, Gurney, and Moore (1981) developed the Erikson Psychosocial Stage Inventory, which received only moderate support in a factor analysis by Gray, Ispa, and Thornburg (1986). Marcia (1966) developed a structured interview to distinguish between individuals with identity diffusion, foreclosure, moratorium, and achievement, based on extent of exploration of, and level of commitment to, occupation, religion, and politics (to which sex role attitudes and personal sexual beliefs were later...

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