Chapter 10 1 INTIMACY. 2 What do we mean by intimacy?

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  • Chapter 10*Intimacy


    *What do we mean by intimacy?

  • Why Is Intimacy an Adolescent Issue?Not necessarily sexualtrue intimacy is characterized by openness, honesty, self-disclosure, and trustIntimacy becomes an adolescent concern because of normative biological, cognitive, and social changesIntimate relationships first emerge in adolescence

  • Sullivans Developmental progression of needs:need for contact and for tenderness need for adult participation need for peers and peer acceptance Need for intimacyNeed for sexual contact and intimacy with partnerNeed for integration into adult society

    *Theoretical Perspectives

  • Need for intimacy precedes development of romantic or sexual relationshipsCapacity for intimacy first develops in same-sex relationshipsQuality of same-sex friendships is predictive of quality of their later romantic relationships (reverse is not true)Challenge during adolescence is to make the transition between nonsexual, intimate same-sex friendships to sexual, intimate other-sex friendships of late adolescenceSullivans Theory

  • Eriksons View of IntimacyCrisis: Intimacy vs. IsolationIn a truly intimate relationship, two individuals identities fuseNeither persons identity is lost

    *Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent Intimacy

  • Companionship appears before adolescenceIntimacy emerges later Early adolescenceSelf-disclosure and trust emerge as dimensions of friendship*Changes in the nature of friendship

  • Conflicts that adolescents have with friendsOlder adolescents typically have conflicts over private mattersYounger adolescents typically have conflicts over public disrespect

    *Changes in the nature of friendship

  • Adolescents become more knowledgeable about their friendsAdolescents become more responsive to close friends and less controllingFriends become more interpersonally sensitive and show more empathyFriends resolve conflicts more frequently by negotiation or disengagement, not coercion*Changes in the Display of Intimacy

  • Sex Differences in Intimacy

    Girls relationships are more intimate than boys across many different indicatorsGirls disclose more to their friendsGirls are more sensitive and empathic to friendsGirls are more concerned about trust and loyalty


  • Yes, BUTcarries some liabilities (e.g., co-rumination)both sexes have equivalent degrees of intimate knowledge about their best friendswhen boys are with their friends, they are just as likely to share each others emotional stateSex differences in helpfulness are very smallBoys and girls express intimacy in different ways

    Sex Differences in Intimacy

  • Boysconflicts persist for shorter periods of timetypically over issues of power and controlmore likely to escalate into physical aggressionusually resolved without any explicit effortGirlsconflicts persist for longer periods of timetypically about betrayal in the relationshiponly resolved when one of the friends apologizesSex Differences in Friendship Conflicts

  • Changes in the targets of intimacySullivan hypothesized that intimacy with peers replaces intimacy with parentsIntimacy with peers of the opposite sex replaces intimacy with same-sex friends Actually new targets of intimacy are added to old ones*

  • Different types of intimate relationships with parents and peersParent-adolescent relationshipsImbalance of power, teens receive adviceconflicts usually result with a winner and loserAdolescent peer relationshipsMutual, balanced, equal exchangesconflicts more likely to end in compromise

    *Different Roles of Parents and Peers

  • *Dating and Romantic Relationships

  • How old were you?How did you approach the boy/girl you liked?Where did you go?Alone or in a group?How did it go?

    Recall your first date

  • High school dating no longer has the function of mate selectionRomantic relationships are very common, in the past 18 months25% of 12-years-olds reported having one50% of 15-year-olds 70% of 18-year-olds*Dating and Romantic Relationships

  • Dating serves many purposes, besides developing intimacyEstablishing emotional and behavioral autonomy from parentsFurthering development of gender identityLearning about oneself as a romantic partnerEstablishing/maintaining status and popularity in peer group*Dating and Romantic Relationships

  • Dating can mean a variety of thingsgroup activities involving boys and girls casual dating in couplesserious involvement in a steady relationshipTransitions into and out of romantic relationships can be difficult for adolescentsbreakups are the leading cause of the first major depressive episodePatterns of Dating

  • Discover an interest in socializing with potential romantic and sexual partners; relationships last a few weeks (between 11 and 13)Move toward more meaningful dyadic relationships; relationships last about 6 months (from about 14 to 16)Begin to think about the long-term survival and growth of romantic relationships; average relationship is over a year (around 17 or 18)

    *3 Phases of Teen Romance

  • Early and intensive dating before age 15Stunting effect on psychosocial developmentLate BloomersRetarded social development, excessive dependency on parents, feelings of insecurity*Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development

  • During adolescence, friends: serve as sounding boards for future plansprovide advice on a range of identity-related matters contribute to adolescents self-esteemIndividuals with satisfying close friendships do better than those without them, in adolescence and in adulthood Psychologically healthy adolescents are better able to make and maintain close relationships with others *The bottom line

  • *Have a Great Break!

    Why is this important? Why do we care about Intimacy? Why do we study it?Developmental issues: Intimacy grows from something and transforms into something, from childhood to adulthoodBecause the construct itself is vital. Just like other topics covered in class, where would we be without it?**During adolescence, remarkable changes take place in our capacity to form close relationships with other people and, consequently, in the types of relationships we form. *Page 332contact and for tenderness - infancyadult participation - early childhoodpeers and peer acceptance - middle childhood

    According to Sullivan, the need for intimacy emerges in preadolescence and is typically satisfied through same-sex friendships. During adolescence, this need is integrated with sexual impulses and desires, and the focus of the adolescents interpersonal concerns are redirected toward romantic relationships with peers.

    Food for Thought: According to Sullivan, intimacy first develops in same-sex friendships. Given the differences in the ways that males and females are socialized how might we expect male and female versions of intimacy to differ? Page 334


    Differs with Sullivan, who says that the development of intimacydevelopment of a coherent sense of self*Page 338 *Page 339During middle adolescence (ages 13 15) concerns about loyalty and anxieties over rejections become more pronounced and may temporarily overshadow concerns about intimate self-disclosure. *Pages 342-343

    Food for Thought: Do you remember your first intimate friendship? What made the relationship different from other friendships that you had previously had? Page 343*Food for Thought: What aspects of the transition into adolescence differ for girls and boys that might account for sex differences in intimacy? Page 345*Girls relationships are more intimate than boys, BUT

    *Peers become more important but parents do not become unimportant. Intimacy with parents and intimacy with peers/romantic partners serve very different purposesBoth types of intimacy are importantadolescents turn to different people depending on the situationPage 345*Peers become more important but parents do not become unimportant. Page 345Letting your child dateAt what age would you allow?Any rules or limitations?

    Any advantages or disadvantages to allowing your child to date? Will dating expose your child to any situations that you might not feel comfortable with?****Page 357*Positive impact of participating in mixed-sex activity in group situationsImpact of more serious dating is complicatedEarly starters (before age 15)probably true for both sexes but research has focused on girlsless socially mature, less imaginative, less oriented toward achievement, less happy with who they are and how they look, have poorer quality relationships in adulthood, and are more likely to be victims of dating violenceModerate degree of datingPotentially most valuable pattern

    *Food for Thought: Studies find that it is more important to adolescent mental health to have one close friend than to be popular. Why do you think this is the case? Page 361


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