Intimacy Motivation and Subjective Mental Health in a Nationwide Sample

Authors

  • Dan P. McAdams,

    Corresponding author
    1. Loyola University of Chicago
      concerning this report should be addressed to either Dan McAdams or Fred Bryant, Department of Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 N Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626
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  • Fred B. Bryant

    Corresponding author
    1. Loyola University of Chicago
      concerning this report should be addressed to either Dan McAdams or Fred Bryant, Department of Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 N Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626
    Search for more papers by this author

  • The authors would like to thank Joe Veroff and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research for making available the data analyzed in this report These data were originally collected by J Veroff, E Douvan, and R A Kulka Neither the collectors of the original data nor the Consortium bear any responsibility for the analyses or interpretations presented here The authors extend a special thank you to Dave Klingel for his invaluable assistance in computer analyses and to Carol Kirshnit who scored the hundreds of TAT protocols

concerning this report should be addressed to either Dan McAdams or Fred Bryant, Department of Psychology, Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 N Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60626

Abstract

ABSTRACT Over 1,200 adults in a representative nationwide sample were administered the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) and an unstructured interview which produced 25 measures of subjective mental health and ultimately six factor scores unhappiness, lack of gratification, strain, feelings of vulnerability, lack of self-confidence, and uncertainty The TATs were scored for intimacy motivation (McAdams, 1980)—a recurrent preference or readiness for experiences of warm, close, and communicative interaction with others Controlling for age, education, and their interaction, high intimacy motivation in women was associated with greater happiness and gratification, whereas in men it was associated with lack of strain and lack of uncertainty Women high in intimacy motivation who were living alone reported lower levels of gratification and more uncertainty in their lives than other women Intimacy motivation also declined significantly over the life span for women, but not for men Finally, demographic effects on intimacy motivation were examined Controlling for age, education, and their interaction, professional men (e g, doctors, lawyers, and teachers) scored higher on intimacy motivation than did men in other occupational categories, while among women the occupational groups with highest intimacy motivation were service workers and craftspersons

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