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Multiculturalism and Social Work | San Francisco State University

Psychological intimacy in the lasting relationships of heterosexual and same-gender couples.

Author: Mackey,-Richard-A; Diemer,-Matthew-A; O'-Brien,-Bernard-A
Author Background: Boston Coll, Granduate School of Social Work, Chestnut Hill, MA, US
Date 8/2000
Type Journal
Journal Title: Sex-Roles
Volume/Pages Vol 43(3-4): 201-227
Subject Matter Research, Same-Sex Relationship, Couples; Interpersonal Interaction; Intimacy
Abstract Focused on the meaning of psychological intimacy to partners in heterosexual and same-gender relationships that have lasted an average of 30 yrs. In-depth interviews were used to explore the meaning of intimacy to 216 partners (mean age 57 yrs) in 108 relationships. The Ss were whites, blacks, and Mexican-Americans, with Catholic, Jewish, and Protestant religious backgrounds; they were employed in both blue- and white-collar occupations. Psychological intimacy was defined as the sense that one could be open and honest in talking with a partner about personal thoughts and feelings not usually expressed in other relationships. Factors that had a significant role in shaping the quality of psychological intimacy in the last 5-10 yrs of these relationships (recent) were the absence of major conflict, a confrontive conflict management style between partners, a sense of fairness about the relationship, and the expression of physical affection between partners. Women in same-gender relationships, compared to their heterosexual and gay counterparts, were more likely to report that psychologically intimate communication characterized their relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2000 APA, all rights reserved)