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Adolescence 9th edition

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1 Adolescence 9th edition
Chapter Ten: Intimacy By Laurence Steinberg, Ph.D.

2 Chapter 10 Overview What are the major theoretical perspectives on the development of intimacy? Sullivan’s Interpersonal Theory How does intimacy develop in adolescence? How does dating and romantic relationships relate to intimacy? How does intimacy impact psychosocial development during adolescence?

3 Why Is Intimacy An Adolescent Issue?
Not necessarily sexual True intimacy is characterized by openness, honesty, self-disclosure, and trust Intimacy becomes an important concern because of changes including puberty, cognitive changes, and social changes Not until adolescence do truly intimate relationships first emerge Insert DAL photo Food for Thought: In your view, what are the defining features of an “intimate” relationship? Do you agree with the assertion that genuine intimacy in relationships does not appear before adolescence?

4 Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent Intimacy
Sullivan’s theory of interpersonal development Emphasized the social aspects of growth Psychological development can be best understood in interpersonal terms Theory focuses on transformations in relationships with others Four stages of interpersonal needs over the course of adolescence

5 Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent Intimacy
Sullivan’s developmental progression Infancy: need for contact and for tenderness Early childhood: need for adult participation Middle childhood: need for peers and peer acceptance Preadolescence: need for intimacy Early adolescence: need for sexual contact and intimacy with opposite-sex peer Late adolescence: need for integration into adult society 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 adolescent’s 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?

6 Attachment in Adolescence
Attachment is defined as a strong and enduring emotional bond (usually formed first in infancy) Three types of attachment based on security Secure – characterized by trust Anxious-avoidant – characterized by indifference Anxious-resistant – characterized by ambivalence

7 Attachment in Adolescence
An “internal working model” of relationships develops during childhood Do we feel trusting or apprehensive in relationships with others? Do we see ourselves as worthy of others’ affection? Working models provide a set of expectations we draw from when forming close (intimate) relationships

8 Attachment in Adolescence

9 How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence?
Changes in the nature of friendship Companionship appears before adolescence Intimacy emerges later Early adolescence Self-disclosure and trust emerge as dimensions of friendship

10 How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence?
Changes in the nature of friendship Conflicts that adolescents have with friends Older adolescents typically have conflicts over private matters Younger adolescents typically have conflicts over public disrespect

11 How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence?
Changes in the display of intimacy Adolescents become more knowledgeable about their friends Adolescents become more responsive to close friends and less controlling Friends become more interpersonally sensitive and show more empathy Friends resolve conflicts more frequently by negotiation or disengagement, not coercion

12 Sex Differences in Intimacy
Girls’ relationships are more intimate than boys’ Carries some liabilities (e.g., co-rumination) Both sexes have equivalent degrees of intimate knowledge about their best friends Girls disclose more to their friends BUT when boys are with their friends, they are just as likely to share each other’s emotional state Girls are more sensitive and empathic to friends BUT sex differences in helpfulness are very small Girls are more concerned with trust and loyalty Boys and girls express intimacy in different ways

13 Sex Differences in the Nature of Conflicts Between Close Friends During Adolescence
Boys Conflicts persist for shorter periods of time Typically over issues of power and control More likely to escalate into physical aggression Usually resolved without any explicit effort Girls Conflicts persist for longer periods of time Typically about betrayal in the relationship Only resolved when one of the friends apologizes

14 Sex Differences in Friendships

15 Changes in the “Targets” of Intimacy
Sullivan hypothesized that intimacy with peers replaced intimacy with parents Intimacy with peers of the opposite sex replaced intimacy with same-sex friends However, research shows that new targets of intimacy are added to old ones

16 How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence?
Changes in the “targets” of intimacy Teens experience different types of intimate relationships with parents and peers Parent-adolescent relationships Imbalance of power, teens receive advice Adolescent peer relationships Mutual, balanced, equal exchanges Peers become more important but parents do not become unimportant. Even in close families, parent–adolescent relations are characterized by an imbalance of power, with parents as nurturers, advice givers, and explainers whom adolescents turn to for their experience and expertise. Adolescents’ interactions with their friends, in contrast, are more mutual, more balanced, and more likely to provide them with opportunities to express alternative views and engage in an equal exchange of feelings and beliefs. Consistent with this, conflicts between adolescents and their parents are relatively more likely to end with a “winner” and a “loser,” whereas conflicts between adolescents and their friends are relatively more likely to end in compromise or, at least, equal outcomes (Adams & Laursen, 2001).

17 Parents and Peers as Targets of Intimacy

18 Adolescents’ Relationships with Mothers versus Fathers

19 Dating and Romantic Relationships in Adolescence
High school dating no longer functions as mate selection, now recreational Romantic relationships are very common, in the past 18 months: 25% of 12-year-olds reported having one 50% of 15-year-olds reported having one 70% of 18-year-olds reported having one Only recently have social scientists begun writing systematically about adolescents’ romantic relationships (Collins, 2003; Connolly & McIssac, 2009; Furman et al., 1999). However, recent studies of adolescent romance indicate that romantic relationships are very common: One-fourth of American 12-year-olds, one-half of 15-year-olds, and more than two-thirds of 18-year-olds report having had a romantic relationship in the past 18 months. The average American adolescent begins dating around age 13 or 14, although nearly half of all adolescents have at least one date before they turn 12. By age 16, more than 90 percent of adolescents of both sexes have had at least one date, and during the later years of high school, more than half of all students average one or more dates weekly. Only 15 percent of high school students date less than once a month (Feiring, 1993). By age 18, virtually all adolescents have dated once, and three-fourths have had at least one steady relationship (Neemann, Hubbard, & Masten, 1995).

20 Dating and the Development of Intimacy
Sullivan’s theory of interpersonal development Attachment theory Ecological perspective Girls Cross-sex relationships may provide a context for further expression of intimacy Boys Cross-sex relationships may provide a context for further development of intimacy From Sullivan comes the idea that there is a developmental progression in individuals’ capacity for intimacy, with the emergence of romantic relationships occurring after individuals have experienced emotional closeness within same-sex friendships. From attachment theory comes the idea that individuals differ in the quality of their romantic relationships, and that these differences are paralleled by differences in the relationships individuals have with parents and peers. And from the ecological perspective comes the idea that romantic relationships, like all relationships, need to be viewed within the social context in which they occur. Girls, therefore, are more likely than boys to be capable of being intimate in these ways upon entering a relationship. Some, but not all, studies of early sexual relationships confirm this: For adolescent girls more than boys, early sexual ­relationships are far more likely to involve love, emotional involvement, and intimacy (Montgomery, 2005; Shulman & Scharf, 2000). In other words, whereas for girls cross-sex relationships may provide a context for further expression of intimacy, for boys they may provide a context for the further development of intimacy. This notion is consistent with the finding, discussed earlier, that opposite-sex relationships may play a more important role in the development of intimacy among boys than among girls, who, on average, develop and experience intimacy earlier with same-sex friends than boys do (Buhrmester & Furman, 1987).

21 Dating and the Development of Intimacy
Dating can mean a variety of things Group activities involving boys and girls Casual dating in couples Serious involvement in a steady relationship Transitions into and out of romantic relationships can be difficult for adolescents Breakups are the leading cause of depression “Dating” can mean a variety of different things, of course, from group activities that bring males and females together (without much actual contact between the sexes), to group dates in which a group of boys and girls go out jointly (and spend part of the time in couples and part of the time in the larger group), to casual dating in couples, to serious involvement with a steady boyfriend or girlfriend. As a consequence, more adolescents have experience in mixed-sex group activities like parties or dances than in dating, and more have experience in dating than in having a serious boyfriend or girlfriend or a sexual relationship (see Figure 10.9) (Connolly, Craig, Goldberg, & Pepler, 2004; O’Sullivan, Cheng, Harris, & Brooks-Gunn, 2007). Involvement in one-on-one romantic relationships does not replace same-sex or mixed-sex group activities—like other aspects of intimacy in adolescence, new forms of relationships are added to the adolescent’s repertoire while old ones are retained. Also, important to note that dating serves many purposes in adolescence (not just aiding the development of intimacy).

22 Patterns of Dating

23 Dating and Romantic Relationships in Adolescence
Three phases of adolescent romance 1) discover an interest in socializing with potential romantic and sexual partners Relationships last a few weeks 2) move toward more meaningful dyadic relationships Relationships last about 6 months 3) begin to think about the long-term survival and growth of romantic relationships Average relationship is over a year These stages may not apply to sexual-minority youth because they are less likely to have a public relationship

24 The Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development
Positive impact of participating in mixed-sex activity in group situations Impact of more serious dating is complicated Early starters (before age 15) True for both sexes, but research has focused on girls Less socially mature, less imaginative, less oriented toward achievement, less happy with who they are and how they look Late bloomers Adolescents who do not date at all show signs of retarded social development and feelings of insecurity

25 The Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development
Romance has a powerful impact on adolescents’ emotional states Adolescents’ real and fantasized relationships trigger strong emotions Proportion of strong emotions attributed to romantic relationships increases dramatically between preadolescence and early adolescence and between early and middle adolescence

26 Violence in Dating Relationships
Between 1/5 and 2/3 of adolescents experience violence in a romantic relationship Males and females are equally likely to be the victim Victims are more likely to be depressed, contemplate suicide, use illegal drugs, become pregnant during adolescence, and drop out of school

27 Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development
Qualities of adolescents’ relationships with others are correlated Example: Adolescents who have supportive and satisfying relationships at home are more likely to have high-quality friendships and romantic relationships

28 Intimacy and Adolescent Psychosocial Development
During adolescence, friends: serve as sounding boards for future plans provide advice on a range of identity-related matters contribute to adolescents’ self-esteem Individuals 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

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