2Chapter 10 OverviewWhat are the major theoretical perspectives on the development of intimacy?Sullivan’s Interpersonal TheoryHow does intimacy develop in adolescence?How does dating and romantic relationships relate to intimacy?How does intimacy impact psychosocial development during adolescence?
3Why Is Intimacy An Adolescent Issue? Not necessarily sexualTrue intimacy is characterized by openness, honesty, self-disclosure, and trustIntimacy becomes an important concern because of changes including puberty, cognitive changes, and social changesNot until adolescence do truly intimate relationships first emergeInsert DAL photoFood 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?
4Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent Intimacy Sullivan’s theory of interpersonal developmentEmphasized the social aspects of growthPsychological development can be best understood in interpersonal termsTheory focuses on transformations in relationships with othersFour stages of interpersonal needs over the course of adolescence
5Theoretical Perspectives on Adolescent Intimacy Sullivan’s developmental progressionInfancy: need for contact and for tendernessEarly childhood: need for adult participationMiddle childhood: need for peers and peer acceptancePreadolescence: need for intimacyEarly adolescence: need for sexual contact and intimacy with opposite-sex peerLate adolescence: need for integration into adult societyAccording 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?
6Attachment in Adolescence Attachment is defined as a strong and enduring emotional bond (usually formed first in infancy)Three types of attachment based on securitySecure – characterized by trustAnxious-avoidant – characterized by indifferenceAnxious-resistant – characterized by ambivalence
7Attachment in Adolescence An “internal working model” of relationships develops during childhoodDo 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
9How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence? Changes in the nature of friendshipCompanionship appears before adolescenceIntimacy emerges laterEarly adolescenceSelf-disclosure and trust emerge as dimensions of friendship
10How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence? Changes in the nature of friendshipConflicts that adolescents have with friendsOlder adolescents typically have conflicts over private mattersYounger adolescents typically have conflicts over public disrespect
11How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence? Changes in the display of intimacyAdolescents 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
12Sex 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 friendsGirls disclose more to their friendsBUT when boys are with their friends, they are just as likely to share each other’s emotional stateGirls are more sensitive and empathic to friendsBUT sex differences in helpfulness are very smallGirls are more concerned with trust and loyaltyBoys and girls express intimacy in different ways
13Sex Differences in the Nature of Conflicts Between Close Friends During Adolescence 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 apologizes
15Changes in the “Targets” of Intimacy Sullivan hypothesized thatintimacy with peers replaced intimacy with parentsIntimacy with peers of the opposite sex replaced intimacy with same-sex friendsHowever, research shows that new targets of intimacy are added to old ones
16How Does Intimacy Develop in Adolescence? Changes in the “targets” of intimacyTeens experience different types of intimate relationships with parents and peersParent-adolescent relationshipsImbalance of power, teens receive adviceAdolescent peer relationshipsMutual, balanced, equal exchangesPeers 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).
18Adolescents’ Relationships with Mothers versus Fathers
19Dating and Romantic Relationships in Adolescence High school dating no longer functions as mate selection, now recreationalRomantic relationships are very common, in the past 18 months:25% of 12-year-olds reported having one50% of 15-year-olds reported having one70% of 18-year-olds reported having oneOnly 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).
20Dating and the Development of Intimacy Sullivan’s theory of interpersonal developmentAttachment theoryEcological perspectiveGirlsCross-sex relationships may provide a context for further expression of intimacyBoysCross-sex relationships may provide a context for further development of intimacyFrom 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).
21Dating and the Development of Intimacy Dating can mean a variety of thingsGroup activities involving boys and girlsCasual dating in couplesSerious involvement in a steady relationshipTransitions into and out of romantic relationships can be difficult for adolescentsBreakups 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).
23Dating and Romantic Relationships in Adolescence Three phases of adolescent romance1) discover an interest in socializing with potential romantic and sexual partnersRelationships last a few weeks2) move toward more meaningful dyadic relationshipsRelationships last about 6 months3) begin to think about the long-term survival and growth of romantic relationshipsAverage relationship is over a yearThese stages may not apply to sexual-minority youth because they are less likely to have a public relationship
24The Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development Positive impact of participating in mixed-sex activity in group situationsImpact of more serious dating is complicatedEarly starters (before age 15)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 lookLate bloomersAdolescents who do not date at all show signs of retarded social development and feelings of insecurity
25The Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development Romance has a powerful impact on adolescents’ emotional statesAdolescents’ real and fantasized relationships trigger strong emotionsProportion of strong emotions attributed to romantic relationships increases dramatically between preadolescence and early adolescence and between early and middle adolescence
26Violence in Dating Relationships Between 1/5 and 2/3 of adolescents experience violence in a romantic relationshipMales and females are equally likely to be the victimVictims are more likely to be depressed, contemplate suicide, use illegal drugs, become pregnant during adolescence, and drop out of school
27Impact of Dating on Adolescent Development Qualities of adolescents’ relationships with others are correlatedExample:Adolescents who have supportive and satisfying relationships at home are more likely to have high-quality friendships and romantic relationships
28Intimacy and Adolescent Psychosocial Development During adolescence, friends:serve as sounding boards for future plansprovide advice on a range of identity-related matterscontribute to adolescents’ self-esteemIndividuals with satisfying close friendships do better than those without them, in adolescence and in adulthoodPsychologically healthy adolescents are better able to make and maintain close relationships with others