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Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
Department of Psychology
David E. Szwedo
Krisztina V. Jakobsen
This study aims to examine the interplay between ego development and intimacy development as predictive of later friendship and romantic relationship quality. It subsequently seeks to understand how balance and imbalances in friendship and romantic relationship quality, predicted by ego and intimacy development, are indicative of later markers for overall wellness. As such, adolescent reports of ego development and romantic intimacy were examined in relation to later reports of reliable alliance in both a close friendship and a romantic relationship. Ego development was predicted to be associated with higher levels of close friendship stability and lower levels of romantic stability; inversely, romantic intimacy was predicted to be associated with higher levels of romantic stability and lower levels of close friendship stability. Having both higher levels of close friendship and romantic stability in young adulthood was predicted to be most strongly associated with reports of adult wellness measured via markers including job satisfaction, work performance, functional independence, happiness, and time spent with deviant peers. However, in the context of stability imbalances, it was predicted that higher close friendship stability (in the context of lower romantic stability) would predict greater wellness as compared to higher romantic stability (in the context of lower close friendship stability). Mutli-reporter data were obtained from 184 teens at ages 18, 21, and 22. Higher ego development predicted significantly lower reports of reliable alliance in romantic relationships. Higher ego development also predicted that the teen was the more dominant one in the relationship. Higher intimacy was shown to negatively correlate with friendship reliable alliance, friendship satisfaction, and friendship intimacy. Higher romantic intimacy also predicted the teens’ romantic partner as being more dominant in the relationship. There were also a number of significant interactions between ego development and romantic intimacy, largely suggesting an influential role of romantic intimacy in the context of low, but not high, ego development. Finally, interactions between friendship stability and romantic stability to predict a number of wellness outcomes in adulthood suggest how various domains may be impacted by one’s earlier experiences with these relationships. Limitations and implications of the findings are discussed.
Brown, Rachel, "Intimacy idolization and ego development in adolescence: Links to social relationships and wellness in early adulthood" (2019). Senior Honors Projects, 2010-current. 654.