Untangling the web of interconnectedness: A longitudinal study of intimacy development in close relationships.
AuthorDillman, Leesa Gayle.
Committee ChairBurgoon, Judee K.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study was designed to determine the interactional and communication qualities necessary for intimacy to exist, and to examine how these qualities uniquely combine and change over the course of a relationship's development. Past research on this subject has tended to take the form of static, one-shot approaches, to focus on only one member of a dyad, and to restrict the investigation of intimacy to a limited number of critical components. In this study, intimacy was conceptualized and operationalized as a dyadic, processual, and multifaceted construct. Movement of intimacy was hypothesized as following a hybrid model derived from traditional stage models and dialectic principles. Both partners in 92 ongoing heterosexual romantic relationships completed repeated measures of 13 components (later reduced to seven composites and single variables) proposed as being essential to intimacy and an additional global intimacy measure over a six-week time period. Results indicate that all but one proposed component were significantly related to global intimacy, and that three of the seven components fluctuate over time as hypothesized by a dialectic model. Two others were affected by interactions between time and partner factors. Because global intimacy and two components were unaffected by time, the conclusion is that although dialectic principles are evident in many of the elements comprising intimacy, they are not useful in explaining global patterns of intimacy development. Congruence between partners on the components of intimacy was also examined. It was found that congruence on a limited number of elements predicted the direction of perceived intimacy movement in only 51 percent of the cases. Theoretical and methodological implications for continued work in this area are discussed, and future research is suggested.