This study focuses on relationship longevity of gay male couples as seen through the lens of object relations theory. Sixty-two couples (122 individuals) ages 34 to 86 who were in relationships lasting 10 years or more participated in a three-phase, mixed methods study. Every individual participant provided narratives that were scored for the Object Relations Inventory ("ORI") and completed an online questionnaire that collected demographic information and participant rankings of attributes associated with their partners, their relationships and their early caregivers. Data from the ORI was analyzed to identify high scoring participants, and participant responses on the questionnaire were analyzed to determine important themes and to generate questions for further inquiry. In the third phase of data collection, 14 couples (28 individual participants), selected through the ORI analysis, were interviewed using questions derived from analysis of responses to the online questionnaire. Content analysis of the interview narratives highlighted findings from the first and second phases of data collection and generated additional themes. Among the results were findings that stability was the common attribute among participant descriptions of their parents, partners and current relationships; participants placed greater value on positive internal characteristics of their partners than physical characteristics; aggression was an attribute least desired in partners; the majority of the sample considered themselves part of a committed couple after having been together for less than a year; communication was highly valued by couples in this sample and supported many aspects of their lives together including conflict management; and there was a correlation between participants who desired monogamy and parents whom participants ranked low with respect to the attributes of permanence and stability, which may suggest that within this sample monogamy/non-monogamy manifested unconscious desire.
|Advisor:||Shelby, R. Dennis, Tolleson, Jennifer|
|Commitee:||Adler, Marcia V., Cohler, Bertram J., McCaughan, Dennis L.|
|School:||Institute for Clinical Social Work (Chicago)|
|Department:||Clinical Social Work|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-A 70/04, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Social psychology, Social work, Clinical psychology|
|Keywords:||Couple, Gay, Male, Monogamy, Object relations, Object relations inventory|
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