Title

The relationship of loneliness to level of object relations functioning

Date of Award

1994

Availability

Article

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Department

Counseling Psychology

First Committee Member

Herbert M. Dandes, Committee Chair

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between level of object relations development and loneliness. The study hypothesized that disturbances in object relations functioning would be predictive of greater frequency and intensity of feelings of loneliness. It was also expected that deficits in object relations functioning would be more predictive of emotional loneliness than social loneliness, as well as increased chronicity of loneliness.Data were collected from a sample of 94 college students. Level of object relations development was measured by the Bell Object Relations Inventory which consists of subscales representing four dimensions of object relations functioning: Alienation, Insecure Attachment, Egocentricity, and Social Incompetence. Feelings of loneliness were assessed by the Loneliness Rating Scale, the Emotional Versus Social Loneliness Scale, and a question to assess chronicity of loneliness.Multiple regression analyses found a significant proportion of variance in frequency and intensity of feelings of loneliness was predicted from the level of object relations development. Stepwise regression analyses selected the object relations dimensions of Insecure Attachment and Alienation to be the best predictors. Comparison of regression analyses revealed the object relations dimensions were not significantly more predictive of emotional loneliness than social loneliness. Insecure Attachment was found to be the best predictor of emotional loneliness, while Egocentricity was the best predictor of social loneliness.The object relations dimensions were predictive of chronicity of loneliness. Discriminant analysis found the object relations dimensions differentiated chronic from transitory loners. The dimensions of Alienation and Egocentricity were found to be the largest contributors to the discriminant function.In conclusion the findings suggest that deficits in object relations functioning are related to the frequency and intensity of feelings of loneliness. Further, deficits in specific object relations dimensions are related to type of loneliness experienced (emotional or social) as well as chronicity of loneliness.

Keywords

Psychology, Personality

Link to Full Text

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