Perceptions of intimacy and intimate behavior, personality style, and satisfaction in marital relationships

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Charles S. Carver - Committee Chair


Study 1 consisted of the development of the Intimate Behavior Checklist, designed to assess differences in behavioral manifestations of intimacy. The sample consisted of 316 individuals who had been in a committed close relationship for at least six months prior to the study. Factor analysis yielded four primary factors of intimate behavior which reflect the dimensions of intellectual and recreational intimacy, emotional, social, and sexual intimacy.Study 2 consisted of the administration of a battery of self-report inventories to married couples. It included a demographic questionnaire, the Quality Marital Index, the Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationship, the Intimate Behavior Checklist, and the Millon Behavioral Health Inventory. The sample consisted of 87 couples who had been married an average of 17 years. The couples were primarily well-educated and of a high socioeconomic status.Intellectual, emotional, sexual, and recreational dimensions appeared to be most important to judgments of marital quality. Both actual and ideal attitudes and behavioral satisfaction were positively related to marital quality. Gender differences were found for emotional and sexual intimacy. Concordance between actual and ideal intimacy for the individual and between expectancies of each spouse in the dyad were positively related to marital quality. For males, having high ideals along most dimensions of intimacy was related to higher levels of marital quality, while this relationship did not exist for females. Personality effects were found, such that the Anxious-Irritable personality type generally reported lower levels of intimacy and behavioral satisfaction. Individual perceptions were related to marital quality while dyadic perceptions, other than expectancies, were not.


Psychology, Clinical

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