Date of Award

1991

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Albert J. Lott

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to discover whether or not the character and or behavior of parents is a factor in the romantic attraction and mate selections made by adults. The study examined the correlation between the parent's temperament and the partners temperament under two different conditions. The first condition involved a comparison when the participants identified their parent as a nurturant parent. The second condition involved a comparison when the participants identified their parent as a person with whom they had a conflicted parent-adolescent relationship. Four predictions were tested based upon psychoanalytic and psychodynamic theory; 1) adults will be attracted to and select partners who are similar in temperament to the parent they identify as nurturant, 2) adults will be attracted to and select partners whose temperament is complementary to their own, 3) adults will be attracted to and select partners who are similar in temperament to the parent with whom they had a conflicted parent-adolescent relationship, and 4) adults will be attracted to and select partners who are unlike the parent with whom they had a conflicted parent-adolescent relationship.

The participants consisted of 95 adults between the ages 24 and 40. They were required to have been cohabitants or married for at least three years. Sixty-six women and 29 men participated in the study. The subjects were asked to describe their father, mother, partner and self on the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis Scale and the LaForge, Interpersonal Check List. Then they were asked to describe their parent-adolescent relationship using the Bienvenue Parent Adolescent Communication Inventory, (PACI). The PACI was used to identify the two parent-adolescent conditions, nurturant, and conflictual.

The results support the first and the fourth hypothesis. They did not support the second and third hypothesis.

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