Faculty Publications

Title

A comparative study of relational interconnectedness, merger, and ego development in lesbian, gay male, and heterosexual couples

Document Type

Article

Keywords

Couples, Merger, Relational interconnectedness

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services

Volume

9

Issue

1

First Page

51

Last Page

67

Abstract

One hundred ninety participants, including 34 lesbian couples, 31 gay male couples, and 30 heterosexual couples, were administered a series of questionnaires which assessed each partner's perceptions of relational interconnectedness and merger. The Washington University Sentence Completion Test of Ego Development (SCT: Loevinger& Wessler, 1970) was also administered to assess participants' level of ego development. We predicted that lesbian couples would be most inclined to relational interconnection as well as merger when compared to heterosexual and gay male couples, and that merger, postulated as a healthy process, would be positively correlated with ego development across all couples. Couples revealed occasionally experiencing merger and rated this experience as moderately important to their overall sense of relationship satisfaction. Ego development was not significantly correlated with relational interconnectedness or merger. Findings provided partial support for recent reformulations of merger as a healthy versus a regressive or pathological experience and did not suggest strong differences among lesbian, heterosexual, and gay male patterns of emotional connectedness. © 1999 by The Haworth Press, Inc. All rights reserved.

Original Publication Date

2-26-1999

DOI of published version

10.1300/J041v09n01_03

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