A comparative study of relational interconnectedness, merger, and ego development in lesbian, gay male, and heterosexual couples
Couples, Merger, Relational interconnectedness
Journal of Gay and Lesbian Social Services
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
DOI of published version
Carroll, Lynne; Hoenigmann-Stovall, Natalia; Turner, Joseph A.; and Gilroy, Paula, "A comparative study of relational interconnectedness, merger, and ego development in lesbian, gay male, and heterosexual couples" (1999). Faculty Publications. 3777.