Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Personality and Pathological Love among Young Adults

Academic journal article Journal of the Indian Academy of Applied Psychology

Personality and Pathological Love among Young Adults

Article excerpt

Young adulthood is an age when an individual has to make crucially important choices regarding marriage, family, work, and lifestyle (Levinson, 1994; Birch, 1991). It is a period of greatest energy and abundance as well as of greatest contradiction and stress (Levinson, 1994). According to Freud's (1905) psychosexual theory of personality development, young adulthood is a time of sexual experimentation; the individual develops a strong sexual interest in the opposite sex and as a result of its successful resolution individual settle down in a loving one-to-one relationship with another. The person's main concern during this age is forming a love relationship, starting family and acquiring adult responsibilities (Westen, Gabbard & Ortigo, 2008).

Erikson (1959) also believed that the dominant focus of this age is the development of intimacy - the ability to love and trust another person (Erikson & Erikson, 1997). Moreover, the developmental models such as Erikson's (1959) and Levinson's (1978), young adults are developing a sense of personal identity along with a need for closeness to others. The young adult is eager and willing to fuse his identity with that of others i.e. to achieve intimacy, concrete affiliations and partnerships (Erikson, 1995). Thus, finding and developing relationships with an intimate partner, or series of partners, becomes a priority for many young adults (Erikson & Erikson, 1997; Erikson, 1973). Forming secure relationship in young adults is important as it enhanced their social skills, their coping strategies and results in lesser engagement in high risk behaviors and fewer mental health problems (Moretti & Peled, 2004).

All humans have an innate need to belong. In interpersonal relationships, this need is expressed differently by different people in different situations. Human orientation to love is a product of temperament and personality (Hendrick & Hendrick, 2006). Therefore the aim of the present study was to find the relationship between personality and pathological love in young adults. There is rudimentary evidence that there are certain personality underpinnings that might predispose an individual towards pathological love.

Pathological love can be defined as 'uncontrollable caring behavior for a partner which leads to abandoning all other and just focusing on self-development' (Sophia et al., 2009). Pathological Love is a multidimensional constructs. It comprises of domains like, uncontrollable caring behavior, dysfunctional social situations, possessions/power, insecurity and pity (Safdar & Dasti, 2014).

Personality and Pathological Love

The research suggests that dependent and submissive individuals are more inclined to engage and retain troubling relationships because of fear of alienation and abandonment (Sophia et al., 2009; Darcy, Davila, & Beck, 2005). Pathological love is positively correlated to positive regard for others (Hatfield, 1995). According to some researches, low agreeableness is positively related to passionate love (Lester & Philbrick, 1988; Middleton, 1993; Woll, 1989). Pathological love was also found in young teens having high feelings of control by others (Winter, Duncan, & Summerfield, 2008, as cited in Sussman, 2010).

Conscientiousness showed mixed correlation with pathological love. According to one research, pathological love positively correlates with passionate love (Engel, Olson & Patrick, 2001; Heaven et al., 2004). However, pathological love is negatively related to some facets of conscientiousness such as, reliability, integrity, and scrupulousness (Funder, 2001). Self-esteem and self-respect (facets of conscientiousness) seemed to be the key to stable love (Määttä & Uusiautti, 2012).

Anxiousness correlated positively with pathological love (Hatfield & Rapson, 1993; Levy & Keith, 1988; Hendrick & Hendrick, 1989; Sophia et al., 2009; Heaven et al., 2004; Collins & Read, 1990; Feeney & Noller, 1990; Bowlby, 1973; Eisikovits, Durta & Westen, 2002; Hatkoff & Lasswell, 1979; Lasswell & Lasswell, 1976). …

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