Handbook of Interpersonal Psychology: Theory, Research, Assessment and Therapeutic Interventions

By Leonard M. Horowitz; Stephen Strack | Go to book overview

20
STRUCTURAL ANALYSIS
OF SOCIAL BEHAVIOR (SASB)
Studying the Nature of Nature

Lorna Smith Benjamin

SASB (Benjamin, 1979, 1987, 1996) is a model that describes interpersonal and intrapsychic interactions in terms of three underlying dimensions, shown in Figure 20.1. The first dimension is discontinuous and is shown as three planes (surfaces) representing interpersonal focus on other (transitive action), interpersonal focus on self (intransitive state), and intrapsychic focus on other turned inward (introjection). The first plane describes behavior that is prototypically parentlike; the second describes behavior that is prototypically childlike; and the third describes what happens when parentlike behavior is turned inward. Each plane is defined by two continuous axes placed at right angles: love and hate appear on the horizontal axis, while enmeshment (Control/Submit) and differentiation (Emancipate/Separate) define the vertical axis. Highlights of the intellectual history of SASB and studies of its validity appear below.

The full SASB model shown in Figure 20.1 has the highest degree of resolution (36 points per plane) of all versions. Two simpler versions have eight points or clusters per plane (the two-word cluster model appeared in Benjamin, 1987; the one word simplified cluster model appeared in 1996). An even simpler version has four quadrants per plane (Benjamin, 1979). The SASB model is build upon “primitive basics,” as can be seen by the names on the poles of the axes of each plane of Figure 20.1. These relate directly to sexuality, power, murder, and separate territory. Construct, concurrent, content, and predictive validity of the SASB model have been discussed elsewhere (e.g., Benjamin, 1974, 2000; Benjamin, Rothweiler, & Critchfield, 2007). In this chapter, I touch on highlights of theory, research, and applications of SASB in assessment and treatment of psychopathology. The emphasis is on important methodological points that have been underdeveloped elsewhere. The main topical area is SASB theory and related methodological issues in research and practice.


THE SASB MODEL

The theory reflected by the SASB model developed from rational analysis of extant models and data prior to 1968, when the first draft of SASB was prepared. The first peer-reviewed publication was in Benjamin, 1974. Subsequently, the model was refined using a dimensional ratings method that

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