A thematic coding system for the intimacy motive

Dan P. McAdams*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

142 Scopus citations


A new thematic (TAT) measure of intimacy motivation was developed and cross-validated in four separate arousal studies using three different college populations. A brief sketch of the derived thematic scoring system for intimacy motivation was presented. The goal state of the intimacy motive was defined as experiencing a warm, close, and communicative exchange with another person. In a college sample, subjects scoring high on the intimacy motive were rated by friends and acquaintances as significantly more "warm," "natural," "sincere," "loving," and "appreciative" and less "dominant," "outspoken," and "self-centered" than subjects scoring lower. The results were discussed in terms of the theories of Sullivan on the need for interpersonal intimacy, Maslow on growth motivation and "B-love," Bakan on communion, and Buber on the I-Thou relation. Differences between the new coding system and the need for Affiliation (n Aff) system for scoring imaginative productions were also suggested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)413-432
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Research in Personality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • General Psychology


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