Themes of intimacy in behavior and thought

Dan P. McAdams*, Joseph Powers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Connections between intimacy motivation, as assessed via the TAT, and interpersonal behavior concerned with warm and communicative exchange were examined in a psychodrama setting in which each S of 43 university students created a dramatic scenario illustrating an issue or theme of his/her choosing. Results strongly support the hypothesis that the intimacy motive helps direct and shape a person's behavior in the psychodrama scenarios. Ss high in intimacy motivation constructed personal scenarios characterized by themes of mutual delight, reciprocal dialog, and surrender of manipulative control in the process of relating to others. They tended to issue few commands, spend little time controlling their scenarios, refer to the group as "we" or "us," and position themselves in relatively close physical proximity to other members of the group. They were also perceived by other group members as especially sincere, likeable, loving, and natural and are rarely seen as dominant. Results for the intimacy motive are compared with those for another TAT coding system, the need for affiliation. (48 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)573-587
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1981


  • content of original dramatic scenario, college students
  • degree of intimacy motivation on TAT, group behavior &

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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