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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Conceptions of intimacy: men in relationships Grobman, Grant A.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the conceptions of intimacy held by men in on-going heterosexual relationships. Existing conceptions and theories of intimacy have traditionally focused on behaviors isolated from the context of the person. Furthermore, the principles guiding existing theory have not been substantiated. This study attempted to present the concept of intimacy within a natural context. To this end, a phenomenographical approach was employed to generate possible conceptions through the collection of statements and experiences of intimacy. Eight men were gathered through a network of contacts to participate in semi-structured interviews. Statements and experiences, which described their conceptions of intimacy, were extracted from the interviews and validated by independent reviewers. The data was analyzed and categorized into dimensions and manifestations of intimacy. Six dimensions emerged from the statements and experiences. Attunement, collaboration, distinctiveness, trust, empathy, and rootedness were found woven through the fabric of the conceptualizations of intimacy. Shared experience, acceptance/support, and specialness were three manifestations or ways in which intimacy was experienced. The manifestations provided a holistic context for the concept of intimacy. Important aspects of intimacy were validated in this study. Intimacy was not characterized by one or more specific features, but rather involved a set of rich and complex elements. There appeared to be different facets of expression for these elements. Lastly, there appeared to bean interconnection between the state and process of intimacy. The findings of this study provided a more comprehensive and in-depth understanding of the concept of intimacy and validated the importance of understanding a phenomenon within a natural context.

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