Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Psychology


Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Dr Elizabeth Kaczmarek


Fear of intimacy has been reported as one of the most significant problems experienced by adults in their relationships (Bartholomew, 1990 ; Descutner & Thelen, 1991; Lutwak, 1985). It has also been argued that individuals' perceptions of their relationship with their parents in the past and their level of self-esteem cam also significantly influence their fear of intimacy. This present study was conducted to examine the relationship between parent-child affectional bonding, self-esteem, and fear of intimacy in young adults. Male and female undergraduate students from Edith Cowan University aged 19-25 years, were given the Parental Nurturance Scale (PNS), Self-Esteem Rating Scale (SERS), and Fear or Intimacy Scale (FISI). Based on standard regression analyses, the results indicated that the most significant contribution to fear of intimacy was young adults' level of self-esteem, followed by gender differences, and relationship status. This study did not find any link between parent-child affectional bonding and young adults' fear of intimacy. However, females were found to have lower fear of intimacy than males. Single participants reported higher levels of fear of intimacy compared to participants who had a resident or non-resident partner. The implications of this study arc also discussed, especially the importance of addressing self-esteem issues in the context of clinical interventions when fear of intimacy is present. Further research conducted on clinical samples is required.

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