The Process of Intimacy: Similarity, Understanding and Gender
This study examined gender and three aspects of marital intimacy using a method to establish both objective and subjective indices of intimacy. Fifty couples answered the Personal Assessment of Intimate Relationships (Schaefer & Olson, 1981) twice: once as a self-report and once to respond as they predicted their spouses would answer. Couples who were less accurate in predicting each other's responses also diverged in their experience of intimacy and reported lower intimacy. Results suggest that high intimacy is based on both understanding and similarity of intimate experience. Women reported significantly higher levels of intimacy and were also better than men in predicting their partners' feelings. These findings suggest that women may be more attuned to intimacy or that definitions and assessment of intimacy are gender biased or both.