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Lukowitsky, M.R. Pincus, A.L. (2011). The Pantheoretical Nature of Mental Representations and Their Ability to Predict Interpersonal Adjustment in a Nonclinical Sample. Psychoanal. Psychol., 28(1):48-74.

(2011). Psychoanalytic Psychology, 28(1):48-74

The Pantheoretical Nature of Mental Representations and Their Ability to Predict Interpersonal Adjustment in a Nonclinical Sample

Mark R. Lukowitsky, M.A. and Aaron L. Pincus, Ph.D.

This study sought to empirically examine some assumptions of contemporary psychoanalytic, attachment, and interpersonal personality theories by linking characteristics of mental representations of self and others (parents) to current levels of interpersonal adjustment in a nonclinical sample. To evaluate the mental representations of self and others, participants completed the Assessment of Qualitative and Structural Dimensions of Object Representations (S. J. Blatt, E. S. Chevron, D. M. Quinlan, C. E. Schaffer, & S. Wein, 1992) and the Assessment of Self Descriptions (S. J. Blatt, S. A. Bers, & C. E. Schaffer, 1993). Participants also completed the Experiences in Close Relationships (K. A. Brennan, C. L. Clark, & P. R. Shaver, 1998) questionnaire to assess dimensions of adult attachment and the Inventory of Interpersonal Problems—Circumplex Scales (L. E. Alden, J. S. Wiggins, & A. L. Pincus, 1990) to assess current interpersonal adjustment. Our results suggest that (a) unique patterns of thematic and structural qualities of parental and self-representations are associated with interpersonal adjustment and (b) adult attachment mediates the relationship between object relations and interpersonal adjustment. These results cannot be explained by method invariance and support contemporary theories of mental representations, highlighting their pantheoretical and integrative nature.

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