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Adjective ratings of parents in an ambiguous oedipal scenario

Posted on:2006-09-10Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:University of KentuckyCandidate:Bitson, TroyFull Text:PDF
Psychoanalytic theory states that the Oedipus complex is one of the most significant events during childhood (Freud, 1913/1950). The developmental influence of the Oedipus complex is so important that it may continue to influence behavior even beyond childhood (Freud, 1924/1959). In the present study, one aspect of the Oedipus complex, the proposed influence of unresolved oedipal conflict on the different emotional perceptions of the relationships with the parents, was examined. A 2 (Sex) x 2 (Parental Subject of Story) between-participants factorial design was used with 108 male and 280 female undergraduate college students. Participants read a brief paragraph, used by Friedman (1952), describing a child who has engaged in an enjoyable encounter with one of the parents, with the encounter being interrupted by the other parent. The manipulation was whether the enjoyable encounter was experienced with the same sex parent or the opposite sex parent. After reading the story, participants rated how accurately the interrupting parent could be described by a list of 28 adjectives, half positive and half negative. Results revealed a statistically significant interaction, with different ratings of each parent depending on the sex of the participants. More negative adjective ratings were given by males when the interrupting target parent was the father, but more negative adjective ratings were given by females when the interrupting target parent was the mother. The results are discussed in terms of the theoretical development of the Oedipus complex, and the methodological implications of studying the unconscious processes involved with the Oedipus complex.
Keywords/Search Tags:Oedipus complex, Parent, Adjective ratings
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