Friendship Patterns as a Function of Self Concept and Dependency

Mary Patricia Finneran, Fordham University


CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION In recent years the role played by the individual's conception of himself, the self concept, has received increased emphasis in its relation to the development and breakdown of personality. This self concept is evolved through interpersonal relations with significant adults and peers. In turn, it would also seem probable that an individual would seek persons to maintain and enhance this self concept. If such is the case it would follow that one's friendship patterns as well as one's self concept would figure predominantly in producing mental health or mental disorder. In studying friendship selections as a defense of the self concept, Colvin (7) investigated the variables of self concept and impulse control in friendship selections. Basing his study on the psychodynamic theory of projection, he predicted that individuals would defensively select friends of similar or dissimilar level of impulse control on the basis of whether or not they defensively accept themselves. His findings supported this hypothesis that friendship selections have significant defensive characteristics. A third factor, dependency, which plays a role in friendship selections is a dimension of fundamental significance in personality development. Therefore it could be predicted that it would be a principle determinant of the self concept and as such would also play a major role in producing mental health or mental disorder. Murray (17) in the investigation of personality among his significant variables or i R needs" describes that of succorance in much the same manner as dependency is considered in this study. He includes in his description "to have one’s needs be nursed, supported, sustained, surrounded, protected, loved, advised, guided, indulged, forgiven, consoled". Barker and Wright (1) later adapted Murray’s need descriptions to momentary actions as against enduring needs or wants. These, termed action modes, included that of appeal, the essence of which they considered a direct bid for need satisfaction, the end sought being the gratification of one’s needs by the sympathetic action of another or help given in any way by another. Saul (21) likewise recognized the basic significance of dependency, placing it first among the factors preventing an individual from developing to full emotional maturity. He describes the conflict between the regressive dependent forces and the progressive productive forces in personality development. Much of the struggle of adolescence he sees in this light. The adult’s normal development to full emotional independence or maturity can be, therefore, halted as he continues to long for and seek dependence either because as a child he missed it too much or had too much of it. It is in the light of Saul’s concept that the present investigation is undertaken to explore this dimension of dependency in its relation to self concept development and the formation of friendship patterns.

Subject Area

Psychology|Personality psychology

Recommended Citation

Finneran, Mary Patricia, "Friendship Patterns as a Function of Self Concept and Dependency" (1958). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI28673355.