Master's Theses


Social Work

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The purpose of the researcher was to investigate C. Gilligan's postulates that men progress from a fear of intimacy (affiliation) to recognition of its importance, while women accept affiliation initially and remain constant in valuing it across the life span. The effect on affiliation strength of the following independent variables was evaluated: age, gender, identity strength, and marital status. The Edwards Personal Preference Schedule was used to obtain self-reported values for affiliation and identity strength (autonomy). The sample for this study consisted of 136 women and 69 men enrolled in a counseling appraisal class at a Midwestern university. Ages ranged from 21 to 54 years. Fourteen comparisons plus 14 reoccurring comparisons were made employing three-way analysis of variance. Three of the fourteen comparisons were statistically significant. An additional nine comparisons were made employing Fisher protected t -tests. Of these nine comparisons, three were statistically significant. The results of this study indicated a statistically significant interaction between age and gender for the dependent variable affiliation strength. Results from t-tests revealed that women scored significantly higher on affiliation strength than men in the age groups 20-28 and 29-39 years. This was confirmatory of Gilligan's postulate that young men value affiliation less than young women. However, the results were disconfirmatory of the postulate that women are constant in valuing affiliation over the life span and that men become more affiliative with age. Instead, a significant decline was noted in affiliation for women between age group 20-28 years and 40-55 years. There was no significant difference among the affiliation scores of men from the three age groups. A comparison of affiliation in age group 40-55 years revealed no significant difference between men and women, a mid-life similarity postulated by Gilligan. Two main effects on affiliation strength were statistically significant. One main effect was for the independent variable identity strength, and one was for the independent variable marital status. These were generated from a three -way analysis of variance in which identity strength, marital status and gender were the independent variables. Findings indicated that subjects who rated themselves highest in identity had significantly lower affiliation scores than those lowest in identity. Unmarried subjects had higher affiliation scores than married subjects.


Bill Daley

Date of Award

Spring 1990

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1990 Carolyn Sue Musser


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