Orlovsky (1970s) classified 4 states of intimacy from the most mature and
sophisticated (Intimate) to the least mature (Isolate).
Intimate – people capable of having close friendships and committed love relationships,
and the capacity to express both appropriate angry and affectionate feelings, in the
context of those relationships. (example, Modern Family)
Preintimate – these people are capable of friendships, however are not capable of
committed love relationships, only of superficial dating relationships, and so have
ambivalent feelings about commitment. (example, Sex and the City)
Stereotyped – they are not capable neither of close friendships, not of committed love
relationships, all of their relationships lack depth and commitment. (example. The
Plastics from Mean Girls)
Isolate – a failure to confront the challenge altogether, they report having an almost
complete lack of social contact, no enduring relationships, experience social anxiety,
withdrawal and isolation. (example, Meg from Family Guy)
To what extent is success at one stage relevant of success at other stages? Does failing
to fully resolve a challenge at one of the stages ill-equip you to resolve the challenges of
the following stages?
There are some forms of evidence that suggest that those who have achieved their
identity challenge move on to intimacy to a greater extent and with more success.
One such study was conducted in 1982 by Tesch & Whitbourne. About 100 teenagers
were interviewed and classified both with the Marcia and the Orlovsky classification
systems. The question was “Will there be a correlation between these two systems? Will
one be more likely to be in a particular intimacy class, given one’s identity class?” The
pattern of numbers suggests that the more likely one is to have made identity relevant
commitments, the more likely one is to fall in the more mature intimacy categorizations.
(The converse is also true) Therefore, it seems to be the case that the more
commitments one has made with regards to identity formation, the more mature their
intimacy capacity is.
Do identity issues in young adults predict intimacy related outcomes in mid-life? Kahn
et. al. (1985) found that those who have resolved their identity issues in their young
adulthood, had better established and more stable marital relationships (a higher level
Summary of Part 2
•Identity formation refers to the processes of exploration and commitment through
which we answer the question, “Who am I?”