The aims of our study were to: (1) explore the relationship between differentiation of self and separation anxiety; and (2) examine the congruency between spouses in terms of these variables. The research is the first to study differentiation of self and separation anxiety among adults in general, and among married couples in particular. On the whole, results indicated that spouses had similar levels of differentiation on two scales: emotional cutoff and I-position, while women reported higher levels of emotional reactivity and fusion with others. A significant relationship was found among men between fusion with others and separation anxiety: a high level of fusion was found to correlate with a high level of anxiety. Among women, a high level of emotional reactivity was related to a high level of separation anxiety. These findings shed further light on Bowen’s family system theory, as they indicate correlations between several measures of differentiation and separation anxiety.
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Special thanks to Helene Hogri for her helpful comments on an earlier version of the article.
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Peleg, O., Yitzhak, M. Differentiation of Self and Separation Anxiety: Is There a Similarity Between Spouses?. Contemp Fam Ther 33, 25–36 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10591-010-9137-z