Object relations and real life relationships: A cross method assessment

Jonathan E. Handelzalts, Shimrit Fisher, Rachel Naot

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the relationship between the psychoanalytic concept of object relations and real life behavior of being in an intimate relationship among heterosexual women. In a multi-method approach we used two different measures; the self-report Bell Object Relations and Reality Testing Inventory (BORRTI; Bell, Billington & Becker, ) and the performance based Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) Social Cognition & Object Relations Scale- Global Rating Method SCORS-G (Westen, ) to measure the object relations of 60 women. The Alienation subscale of the BORRTI and understanding of social causality subscale of the SCORS-G explained 34.8% of variance of the intimate relationship variable. Thus, women involved in a romantic relationship reported lower rates of alienation on the BORRTI and produced TAT narratives that were more adaptive with regard to understanding of social causality as measured by the SCORS-G than those not currently in a relationship. Results are discussed with reference to the relationship between object relations and real life measures of healthy individuals and in light of the need for a multi-method approach of assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-167
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Intimate relationships
  • Object relations
  • TAT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • General Psychology


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