Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


This study was undertaken to explore the phenomenon of romantic attraction. It sought to explore the degree of which imago theory (Hendrix, 1988) may pertain to people's choices of romantic partners and asked the following research question: Are we attracted to romantic partners who tend to resemble our early caregivers? Twelve participants were interviewed as part of this qualitative study, which included three men and nine women. At the time of the study participants ranged in age from 20-57 years old and were all in a heterosexual relationship ranging from seven months to 21 years. The findings of this study support the possibility that imago theory (Hendrix, 1988) "lives" in romantic relationships, i.e., that people may be attracted to partners who are similar to earlier caregivers and that individuals may duplicate their relationship dynamics with childhood caregivers in their adult romantic relationships. The implications of this study are that it may be beneficial for clinicians to discuss and utilize imago theory (Hendrix, 1988) when working with couples or individuals. In addition, it may be helpful for clinicians who utilize this theoretical framework to have gone through self-analysis of their own relationship dynamics with this particular theory in mind.


iii, 43 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)--Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2007. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 35-36).