Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Sheree D. Conrad

Second Advisor

Jean Rhodes

Third Advisor

Alice S. Carter


The social psychological concept of self-other overlap describes how identities and cognitive representations of people have a tendency to merge as they become closer to one another. Because greater self-other overlap tends to be associated with such positive characteristics as closeness and intimacy, it has generally been considered a desirable trait in relationships. In a previous study (Bell, 2009), preliminary evidence supported the idea that there may in fact be negative consequences to having higher levels of self-other overlap in relationships with domestic violence, including diminished self-esteem and life satisfaction. The current study expands on Bell (2009) study and examines the implications of greater self-other overlap within three different samples: students currently in a romantic relationship, students that recently ended a romantic relationship, and women from a domestic violence shelter who recently ended a violent relationship.