Psychological Medicine

Research Article

The development of a measure of intimate bonds

Kay Wilhelma1 c1 and Gordon Parkera1

a1 School of Psychiatry, University of New South Wales, Australia


This paper discusses the relevance of assessing the nature of intimate relationships and reports on the development of such an instrument. The Intimate Bond Measure (IBM) is a self-report measure assessing two key underlying dimensions, care and control. Its properties are assessed in separate studies, establishing its high test-retest reliability, the homogeneous nature of the isolated dimensions, its insensitivity to broad socio-demographic influences and its minimal sensitivity to depressed mood state. Support for its validity, in terms of both perceived and actual characteristics of care and control, is demonstrated. It provides a simple and efficient measure of central constructs underlying intimate relationships, and is of potential use in studies attempting to assess the relevance of intimate relationships to the onset and course of psychiatric disorders.


c1 Address for correspondence: Dr K. Wilhelm, School of Psychiatry, Prince Henry Hospital, Little Bay. 2036, Australia.