What is the Fear of Intimacy?
The refers to the apprehension one feels about developing a deep emotional connection with another individual. It involves actively evading the establishment of emotional bonds, particularly in romantic relationships. Furthermore, it entails consciously avoiding being open and vulnerable in any kind of relationship, whether it is a close friendship or a romantic partnership.
Individuals experiencing this fear often display a sense of distrust, which leads them to create emotional distance and struggle with expressing their emotions. Ironically, those affected by the Fear of Intimacy desire emotional connections but feel overwhelmed by the potential challenges and risks associated with such bonds. In severe instances, those with this fear may engage in problematic behaviors as a means of preventing themselves from forming deep and meaningful relationships.
This fear could stem from several things, from experiences of abandonment, attachment issues that they developed during childhood, and even cultural and societal backgrounds.
This fear could impact a person’s mental well-being. Those who have it might develop the tendency to isolate themselves. They might feel intense loneliness, leading to depression and even low self-esteem.
How to use the Fear of Intimacy Test
If you’re a psychologist, therapist, or an adjacent mental healthcare professional treating a patient with a Fear of Intimacy, you can introduce the Fear of Intimacy Test to them.
The Fear of Intimacy Test, also known as the Fear of Intimacy Scale, is a simple questionnaire with thirty-five items, with thirty revolving around a dating relationship and the last five revolving around past relationships.
You can issue this to them in two ways:
- You can conduct it like an interview by reading each item aloud and having your patient select an answer from the scale’s options.
- You can hand a copy of the scale to your patient so they can answer it independently.
Either way, the patient taking the test will answer items including:
- I would feel uncomfortable telling O about things in the past that I have felt ashamed of
- If O were upset I would sometimes be afraid of showing that I care
- I would feel at ease telling O that I care about him/her
- A part of me would be afraid to make a long-term commitment to O
- I would feel uneasy with O depending on me for emotional support
They simply need to select from the following options to answer each item:
- Not at all characteristic of me = 1
- Slightly characteristic of me = 2
- Moderately characteristic of me = 3
- Very characteristic of me = 4
- Extremely characteristic of me = 5
To score this, you simply need to add up the scores for all items. Each answer has a corresponding number. Note that some items have reverse scoring, meaning if they select “Extremely characteristic of me,” they score 1 point instead of 5 points. These items are 3, 6-8, 10, 14, 17-19, 21-22, 25, 27, and 29-30.
The minimum score is 35, and the maximum score is 175. Higher scores mean a more severe fear of intimacy. Do note that there are no score ranges to work with, but treatment for this can be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or Psychodynamic Therapy.
Fear of Intimacy Test Example
Now that you have a general understanding of the concept of the Fear of Intimacy, as well as the components of the Fear of Intimacy Test, including its sample items, how to respond to them, and how to score the test, it's time to explore a complete example of the test. The provided template organizes all the items into two sections: assessing the Fear of Intimacy in current dating relationships and past relationships. Each item is accompanied by five answer choices, from which respondents need to select only one. They can mark their choice with a pen or interact with the radio buttons provided.
If you like what you see and believe this will help you gauge your patients better, download our free Fear of Intimacy Test PDF template!
When is it best to use the Fear of Intimacy Test?
The Fear of Intimacy Test can be a valuable tool to incorporate into your therapy program. However, it is important to consider the timing and establish a strong foundation of trust and rapport with your patient before administering the test. This means progressing beyond surface-level interactions and building a relationship where your patient feels comfortable and believes in your trustworthiness. It's important to note that individuals with a Fear of Intimacy may find it challenging to open up and be vulnerable, especially with a therapist. However, once you have established that trust, they are more likely to be willing to explore and discuss the reasons behind their fear of emotional connections.
Once your patient is willing to discuss their Fear of Intimacy and the underlying causes, that is the opportune moment to introduce the test. The test can serve as a tool to encourage them to delve deeper into their fears and provide a platform for more extensive conversations beyond simply selecting predefined answers.
What are the benefits of using the Fear of Intimacy Test?
It helps patients reflect on their Fear of Intimacy.
Most people don’t necessarily think about their fears. Tests such as the Fear of Intimacy Scale can give them the opportunity to do so. Since they have to answer by picking the choice that best represents them,, they will be thinking more about their Fear of Intimacy.
It helps professionals structure treatment plans accordingly.
A patient’s Fear of Intimacy score can give professionals an idea of how severe their patient’s Fear of Intimacy is. Knowing this can help them tailor-fit their care or treatment plans for their patient.
It can be used to track changes in a patient.
The Fear of Intimacy Scale is not limited to a single administration for each patient. It can be employed multiple times throughout the therapeutic process, allowing for ongoing assessment and patient progress tracking. By administering the scale at different intervals, such as at the beginning, middle, and end of treatment, therapists can gain valuable insights into any shifts or changes in the patient's fear of intimacy over time.