A Phenomenological Investigation of the Experience of Ambivalence

In: Journal of Phenomenological Psychology

Ambivalence, broadly defined as feeling more than one emotion at a time, is thought to be a central aspect of human experience and to play an important role in a range of psychological processes. Ambivalence is experienced in close relationships, identity development, social and political attitudes, decision-making behavior, anxiety states, as well as in psychotherapeutic change. Eight undergraduate students participated in phenomenological interviews that were transcribed and served as the basis for the investigation. The primary purpose of this paper is to shed light on the meaning of the experience of ambivalence by explicating the organizational relationships of its constituent meanings. The paper will also clarify the relation of ambivalence to important psychological processes and developmental transitions during young adulthood.

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