Significant other

Definition and Usage
– In psychology, significant other refers to a person of great importance in an individual’s life or well-being.
– In sociology, it describes a person with a strong influence on an individual’s self-concept.
– The term was first used by psychiatrist Harry Stack Sullivan in 1940.
– The phrase gained recognition through cultural references in books and TV shows.
– Measurements of the influence of significant others were made by Haller, Fink, and Woelfel at the University of Wisconsin.

Impact on Aspirations
– Expectations of significant others have the most impact on students’ aspirations.
– Woelfel and Haller conducted research on the influence of significant others on status aspirations.

Cultural References
– The term gained popularity in the United States through Armistead Maupin’s book ‘Significant Others.’
– It was also popularized in the UK by the TV series ‘Only Fools and Horses,’ where the character Derek Trotter referred to his long-term partner as a significant other.

Related Terms
– POSSLQ is another term related to significant other.
– Spouse is also a related term.

– 7th ESB Det. Deploys to Afghanistan. DVIDS. 25 October 2009. Retrieved 4 August 2022.
– Anon. Significant other. The Free Dictionary. Farlex Inc. Retrieved 25 January 2010.
– Haller, A. & Woelfel, J. (1972) Significant others and their expectations: Concepts and instruments to measure interpersonal influence on status aspirations. Rural Sociology, 37(4), 591–622.
– Woelfel, J. & Haller, A. (1971) Significant others: The self-reflexive act and the attitude formation process American Sociological Review, 36(1), 74–87.
– Sullivan, Harry Stack (1940). Conceptions of Modern Psychiatry: The First William Alanson White Memorial Lectures, Volume 3, Issue 1 of Psychiatry, journal of the biology and pathology of interpersonal relations. William Alanson White Psychiatric Foundation. p.10.Sources: