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ambivalence(ămbĭv`ələns), coexistence of two opposing drives, desires, feelings, or emotions toward the same person, object, or goal. The ambivalent person may be unaware of either of the opposing wishes. The term was coined in 1911 by Eugen BleulerBleuler, Eugen
, 1857–1939, Swiss psychiatrist. He taught (1898–1927) at the Univ. of Zürich, serving concurrently as director of Zürich's Burghölzi Asylum.
..... Click the link for more information. , to designate one of the major symptoms of schizophreniaschizophrenia
, group of severe mental disorders characterized by reality distortions resulting in unusual thought patterns and behaviors. Because there is often little or no logical relationship between the thoughts and feelings of a person with schizophrenia, the disorder has
..... Click the link for more information. , the others being autismautism
, developmental disability resulting from a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain. It is characterized by the abnormal development of communication skills, social skills, and reasoning. Males are affected four times as often as females.
..... Click the link for more information. and disturbances of affect (i.e., emotion) and of association (i.e., thought disorders). Bleuler felt that there were normal instances of ambivalence, such as the feeling, after performing an action, that it would have been better to have done the opposite; but the normal person, unlike the schizophrenic, is not prevented by these opposing impulses from deciding and acting. In Freudian psychoanalysis, ambivalence was described as feelings of love and hate toward the same person. This specific meaning has attained common usage by psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.
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The coexistence of contradictory emotions, attitudes, ideas, or desires with respect to a particular person, object, or situation.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.