Neither traditional psychoanalytic theory nor psychoanalytic ego psychology adequately accounts for the development and psychological significance of having interests. Both developmentally and in terms of ongoing everyday functioning, interests are best understood as object-relational phe-nomena. As is the case with more traditionally understood object relations, interests and related phenomena play a central role in maintaining personality intactness and integrity, particularly in extreme circumstances. It is suggested that neither traditional Freudian instinct theory nor ego psychology does justice to the object-relational nature of interests or to the critical role that inter-ests play in personality functioning. It is concluded that an interest in objects is a critical feature of the development of object relations, based on the inborn propensity to establish cognitive and af-fective links to objects in the world.
Keywords: Interests; Object relations; Freudian drive theory; Sublimation; Theory of motivation in psychoanalysis