Factors Affecting Attraction: Self-Disclosure

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  • Factors Affecting Attraction: Self-Disclosure
    • DEFINITION: Revealing personal information, the more revealed the developed the relationship.
    • Social Penetration Theory
      • Irwin Altman and Dalmas Taylor (1973)
      • Process of revealing your inner self, such as deep thoughts and feelings.
      • Involves reciprocal exchange between partners.
        • Revealing intimate information shows level of trust
        • For relationship to develop, both partners must self-disclose
      • More disclosed = greater understanding of each other is gained.
        • 'Penetrate' into each other's lives.
      • Self-disclosure = relationship reached a stage where it is welcomed, and reciprocated.
    • Breadth and Depth of Self-Disclosure
      • Altman and Taylor: self-disclosure has two elements - breadth and depth.
      • As depth and breadth increases, partners become more committed to each other.
      • Start of relationship = superficial, 'on the surface', information.
        • Low risk information we'd share with anyone.
      • Start of relationship = narrow breadth of self-disclosure, due to 'off-limits' topics
        • Revealing too much too soon may threaten a relationship.
      • As relationship develops, self-disclosure becomes deeper, more is revealed.
        • Eventually reveal intimate and high-risk information - painful memories, experiences, strong beliefs, and secrets.
    • Reciprocity of Self-Disclosure
      • Harry Reis and Phillip Shaver (1988)
      • For a relationship to develop, increasing in depth and breadth, there needs to be reciprocal element to self-disclosure.
      • Once an individual has disclosed, the partner should respond with understanding and empathy - including their own intimate thoughts.


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