Self Disclosure (SD)

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  • Self Disclosure (SD)
    • Jourard: SD = important process in developing romantic relationships
      • Greater SD = greater feelings of intimacy
    • Ppl reveal more intimate info to those they like, and like those that they reveal it to (Collins & Miller)
    • Key study: Sprecher et al
      • Interested whether reciprocal SD was more influential in determining attraction than one-sided SD
      • 156 undergrads paired, began SD task over skype
      • Researchers assessed liking, closeness, perceived similarity and enjoyment
      • Ratings of categories were higher in reciprocal group. Level of SD received was better predictor of liking than SD given
    • Altman & Taylor's Social Penetration Theory
      • Reciprocal exchange of info between partners = deeper understanding
      • When one reveals info, this indicates trust, to further this, the other must also reveal info
        • As each partner reveals more, partners 'penetrate more deeply into each other's lives' forming a deeper connection
    • Altman & Taylor's Breadth & Depth Model
      • Start of a relationship = reveal superficial info
        • Reveal too much too soon = threatens the relationship
          • As relationship develops, SD = deeper
            • Feel secure, reveal intimate, high risk info
    • Importance of reciprocity: Reis & Shaver
      • Once you decide to disclose something, hopefully your partner will respond in a rewarding way
        • Key is that there must be a balance of SD between partners
          • This increases feelings of intimacy and deepens the relationship
    • Evaluation
      • Sprecher & Hendrick: studied heterosexual dating couples, found a +ve correlation between several measures of relationship satisfaction and SD
        • The reverse was also true - less intimate couples SD less
      • SD can help those who want to improve comunication in relationships to increase intimacy
        • Hass & Stafford = 57% gay ppl said open & honest SD maintained relationship
      • Social penetration theory claims relationships are more intimate as SD deepens & broadens, but according to theories of relationship breakdown, couples discuss their deteriorating relationship in an attempt to save it
        • These discussions frequently involve deep SD and yet may not be enough to save the relationship
      • Western cultures engage in more intimate SD than non-western
        • Tang et al: reviewed research regarding sexual SD, concluded people in USA disclose significantly more than people in China
      • We feel more anonymous online, giving us greater comfort to reveal more about ourselves, so relationships formed online will have higher SD
        • Cooper & Sportolari = 'boom & bust' phenomenon. Reveal more online more quickly = 'boom', trust isn't there so difficult to sustain = 'bust'
          • However, Knop et al challenge this, suggesting ppl disclose more FtF, due to eye contact and attentive silence, both of which are absent online


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