Factors affecting attraction: Self-disclosure

  • Factors affecting attraction: self-disclosure:
  • AO1:
  • Self-disclosure: Important early in a relationship:
  • Self-disclosure refers to revealing intimate information to another person. For example, revealing your likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, interests and attitudes. We share what really matters to us. Most people are careful about disclosing too much too soon. Ultimately self-disclosure plays an important role in the development of a realtionship. 
  • Social penetration theory (Altman and Taylor):
  • Self-disclosure is a gradual process of revealing your inner self to someone else. Revealing personal information is a sign of trust. The partner then has to reciprocate and reveal personal information. As romantic partners increasingly disclose more information they 'penetrate' more deeply into each other's lives. Pentration leads to development. Thus they gain greater understanding of each other. 
  • Both breadth and depth of self-disclosure are key according to the social penetration theory. Breadth is narrow at the start of a relationship because if too much information is revealed this may be off-putting and one partner may decide to quit the relationship. As a relationship develops more layers are gradually revealed. We are likely to reveal more intimate information including painful memories, secrets, etc. 
  • Reciprocity of self-disclosure:
  • Reis and Shaver suggest that, in addition to a broadening and deepening of self-disclosure, there must be


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