Self-Disclosure and Intimacy Processes

What Role Does Self-Disclosure Play In Intimate Relationships?

Self-Disclosure and Intimacy Processes

 

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Self-Disclosure

  • Self-Disclosure:
  • Communicate information about ourselves to others
  • Information that is private, that would not otherwise be known by the “recipient”

 

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Self-Disclosure

  • Types of Disclosure:
  • Descriptive = facts about self
  • “I live in Walla Walla, Washington”
  • “I am 19 years old”
  • Evaluative = personal feelings, opinions, judgements
  • “I like the Beauty and the Beast movie”
  • “I love you”

 

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Self-Disclosure

    • Dimensions:
    • Breadth = how much information
    • Depth = how intimate

 

  • Measuring Self-Disclosure
  • Self-reported disclosure
  • Coding interactions

 

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5 Functions of Self-Disclosure

Expression of Feeling

Let off steam, catharsis

Self-Clarification

By stating views, it helps people to define how they feel and clarify who they are

Social Validation

By expressing oneself, one gets feedback from others. This helps one see the appropriateness and generality of one’s views

 

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5 Functions of Self-Disclosure

 

4) Social Control

Self-disclosure used strategically toward specific goal, tool of social manipulation

  • Ex) Present self in favorable light

Social Connectedness

Develop close and intimate bonds

 

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Relationship Development and Maintenance

  • Social Penetration Theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973)
  • Revealing true self is what creates true intimacy
  • Increasingly intimate levels of disclosure as relationships grow
  • “like peeling layers of an onion”

 

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Social Penetration Theory

 

 

Superficial Level

 

Intimate Level

Very Intimate Level

 

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Social Penetration Theory

 

 

Superficial Level

 

Intimate Level

Very Intimate Level

This would reflect the pattern of disclosure between two people who don’t know each other well.

So if you just meet somebody ,maybe first, second or third interaction you had with someone in class or work somewhere. We see the topics that we are covering are staying pretty shallow. We might just be getting in to intimate level a little bit but not too much. We are not covering ton of topics for staying relatively narrowly focused. So in terms of breath. Breath is narrow we are not talking a lot of things here, and in term of depth we are staying shelf. (superficial level stuff) such as how is weather, I like sunny days..

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Social Penetration Theory

 

 

Superficial Level

 

Intimate Level

Very Intimate Level

This would reflect the pattern of disclosure between two people who know and trust each other.

The people how trust each other. Because you can see here in terms of breath there is lots of information that is being discussed, so you know quite a lot about each other.

And the depth we’ve got all the way to the very intimate level, maybe not everything, maybe there is still things that you keep to yourself or you know some topics that just never come up. (trust and knowledge)

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Relationship Development and Maintenance
Social Penetration Theory (cont)

  • From superficial to intimate
  • From narrow to broad topics
  • People assess the rewards and costs involved in their interactions
  • If rewards are high (positive feedback, partner reciprocation), deeper disclosure
  • If rewards are low (negative feedback), decreased disclosure and withdrawal

 

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To Whom Do We Disclose?

    • Friends, people we like

 

  • People who disclose to us
  • Norm of Reciprocity: strong need to disclose at the same or similar level of intimacy as person who disclosed to us

 

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To Whom Do We Disclose?

  • More disclosure when recipient is a woman
  • Ex) Men will tend to disclose more than women at the very earliest stages of relationships
  • Presumably to initiate relationship development (consistent with sex-roles norm that prescribe men to be the initiators)
  • Spouses
  • Kids disclose more to mothers more than fathers

 

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To Whom Do We Disclose?

  • People who are responsive and warm (Miller, Berg, & Archer, 1983)
  • “Openers” tend to solicit disclosure (Miller, et al.)
Recipient’s “Opener” Score
Person’s Comfort With Disclosure Low High
High 2.2 2.1
Low 1.5* 2.3*

 

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To Whom Do We Disclose?

  • Stranger on the Train/Plane Phenomenon
  • Seems to go against other findings

 

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Meta-Analysis of Self-Disclosure and Liking (Collins & Miller, 1994)

  • Meta-Analyses: Lit review in terms of statistical findings. Aggregate them into a measure of effect size.

 

  • Found evidence to support the following effects

 

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Meta-Analysis of Self-Disclosure and Liking (Collins & Miller, 1994)

 

 

 

 

Jon Discloses to Mary

Jon Likes Mary

Mary Likes Jon

Mary Feels Liked By Jon

Effect A

Effect B

Effect C

Effect D

 

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Meta-Analysis of Self-Disclosure and Liking (Collins & Miller, 1994)

  • Effect A = We like people who disclose to us
  • Effect B = People like those to whom they disclose
  • Effect C = People disclose more to people they initially like
  • Effect D = People perceive that they are liked by people who have disclosed to them

 

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Meta-Analysis of Self-Disclosure and Liking (Collins & Miller, 1994)

  • Exceptions to the Rule:
  • We do NOT like it when strangers reveal highly intimate information to us, especially in a public setting
  • When individuals reveal taboo or non-normative information
  • Abuse

 

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Why Do We Like People Who Disclose?

  • Disclosure is rewarding, especially if seen as directed toward us in particular
  • We feel special, trusted, like
  • Disclosure reveals similarity
  • Remember-we like people who are similar to us!!
  • Disclosure leads us to infer positive attributes in the person disclosing
  • He/She is trusting, friendly, warm

 

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So if you just meet somebody ,maybe first, second or third interaction you had with someone in class or work somewhere. We see the topics that we are covering are staying pretty shallow. We might just be getting in to intimate level a little bit but not too much. We are not covering ton of topics for staying relatively narrowly focused. So in terms of breath. Breath is narrow we are not talking a lot of things here, and in term of depth we are staying shelf. (superficial level stuff) such as how is weather, I like sunny days..

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The people how trust each other. Because you can see here in terms of breath there is lots of information that is being discussed, so you know quite a lot about each other.

And the depth we’ve got all the way to the very intimate level, maybe not everything, maybe there is still things that you keep to yourself or you know some topics that just never come up. (trust and knowledge)

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