Date of Award

Winter 1995

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Valerian Derlega

Committee Member

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

Patricia L. Clark


This study examined the influence of attachment style on self-disclosure of HIV seropositive status. Subjects were classified according to Bartholomew's model of adult attachment (i.e., secure, preoccupied, fearful, or dismissing). Steps were then taken to assess differences in the subjects' willingness to disclose their HIV seropositive status, the communication style chosen for disclosure, the subjects' perceptions of the importance of disclosing their HIV seropositive status, and the feared negative consequences of disclosure. To increase generalizability subjects were asked to assess their self-disclosure to three types of target persons: lover, same-sex friend, and opposite-sex friend. Attachment style significantly affected perceived importance of disclosure, specific communication directness/indirectness measures, and feared consequences measures. Overall the results reflected the differing stereotypical characteristics of each attachment style. Results also suggested that self-disclosure of one's HIV seropositive status is affected by the intimacy of the relationship. It was concluded that subjects appeared most confident in the relationship with their lover and viewed this particular disclosure with the most importance.


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