Date of Award

Summer 2005

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Director

Valerian Derlega

Committee Member

Michelle Kelley

Committee Member

Elaine Justice


This study examined what topics (including experiences, feelings, and thoughts) people define as positive self-disclosure. The study also looked at reasons people generate for self-disclosing versus not disclosing something positive. Male and female students spontaneously described a past experience or feeling they perceive to be personal and positive. They then indicated whether or not they disclosed about these experiences or feelings to their father, mother, same-sex friend, and a past or present significant other/spouse. These descriptions were coded into one of eight categories: Religion, Family Development, Friendship, Sex, Romance, Self-Confidence, Achievement, and Helping Behavior, plus a Miscellaneous category. There were no gender differences in the self-descriptions provided by the participants and no gender differences in the frequency of disclosure of these positive self-descriptions. This study also examined differences in disclosure about various positive topics as a function of type of relationship. Disclosure generally was highest to a same-sex friend and dating partner, intermediate to a mother, and least common to a father.


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