Date of Thesis

5-8-2014

Thesis Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Type

Bachelor of Arts

First Advisor

John Ptacek

Abstract

This study examined distress disclosure, the tendency to confide unpleasant feelings and experiences to others. Other factors under consideration were gender, personality factors (such as extraversion and one's general tendency to disclose), and the identity of the person to whom individuals were asked to disclose. The subject pool included 22 male and 34 female volunteers from Bucknell University. Participants were asked to complete a measure of basic demographics, the Distress Disclosure Index, and the NEO-FFI measure of personality. They were then asked to disclose about an aspect of their lives that they personally found stressful, as if they were confiding in a best friend, a parent, or a professor, respectively. The transcriptions of those recordings were coded for length, depth, and breadth of the disclosure. The researcher hypothesized that greater length, depth, and breadth would be disclosed by females who scored highly on the Distress Disclosure Index, had high extraversion scores on the NEO-FFI, and had been asked to disclose to a best friend. The study found positive associations between openness and depth, neuroticism and depth, and gender with length, such that males were more likely to have longer disclosures. Negative associations were found between extraversion and depth, neuroticism and length, and openness and breadth. Personality factors, gender, and the disclosure target may act as better predictors of the tendency to disclose, rather than of the particular dimensions of disclosure, since every instance is unique.

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