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Factors which encourage and inhibit self disclosure : an exploratory study Old, Fiona Elizabeth Helen 1983

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FACTORS WHICH ENCOURAGE AND INHIBIT SELF DISCLOSURE AN EXPLORATORY STUDY by FIONA ELIZABETH HELEN OLD B.Sc,  U n i v e r s i t y o f Newcastle Upon Tyne, 1973 Diploma i n C o u n s e l l i n g Psychology,  U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i g h Columbia", 198 2. A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department o f C o u n s e l l i n g Psychology) We a c c e p t t h i s t h e s i s as conforming to the r e q u i r e d  standard  UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA March, 1983  ( c ) F i o n a E l i z a b e t h Helen Old, 1983  DE-6  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make it  freely  a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and study.  I further  agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may  be granted by the head o f my  department o r by h i s o r her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . understood t h a t copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s for f i n a n c i a l  gain  ^(J^UM^JM^  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 ,,  Date  (.3/81)  rt  I'M  It i s thesis  s h a l l not be allowed without my  permission.  Department o f  -I'I  thesis  Columbia  written  ABSTRACT  i  F a c t o r s which a f f e c t s e l f - d i s c l o s u r e were i n v e s t i g a t e d i n t h i s study.  The l i t e r a t u r e on t h i s t o p i c was seen t o be  i n a s t a t e o f d i s o r g a n i s a t i o n , and an attempt was made here t o develop some system by which the volume o f i n f o r m a t i o n on What f a c i l i t a t e s and hinders more meaningful.  s e l f - d i s c l o s u r e c o u l d be made  The C r i t i c a l  I n c i d e n t Technique was employed  i n the i n t e r v i e w i n g o f t w e n t y - f i v e  male and female  subjects  from an urban U n i t a r i a n Church, and by which method the data was  analysed.  of p e r c e i v e d  I t was found t h a t s u b j e c t s  responded on a l e v e l  meaning, and on t h i s b a s i s , f a c t o r s , d e r i v e d  from  the i n c i d e n t s presented by the subjects,were c a t e g o r i s e d .  The  process o f c a t e g o r i s a t i o n brought f o r t h a d i s t i n c t i o n t h a t  could  be made between responses of f a c t o r s t h a t were meaningful i n themselves; and responses t h a t were mere i n d i c a t o r s o f meaning. Three major headings emerged: PERSONAL QUALITIES, PERCEIVED COMMONALITY o r PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES, and SITUATIONAL which seemed t o encompass the core o f the meaning o f these f a c t o r s which i n f l u e n c e the s e l f - d i s c l o s i n g process. which i n c l u d e d headings.  Subcategories  the i n d i c a t o r s o f meaning were p l a c e d under these  Thus a system f o r d e r i v i n g meaning from past and  future disparate  r e s e a r c h was developed; a p a r a l l e l was drawn  between these r e s u l t s and the core c o n d i t i o n s o f empathy, unconditional  p o s i t i v e regard,  and genuineness; and the  i m p l i c a t i o n s o f these r e s u l t s on the s e l e c t i o n and t r a i n i n g o f c o u n s e l l o r s were  discussed.  ii  Table of Contents Page List of Tables  v  Acknowledgments  . " V1  Chapter I Introduction  1  Background: The Importance of Self-Disclosure  1  The Problem  4  Chapter II Literature Review  6  Self-Disclosure and Mental Health Factors Affecting Self-Disclosure  . . . . .  6 9  Liking for the Target  12  Sex of the Target  13  Personality Similarity  . .  15  Self-Disclosure  16  Professional Level  18  Race  19  Type of Response  20  Moral Development  21  Experience and Training  21  Physical Attractiveness  22  Trustworthiness  22  Voice Quality Power  .. ."  23 23  iii  Eye Contact  23  Body Motion  24  Religious Status  24  Need for Approval  24  Touch  25  Interviewing Style  25  Chapter III Method  28  Subjects  28  The Critical Incident Technique  29  The Interview  34  Procedure  36  Chapter IV Results  38  Extraction of Factors  38  Categorization  46  Categories of Facilitation and Hindrance  48  Reliability  55  .  Frequencies of Factors  55  Categorical Indicators  58  Chapter VI Discussion  64  Statement of Results  64  Limits of the Study  65  Significance  66  iv  Practical and Theoretical Significance  69  Recommendations for Future Research  71  Summary  73  Bibliography  74  Appendices  82  V  List of Tables Page Table I:  Facilitating Factors  56  Table II:  Inhibiting Factors  57  vi  Acknowledgements I wish to express warm appreciation and thanks to my Committee members Dr. Norm Amundson and Dr. Marv westwood. In particular I thank the Chairman of my thesis committee, Dr. Larry Cochran, for his unfailing willingness to guide me through this work.  I have benefited  greatly from Dr. Cochran's intellectual  integrity and flexibility, not just in this study but throughout the Counselling Psychology program. I would like to reserve a special mention for the members of the Vancouver Unitarian Church who participated in this study.  I have  admiration for the effort and interest they put into their contirbutions. My thanks and love go to Ted, Cathy and Peter, Yvonne and Jacob, and Allan and Isobel Old for all the support they have given me.  1  CHAPTER I Introduction Background:  The Importance of Self-Disclosure  Self-disclosure has been regarded by some as the process by which a person learns to understand himself (Buber, 1965; Tillich, 1952). Further, self-disclosure, or permitting others to learn about significant aspects of oneself, is thought to be a major factor in the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships and mental health. It seems that we come to know ourselves as an outcome of disclosing ourselves to another person.  When we do not acknowledge who or what  we are, we become alienated from ourselves and others. Jourard (1964, 1971) has suggested that psychological and, in some instances, physical illness, may be a result of the playing out of personal or social roles which require the individual to be non self-" disclosing, or which involve the hiding of significant aspects of the self.  He defines a role as "a repertoire of behaviour patterns which  must be rattled off in appropriate contexts, and all behaviour irrelevant to the role must be suppressed."  Jourard says peoples' selves  stop growing when they repress them, and this is what happens to us since few societal roles that a person plays do justice to all of the self.  Consequently, the person cannot be himself.  himself.  He may be self-alienated.  He may not know  When Jourard says that self-dis-  closure is a means by which one achieves personality health, he means i t is not until we are our real selves, and act our real selves, that  2  our real selves are in a position to grow. A number of other researchers see self-disclosure as a concomitant of psychological health.  Rogers' (1961) self-actualised person  is one who is able to reveal himself to others.  Mowrer (1961) contends  that emotional disturbance is engendered by the guilt which follows failure to disclose one's misdeeds to significant others. What consequences follow when people disclose their real selves to one another? Jourard (1971) suggests some of the obvious outcomes. They learn the extent to which they are similar, one to the other, and the extent to which they differ from one another in such as thoughts, feelings, roles and backgrounds. They learn of the other person's needs, enabling them to help him or to ensure that his needs will not be met.  They learn the extent to which this person accords with or  deviates from moral and ethical standards. In any relationship, be it a counselling relationship or a personal one, a person may at first be cautious or distrustful regarding how much of herself she reveals.  If she is listened to well, the  person may go on to express all manner of confidences about herself, some of which she may have previously been unaware, and some of which elicit from within her feelings never before revealed to another.  In  choosing to be self-disclosing or otherwise, we face quite a dilemma. We can play safe and remain "phony" and unauthentic, or we can show our real selves to one another, our true thoughts, feelings, preferences and abilities, and risk rejection by others, the penalties of societal disapproval or false disclosure in response from someone else.  3  While self-disclosure is a risky process, it is also a necessary one i f we are to follow the premises in counselling and psychotherapy, that when a person has been able to disclose herself to another person, she learns how to increase her contact with her real self, and she then may be better able to direct her life. While some information about one's self is rather public and thus is readily disclosed, there is other information about one's self that is private or intimate and is revealed only under special circumstances.  It is this private or intimate information about the self  , that ought to be the focus of both research and theorising about selfdisclosure.  Based on the belief voiced by such as Truax and Carkhuff  (1965), and Jourard (1968), that progress in psychotherapy will vary directly as a function of the self-disclosing behaviour of the client, I contend that an understanding of the process of self-disclosure is fundamental to the practice of counselling psychology.  As Rogers  (1957), maintained, the counsellor uses himself as an agent to facilitate the client's growth. Allen (1973) and Strassberg (1975) stress the importance of self-disclosure for progress in psychotherapy. Allen commented, "In order for any form of psychotherapy to occur, a patient must reveal himself to the therapist (p. 306)." Therefore, as counsellors we must assume responsibility for gaining understanding of all identified components of the growth process, one aspect of which is that of self-exploration which includes within it self-disclosure.  It  is not that self-disclosure in itself should be considered the secret to the "cure," for as Egan (1975) says, it is a stage in a developmental  4  process.  However, as Mowrer demonstrates, in some cases self-dis-  closure can release a great deal of healing forces or resources in any client, and thus adequate self-disclosing behaviour is predictive of therapeutic outcome (Truax and Carkhuff, 1965). Given the importance of self-disclosure in counselling as well as every day life, it seems of great relevance to ask, considering the need for privacy and the risks involved in revealing one's self to another, what happens in the mind of the discloser that frees that person to speak of the self she holds so close? The Problem This study was primarily concerned with examining what factors facilitate and hinder self-disclosure.  The question to be asked of  the discloser was what, from their perspective, encouraged disclosure that they would not ordinarily say. This question arose out of the realization that many factors must contribute to create willingness on the part of the discloser to take the risks involved in self-revelation, so vital to progress in the process of counselling.  Some influences will arise from within the  discloser, some will impinge upon the person from outside.  Some will  affect the discloser within the realm of his awareness, and some will motivate him unconsciously.  Conversely, there are occasions when we,  who are all at sometime or another disclosers, intend to reveal ourselves to another person, and yet find at the eleventh hour that we cannot or will not bring ourselves to utter the words representative of our inner core.  Other factors aside, what is operating in the mind  5  of the discloser that perceives the recipient, or rejected recipient, as being worthy or unworthy of being privy to words aimed at so few? If we as counsellors presume to affect the environment of our clients in ways amenable to the process of self-disclosure, then had we best not consult the s'elf-discloser for his view of what renders for him an environment conducive to the process of sharing intimate aspects of himself?  6  CHAPTER II Literature Review Self-Disclosure and Mental Health A number of studies have uncovered evidence to support the beliefs of theorists such as Jourard who contend that self-disclosure, along with the feedback which it elicits from others, is basic to the development of self-knowledge and understanding, and consequently mental health. Paulson (1980) found that maladjusted male adolescents disclose significantly less to father and male friend, and that they disclose significnatly less about the topic of school and more about peer relations than do adjusted male adolescents.  The implications here are  based on the words of Haley (1962, 1963); Jackson (1965); Watzlawick, Beavin and Jackson (1967), that the importance of a good relationship with one's father is consistent with the belief that personality, character, and deviance are shaped by the individual's interactions within the family context.  Together these findings indicated a lack  of significant communication and relationship with other males for the maladjusted adolescents, suggesting that they are important factors contributing to the boys' subsequent maladjustment. In contrast, Gorman (1973) showed that there is a strong positive relationship between adjustment and self-disclosing behaviour of priests.  In general, the better adjusted ones reveal more about  themselves in every aspect of their lives, than the less well adjusted ones.  7  A second study relating self-disclosure to fuller functioning is that of Weinstein (1973).  The information revealed in this explora-  tory study provided support for the construct of altered states of consciousness as a way of assessing the structures of human consciousness and their relationships to dimensions of health factors.  These  structures were shown to be aspects of intimacy (perimeters or distances of self-disclosure) and age (time).  An alteration was concep-  tualized as a shift to greater intimacy as measured by the SelfDisclosure Questionnaire. A third study (Humphrey, 1976) found no statistically significant curvilinear relationship, but did find a weak positive relationship between self-disclosure and mental health. One study very much concerned with the effects of disclosure on the discloser is that of Fishbein and Laird (1978).  Results were  interpreted to suggest that altered self-perceptions of one's worth may be a consequence of concealment of disclosure.  The act of controlling  information about a personal attribute influenced the subjects' subsequent evaluations of that attribute.  The concealer was apparently led  by his act of concealment to view the critical attribute as negative, while the discloser was led by her disclosure to view the attribute as positive.  In a similar sutdy of self-disclosure as a function of  self-esteem and repression sensitization, Keller (1975) found that low self-esteem in combination with high repression sensitization, was associated with significantly lower self-disclosure scores.  8  Two studies qualify how self-disclosure is related to fuller functioning.  Kim (1973) attempted to demonstrate an interaction effect  of self-disclosure and selectivity on emotion perception and social adjustment.  The results indicated that self-disclosure influences the  accuracy of emotion perception and social adjustment, as well as selectivity.  The results also showed that females were more perceptive  of others' emotions and better socially adjusted than males.  This  difference in emotion perception and social adjustment between males and females was attributed to the finding that females disclosed more than males, and higher disclosers were more perceptive of others' emotions and better socially adjusted than lower disclosers. The ability to adequately differentiate various situational and interpersonal variables and adapt one's disclosures accordingly, has been termed "self-disclosure flexibility" (Chelune, 1975). The results of a study by Chelune (1977) support the notion that the concept of self-disclosure flexibility reflects perceptual awareness of the social-situational norms governing the appropriateness of selfdisclosing behaviour. The ability to adjust or adapt to situational changes is considered to be generally indicate of positive mental functioning (Freeman and Giovannoni, 1969). The findings regarding selectivity in the first of these two studies, and self-disclosure flexibility in the second, point towards the individual, who is able to modulate his self-disclosure across a wider range of social situations in response to situational or interpersonal demands, as being more likely to function inter-personally  9  more adequately than the person who has not learned the discriminant cues that signal whether disclosure is appropriate or inappropriate. Generally, all these studies imply that at the very least selfdisclosure is related to mental health.  The majority of them have shown  that those people who are'well adjusted, or have high self-esteem, or have a positive sense of their self worth, are also people who are found to be very willing to self-disclose, or who indeed do self-disclose a great deal.  Those who score low on self-disclosure are seen to be  less well adjusted.  However, a couple of studies have indicated that  indiscriminate self-disclosure is not healthful, and those who are sensitive to the appropriateness of self-disclosure in different situations are considered to be better able to relate to others than those who are not. Factors Affecting Self-Disclosure In order to rate the privacy of intimacy value of self-disclosure, early research designs have made use of some kind of rating procedure. Subjects have been asked to rate either their willingness to share or their prior experience in sharing information about themselves on a sixty-item questionnaire.  Jourard's (1958) initial research in which  he sorted the sixty items into six general categories, produced two clusters of self-disclosure, a high disclosure cluster (information about one's attitudes and opinions, tastes and interests, and work) and a low disclosure cluster (information about one's finances, personality and body).  These patterns of self-disclosure have been shown  to be highly similar over sex, race, and several national groups  10  (Jourard, 1959b, 1961c; Jourard and Lasakow, 1958; Melikian, 1962; Plog, 1965).  Most of the ensuing research then, will have measured  the degree of self-disclosure on the part of subjects in this, or similar ways. Despite the increasing volume of research being conducted on the subject of self-disclosure, there have been few attempts at compilation of a comprehensive overview of this area.  Goodstein and Reinecker  (1974), however, have published a review of the literature on factors which affect self-disclosure.  Of particular interest to this study is  information regarding how the self-discloser  perceives the target of  self-disclosure, and what variables the self-discloser considers to have been of importance in their willingness to share, or not, their private, intimate information.  Goodstein and Reinecker point out that  people are differentially self-disclosing, depending on their relationship with the target person or recipient of the self-disclosure. Jourard and Landsman (1960); Rickers-Ovsiankina (1956); RickersOvsiankina and Kusmin (1958) report that we disclose more to those with whom we are intimate, as would be expected.  Also, Rickers-Ovsiankina  and Kusmin (1958) report that we are also willing to share fairly intimate disclosures with total strangers.  So we self-disclose to those  who have already demonstrated that they will not punish our self-disclosure, and to those who have no capacity for punishing such behaviour, namely, total strangers. Having chosen our target for self-disclosure, what more specifically is there about this person, or what does this person do that encourages  11  us to go ahead and reveal ourselves, or inhibits us from saying what it is that we intended to say? Much of the literature has focused in particular on the process of self-disclosure in the counselling situation, rather than within personal relationships outside the therapeutic setting.  Factors shown to affect self-disclosure which pertain to how  the self-discloser sees the target person, and how they have influenced the discloser's willingness, or otherwise, to self-disclose, include among them: - Liking for the target - Sex of the target - Personality similarity - Self-disclosure - Professional level - Race - Type of response from the target - Moral development - Experience and training - Physical attractiveness - Trustworthiness - Voice quality - Status/position of power - Eye contact - Body motion/language - Religious status - Need for protection/approval  12  - Touch - Style of interviewing Liking for the Target Barrell and Jourard (1976) found that although we may be more willing to disclose to someone we like because of the meaningfulness of the relationship, we may also fear that much would be lost i f this relationship is permanently damaged by the disclosure.  It appears, they  say, that a liked person is always perceived as important to us, while a disliked person might be perceived as important or unimportant. Therefore, a fundamental variable related to willingness to self-disclose appears to be the perceived importance of the other person. The results of Gelman and McGinley (1978) indicated that people are more attracted to others whose self-disclosure is similar to their own level of self-disclosure, and that this attraction has an effect on the person's self-disclosure.  This finding implies that the con-  gruity of disclosure level between therapist and client, may not be as crucial for the client whose characteristic level of disclosure is high, since the client is likely to continue his or her personal disclosure in the presence of the therapist.  However, i f a client who has  a characteristically low level of disclosure, perceives his or her therapist to be overly disclosing, then there is the possibility that the client might develop negative feelings toward the therapist that could preclude or interfere with successful counselling. Pederson and Higbee (1969b) report that.disclosers attribute a variety of positive qualities to targets of self-disclosure, such as  13  warmth, friendliness, and closeness, suggesting that general liking can be further analyzed and differentially evaluated. However, Gary, Davis and Devivo (1977) found that although examination of levels of intimate disclosures fluctuated across trials, the group process did not produce a significant change in the interpersonal attraction of individuals.  In their study, the dependent  variable of eye color, not liking, was the best predictor of changes across the slope of disclosures. Some controversy exists, then, in how liking affects self-disclosure.  While some studies say a factor such as eye color is a more  reliable predictor of degree of self-disclosure, others indicate that aspects of liking or disliking, such as the importance of the individual, their warmth and friendliness, and their degree of attraction relating to how similarly they disclose, are all reliable predictors of whether a person will disclose or not. Sex of the Target Almost all studies unite in the finding that self-disclosure is affected by sex and sex role identity.  Most studies support the find-  ing that American females self-disclose more than males. alities follows.  Other gener-  Same sexed friends are reported as more frequent  recipients of self-disclosure than opposite sexed friends (Dimond and Munx, 1967; Jourard et a l . , 1958, 1963, 1964, 1971).  Mothers are  reported as more frequently the recipients of self-disclosure by both high school students (Rivenbark, 1966) and college students (Jourard and Lasakow, 1958), regardless of sex.  Married subjects tend to dis-  14  close more to their spouses than to any other general group of targets (Jourard and Lasakow, 1958). Firstly, then are three studies on the effects of sex and reciprocity on self-disclosure.  Buchman (1977) found, overall, that subject  intimacy increased as interviewer intimacy increased; however, the pattern of increase varied according to the pairings of interviewer sex and subject sex.  Female subjects with either interviewer, and  male subjects with a female interviewer, were most intimate when interviewer intimacy was at a medium or high level; male subjects with a male interviewer were most intimate when interviewer intimacy was at a high level.  In Wernimont's (1978) study, both male and female sub-  jects showed a moderately consistent pattern of greater attraction for a same sexed interviewer who disclosed a high percent of similarity information when compared to a low percent of similarity information. Deforest's and Stone's (1980) results indicated strong support for the reciprocity effect, and indicated that females are more willing to disclose than males. This leads into three more studies that found females to disclose significantly more than males.  Fuller (1963) found that when coun-  sellor sex and experience, and client sex, presenting problem, and preference regarding counsellor sex were controlled, female clients were judged to have expressed more feeling than males, and no preference clients' feeling expression scores increased more than did the scores of prefer-male clients.  In client counsellor pairs, including  a female, there was more expression of feeling and increase of same,  15  than in all male pairs.  Eichler (1976) showed that females approached  each other more on almost all dependent variables.  Then, Lombardo and  Berzonsky (1979), whose male and female subjects were interviewed by members of their same sex on three topics of increasing intimacy, found that there were significant differences in disclosure on the three topics, and that females disclosed significantly more than males. Their results support the assumptions that American females are encouraged to self-disclose but males are not encouraged. The findings of Feldstein's (1979) study indicated males disclosed most to feminine female counsellors, and disclosed least to masculine female counsellors.  Females, on the other hand, disclosed ,  most to feminine male counsellors, and disclosed least to masculine male counsellors.  In addition, male subjects indicated greater satis-  faction with feminine counsellors than masculine counsellors, regardless of sex.  Female subjects were most satisfied with masculine  counsellors, regardless of sex. So the trends that emerge, as outlined by these studies, in terms of how sex affects self-disclosure, are that males prefer feminine counsellorsand females prefer masculine counsellors, regardless of sex; females appear to disclose more than males; and the reciprocity effect applies to both sexes with certain sex pairing conditions. Personality Similarity Persons and Marks (1970) compared amount of self-disclosure to different targets.  They discovered that interviewee self-disclosure  was greatest when the interviewer had the same M.M.P.I. (Minnesota  16  Multiphasic Personality Inventory) code type as the interviewee, suggesting that personality similarity or compatibility may be a factor in self-disclosure.  Much has been done to measure the relationship of  psychological adjustment to self-disclosure, but this one study reveals the dearth of information regarding the relationship of personality similarity to self-disclosure. Self-Disclosure Within the context of interpersonal situations, research studies have suggested that self-disclosure may be governed by a principle of reciprocity, wherein self-disclosure by one party in a dyadic interaction, fosters increased or more intimate self-disclosure on the part of the other party. The following studies support the concept of reciprocity. Scheid (1976) found that while in absolute terms participants were willing to discuss more intimate information as the counsellor was willing to share"moreeinfdrmation, on the other hand participants were willing to reveal proportionately less as the counsellor was willing to reveal more and more.  Similarly, Giannandrea and Murphy (1973) found that an  intermediate number of counsellor similarity self-disclosures  resulted  in significantly greater subject return than did few or many selfdisclosures.  Mann and Murphy (1975) supported the reciprocity hypo-  thesis, and found that positive results occurred employing both similar and dissimilar self-disclosures.  Then Feigenbaum (1977) demonstrated  reciprocity in self-disclosure, and also showed that interviewers' self-disclosures were not superior to reflecting comments in eliciting  17  intimate self-disclosures by the interviewees. A similar study by Jourard and Jaffe (1970) examined the modeling phenomenon.  Subjects did disclose themselves on a variety of personal  topics, and the length of their utterances was obviously influenced by the duration of the experimenter's disclosures.  The results of  Bundza and Simonson (1973) paralled those of Jourard and Jaffe (1970). The therapist's disclosures in both studies were warm. The results of the studies of Simonson (1976), and Derlega and Lovell (1976), whilst similar in their findings, also suggest that while some disclosure by a warm therapist can facilitate patient disclosure, it can also be overdone, especially early in therapy, and can become counterproductive. Doster and Brooks (1974) concluded that the presence or absence of a model, rather than the positive or negative disclosures of the interviewer, had the strongest effect on intervieweee self-disclosure. In contrast, Jones (1979) found that with positive modeling conditions the highest self-disclosures occurred, and with the negative modeling conditions the lowest self-disclosures occurred. However, in his review of the research on the effects of modeling procedures in helping relationships, Heller (1969) cited a study by Whalen (1969) in which Whalen found that in a group setting neither instructions nor modeling alone could produce high levels of selfdisclosure.  A combination of detailed, exhortative instructions plus  modeling were required. Lastly, are two studies which examined the effects of the nature of the self-disclosure of the counsellor on the cleint.  McCarthy and  18  Betz (1978) drew a distinction between self-disclosing and self-involving responses.  The former'they defined as "a statement of factual infor-  mation on the part of the helper about himself or herself."  The latter  they defined as "a statement of the helper's personal response to statements made by the helpee."  Their results suggest that counsellor  self-involving responses may be more likely than self-disclosing responses to enhance the process of client self-exploration in the present, and to maintain the focus of the counselling relationship on the client, rather than on the counsellor.  Gabbert (1976) found that  it was only in groups receiving both cognitive (the information), and behavioural (the way in which information is disclosed) forms of the interviewer disclosure, that any measurable increase in interviewee disclosure resulted. Most studies seem to support the notion of reciprocity, and show that appropriate modeling has an effect on self-disclosure.  Very  high self-disclosure on the part of the counsellor is seen as counterproductive in eliciting self-disclosure from clients, and personal statements from the interviewer encourage more intimate responses from clients than does factual information. Professional Level Acosta (1979) found that subjects showed significantly higher self-disclosure to the therapist introduced as an Anglo American professional.  It was concluded that the therapist characteristic of  ethnicity and professional level are important for eliciting different client responses.  19  Race In relation to other investigations on racial differences, besides the preceding study, the results point out a good measure of complexity in self-disclosure patterns.  Blacks report less total self-disclosure  on self-report inventories (Dimond and Hellkamp, 1969; Jourard, 1958), and less self-disclosure to their fathers than do whites (Jourard, 1958; Jourard and Lasakow, 1958; Littlefield, 1969).  The most consistent  national difference is that of total reported self-disclosure, with Americans generally the most self-disclosing. An example of a study contrary to the findings of Acosta (1979) where ethnicity was deemed important, is that of Casciani (1978). His findings indicate that the race of a self-disclosing model is not a significant factor in affecting white subjects' self-disclosures, whereas the model's sex and topic affect are significant factors. Derlega and Stepien (1977) did studies which reflected different attitudes about sex roles governing self-disclosure by American versus Polish subjects.  In their first study, most American norms governing  reactions to self-disclosure to friends and strangers were replicated. Disclosure of personal information to a stranger is disapproved, whereas disclosure to a friend is approved. Somewhat different from the American data, Polish students disapproved of nondisclosure to a friend, but not to a stranger.  In the second study, American norms governing  self-disclosure to males and females were not replicated. Polish students did not judge differently, disclosure by males and females.  20  Type of Response Two similar studies were conducted by Shapiro, Krauss and Truax (1969) and Sasso (1976) with similar results.  Sasso found the ability  to communicate the following core conditions to be associated with self-disclosure:  (1) empathic understanding; (2) respect; (3) genuine-  ness; (4) self-disclosure; (5) concreteness; (6) confrontation; and (7) immediacy.  Shapiro, Krauss and Truax (1969) found that individuals  who were perceived as offering highest levels of therapeutic conditions of empathy, warmth and genuineness were given the most disclosure, both positive and negative. Berger (1978) concluded that it appears that a good counsellor needs to have skills in various modes—to respond to feelings when the client expresses them, and to respond to logic when the client speaks logically.  Showalter (1974) found that the smile stimulus produced  significantly more affect statements than either nod or nod/smile. In his study Burke (1976) found that one of the reasons spouses share with one another is that they receive novel perspectives on, or alternative approaches to their problems, and an enhancement of interpersonal understanding between the marital partners.  Women resist  disclosing because of unreceptiveness and unresponsiveness on the part of their husbands.  Men reported that they do not disclose because  their problems were beyond the appreciation or understanding of their wives. Ability to communicate core conditions, responsiveness, and ability to respond at the level of the client, all encourage self-dis-  21  closure, these studies would indicate. Moral Development Barkley (1978) found in his study of practicum counsellors and clients that those pairs with higher moral development, tended to disclose more than those with lower moral development. Experience and Training Previous research suggests that individuals' disclosure histories are relevant to students' willingness to reveal themselves to helpgivers, and to their perceptions of various helpers.  Schneider and  Lankford (1978) found that high disclosers thought that it was more appropriate for individuals to take greater risk in revealing personal information to help-givers than low disclosers.  It appeared that  individuals discriminated more among help-givers of different training when discussing personal, social problems than educational, vocational concerns.  It is interesting that subjects did not discriminate among  professionals' personal characteristics.  Janpol (1977) conducted a  related study and found that subjects with positive attitudes toward counselling were generally quite willing to self-diclose, regardless of counsellor status.  However, for subjects with negative counselling  attitudes, low status counsellors elicited more self-disclosure willingness than did high status counsellors.  Finally Merluzzi and Banikiotes  (1978) found expert and nonexpert high disclosing counsellors were more attractive than expert low disclosing counsellors.  22  From these studies, one perspective indicates that high disclosing counsellors are more attractive regardless of status, while another perspective shows that status is important in eliciting self-disclosure, especially in those with negative attitudes toward counselling.  Also,  actual training has been seen to be more important than personal characteristics in eliciting self-disclosure. Physical Attractiveness Cash and Salzbach (1978) found that self-disclosure improves the personal attractiveness of counsellors.  Thus, the physically un-  appealing counsellor who selectively and contingently reveals appropriate personal feelings and experiences, can improve initial appeal to the point of equality or practical equality with counsellors whose appearances are advantageously predisposing.  Marcus' (1976) results  were supportive of the above study. Trustworthiness Woods (1978) concluded that the promise of confidentiality does make a difference in how open people are in their disclosures, at least in the initial stages of the relationship. Cash, Stack and Luna (1975) found that subjects who scored high on the trust scale, and who therefore had more trusting attitudes toward people, behaved in a more trusting way.  In support, Wheeless and  Grotz (1977) found a modest linear relationship between individualized trust and various dimensions of self-disclosure.  23  The more trust people feel, and the more sure they are of confidentiality being respected, the more they self-disclose.  However, it  was concluded that sufficient levels of trust may be prerequisite to disclosure but not a guarantee of i t . Voice Quality One study evaluated the effects of counsellor voice quality on self-disclosure levels.  Female counsellor voices elicited significantly  higher ratings of self-disclosure than male counsellor voices at all voice levels (Musika, 1978). higher levels than females.  Also, male subjects self-disclosed at These findings seem to relate in a  supportive way to the studies showing that males prefer feminine counsellors, but they do not seem to relate positively to the findings that females prefer masculine counsellors. Power High self-disclosure seems to make one appear to be more powerful , according to Asher (1978). Eye Contact The hypothesis that the face to face seating position would lead to a higher percentage of eye contact was confirmed by Griffin (1978). Subjects with greater contact with a confederate in the visual dimension increased contact in the verbal dimension.  24  Body Motion Two studies can be cited under this heading. Firstly, Schutz (1977) defined "body boundedness" as an individual 's feelings that he is enclosed by a protective, delimiting surface. He found a curvilinear relationship between self-disclosure and body boundedness, in that subjects with an intermediate level of body boundedness disclosed with greater intimacy than subjects with high or low levels of body boundedness. Secondly,', as body motion increased in the male counsellor-actor, subjects stated they would disclose themselves more.  As body motion  decreased in the female counsellor-actor, subjects indicated they would disclose more.  These results were uncovered by Gardner (1973).  Religious Status Attire, rather than religious status, appears to be more influential in eliciting responses from interviewees, according to Long and Long (1976).  Males were more open in the presence of an interviewer  not in habit; females with an interviewer wearing a habit. Need for Approval When approval is expected from the interviewer, need for approval, verbalization, and eye contact increased together (Heitzmann, 1974). However, when confrontation is expected, verbalization decreases as need for approval increases. Cravens (1975) showed that high need for approval subjects revealed themselves more intimately in public than in private conditions,  25  whereas low and moderate need for approval subjects disclosed more intimately in private than in public. Touch Raiche (1977) found that child subjects chose a counsellor who employed touch significantly more frequently than the counsellor who did not. Interviewing Style Beharry (1976) and Rochers (1977), in support, found that type of interviewing style--self-disclosing,  probing, reflective and  supportive—produced no differential effects upon amount and intimacy of disclosure during the interview.  So ends a long and unorganized list.  The research to date can  be seen to have left this collection of studies, on factors which affect self-disclosure, in somewhat of a state of disarray.  In the  first place, short of the above mentioned review of the literature on the part of Goodstein and Reinecker (1974), next to nothing has been done in the way of penetrating this material in order to identify a central meaning, around which these influences over self-disclosing behaviour might revolve.  It was one aim of this study to attempt to  organize the volume of information about factors which affect selfdisclosure, into some form of cohesive grouping.  It was hoped that by  doing this, some common denominators behind the numbers of factors so far cited, would be illuminated, and that a fuller understanding of why  26  these same factors do affect self-disclosure would be achieved. For example, it would be interesting to find out what is so powerful about voice quality, or body motion, or sex that self-disclosure is seen to be so definitely affected one way or the other. Secondly, the studies have almost always used some kind of rating procedure to measure amount of actual self-disclosure, or willingness to self-disclose.  The information thus received will then be confined by  the limitations of those objective measures.  It was thought that an  open-ended and exploratory approach would be a valuable aim of this study, more likely to uncover information previously left dormant. One method of satisfying this aim was thought to be that of studying the subject directly from the discloser's point of view, rather than allowing some kind of rating scale to intervene.  Another method was to  employ an exploratory technique. A large percentage of the research on self-disclosure has been conducted within the counselling analogue, and yet while we all participate in this aspect of human behaviour, only a small number of us engage in counselling activities, or even i f so, only a small percentage of our self-disclosures take place within a counselling context. To look at what affects self-disclosure from the perspective of the population at large, rather than from the viewpoint of those familiar with, or prejudiced in favour of the counselling process, was a third aim of the study. In summary then, this study is intended to explore and order current research, in the hopes that a new understanding of the information  27  could be reached.  At the same time, the study was designed in such a  way that i t was left open to gleaning more information on what affects self-disclosure, and a population was chosen such that a wider cross range of perspectives was encouraged, than that confined to people with a counselling orientation.  28  CHAPTER III Method Subjects The.sample for this study was attained from a population of people who attend an urban Unitarian Church.  The population consists  of people of all ages, whose commonality rests in a code of ethics that encompass different philosophies and religions which are seen to be supportive of mankind.  This population includes within it people from  different races, professions and spiritual and secular beliefs.  In-  cluded amongst these people are professional and lay counsellors, people who attend counselling, and people who neither practice counselling nor consider receiving counselling. The subjects consisted of 25 Unitarian Church attenders; were 20 females, and 5 males.  There  Subjects' ages ranged from early twenties,  to late sixties and early seventies.  Occupations represented were such  as student, teacher, writer, nurse, secretary, housewife, therapist, and some people were retired.  Some of the subjects were involved in  counselling, or had been involved in counselling, as clients or counsellors.  The majority seemed to have had no direct experience with  counselling.  Almost all subjects had completed a high school education,  and many had at least some college or university education. These participants came forward in response to an initial letter of contact published in the church bulletin (see Appendix 1), and announcements made during two church services.  Some of the subjects  29  volunteered in person to participate in the study, while others offered their services by phone.  Subjects had been informed that the study to  be conducted was to explore the topic of self-disclosure; that approximately one hour of their time would be required for individual interviews; that 25 male and/or female volunteers of 18 years and over were needed; and that interviews would be taped. The Critical Incident Technique The Critical Incident Technique was used in this study, and consists of a set of procedures for collecting direct observations of human behaviour in such a way as to facilitate their potential usefulness in solving practical problems and developing broad psychological •principles (Flanagan, 1954).  This method outlines procedures for  collecting observed incidents of special significance which meet systematically defined criteria. By an incident, is meant any observable human activity that is sufficiently complete in itself to permit inferences and predictions to be made about the person performing the act.  To be critical, an  incident must occur in a situation where the purpose or intent of the act seems fairly clear to the observer, and where its consequences are sufficiently definite to leave little doubt concerning its effects. The Critical Incident Technique developed from studies in the Aviation Psychology Program of the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. Flanagan (1946) wrote, "The procedure was developed for making systematic analyses of causes of good and poor performance. The object of the procedure was to obtain first hand reports, or reports from objective  30  records, of satisfactory and unsatisfactory execution of the task assigned.  The cooperating individual described a situation in which  success or failure was determined by specific reported causes. This procedure was found very effective in obtaining information from individuals concerning their own errors, from subordinates concerning errors of their superiors, from supervisors with respect to their' subordinates, and also from participants with respect to co-participants." Once the incidents have been collected the next stage is to summarize and describe the data in an efficient manner so that it can be effectively used.  Flanagan identifies three primary problems:  (a) the selection of the general frame of reference that will be most useful for describing the incidents; (b) the inductive development of a set of major area and subarea headings; and (c) the selection of one or more levels along the specificity-generality continuum to use in reporting the requirements. Flanagan discusses solutions to these problems as below: (a)  Frame of reference.  In selecting the general nature of the  classification, the principal consideration should be that of the uses to be made of the data.  The preferred categories  will be those believed to be most valuable in using the statement of requirements. (b)  Category formulation.  The usual procedure is to sort a  small sample of incidents into piles that are related to the frame of reference selected.  After these tentative categories  31  have been established, brief definitions of them are made, and additional incidents are classified into them. During this process, needs for redefinition and for the development of new categories are noted.  This process continues until  all the incidents have been classified., (c)  General behaviours.  This is the problem of weighing the  advantages of the specificity achieved in specific incidents against the simplicity of a relatively small number of headings. Several considerations should be kept in mind in establishing headings for major areas and in stating critical requirements at the selected level of generality. 1.  These are listed below:  The headings should indicate a clear-cut and logical organization.  2.  Titles should convey meaning in themselves.  3.  The list of statements should be homogeneous, i.e, the headings for either areas or requirements should be parallel in content and structure.  4.  Headings of a given type should all be of the same level of importance.  5.  The headings used should be such that findings in terms of them will be easily applied and maximally useful.  6.  The list of headings should be comprehensive and cover all incidents having significant frequencies.  Anderson and Nilsson (1964) are probably the best reference providing information on the reliability and validity of the Critical  32  Incident Technique. They studied several reliability and validity aspects of the method when i t was applied in analyzing the job of store managers in a Swedish grocery company, including the following. Analysis:  saturation and comprehensiveness.  An important  question with this technique, is whether or not the collection of data has been sufficiently comprehensive to include all types of behavioural units that the method is seeking to cover. same interviewee were placed together.  All incidents from the  Then the first 5% of incidents  in each of the groups of participants were put together in one group, and the next 5% of the incidents in another and so on. groups were formed, numbered 1 to 20.  Twenty such  In such a manner, it was possible  to determine how the number of subcategories increased with the number of collected incidents, i.e., how soon in the collection procedure the subcategories come up. The number of subcategories increased very rapidly at the beginning, and became slower, and when about two-thirds of the incidents had been classified, 95% of all subcategories had appeared.  Thus it seemed that the collection of the data had not been  stopped too early. Reliability of collecting procedure. A question of concern in this study is whether, and to what extent, the number of incidents and their distribution in subcategories were affected by the methods of collection, and by the interviewers.  The interviews provided five  incidents per person, and the questionnaire used, 2.5 incidents per person.  Tested by the Kolmogorov-Smirnov two-sample test, the differ-  ence is significant.  On the other hand, the structure of the two  33  materials was not affected in the same way.  The rank correlation be-  tween the sizes of the categories was~.85, in spite of the fact that the percentage of replies to the questionnaire was very low (24%). There were no great differences in the number of incidents per interview between the interviewers who interviewed the personnel. This was tested by the "Kruskal-Wallace one-way analysis of variance by ranks" for each of the four employee groups. The rank correlations of the size of the categories between the materials of the interviewers A-E, were calculated.  The materials  of interviewers D and E were very small because they conducted fewer interviews.  This may explain why the correlation co-efficients for  these interviewers were lower.  They ranged from .56 to .86. The  correlation co-efficients for the materials of interviewers A-C ranged from .81 to .86.  So, apart from D and E, the structures of the  materials obtained by the interviewers are very similar, as shown by the co-efficients of concordance (A-C W=.89; and A-E W=.78), and the average correlations (A-C r  =.83;.A-E r av  Control of categorization.  =.72). av  The essential thing seems to be  that the category system chosen is an obvious one, and with as small a degree of arbitrariness and chance as possible.  Andersson and  Nilsson showed that even i f two groups of students place an incident in different subcategories, they have struggled and shown a strong tendency to place then'ncident in the same category, before deciding on different categories.  This in turn suggests that the category system  chosen is plausible and not too subjective.  34  Analysis of contents of training literature.  In order to study  the question of validity, an analysis was made of the contents of the literature used by the enterprise in the internal training of managers. In general, i t may be said that the analysis of contents did not reveal any new aspects, and so it appears that the Critical Incident method succeeded in including all the important aspects of the work. The importance of the subcategories.  Also, regarding validity  is the question whether the incidents collected are really critical in the sense that a large number of judges find them important to the work at hand.  The average reliability co-efficient calculated was .83  when 86 subcategories were rated on a six-point scale from 0 (unimportant) to 5 (of the greatest importance for the store manager's work). In conclusion, these methodological checks are very supportive of the Critical Incident Technique. Both reliability and validity aspects of the technique, according to these studies reported, appear to be sound. The Interview In this study the Critical Incident Technique was employed to help subjects reveal, from their own perspective, what it was about the other person that encouraged them to self-disclose, or inhibited them from self-disclosing. The interviewer opened the interview session with a standard preamble which ran as follows: From time to time each one of us discloses to another person. This is when we say something about ourselves to another that we consider to be very personal or private. Sometimes we will say something about which we have previ-  35  ously been unaware, and at other times we may simply go ahead and reveal something that we have purposely kept hidden from other people. I am interested in learning what,, from your own point of view, there might be about the person to whom you disclose, that encourages you in going ahead and revealing what it is you have to say. The interview then could take place.  The questions were open-ended,  and became more probing as the subject responded. * ** The Interview Interviewer:  Can you think of a time, perhaps the last time, when you did say something about yourself, that you consider to be personal or private, to another person.  Or, can you  think of an occasion when you intended to say something personal but something about the other person,.or something they did, caused you to change your mind. Interviewer:  (If the subject answers 'yes')  Was what you said, (or  nearly said), on this occasion so personal that you would not ordinarily say this to an acquaintance, or even a close friend? Interviewer:  (If subject answers 'yes')  You have thought of an  occasion when you self-disclosed (or nearly self-disclosed but changed your mind).  Can you tell me what led up to  this incident when you talked about yourself as you did (or nearly talked about yourself but changed your mind)?  36  Interviewer:  Perhaps you could tell me what it was about this person to whom you disclosed (or nearly disclosed) or what it was that they did, that encouraged you to say what you did (or discouraged you from saying what you wanted to say)? * * *  The interviewer then, by a process of reflecting and clarifying, probed for as much information as the subject could give, on what it was about the other person that encouraged them to self-disclose, or inhibited them from self-disclosing.  In instances where the subject was  unable to pinpoint an incident of self-disclosure, or an incident when they withdrew from self-disclosing, it was necessary for an exchange to take place between the interviewer and subject on the topic of selfdisclosure along the lines of that outlined in the preamble to the interview, until such time as the subject could identify an . incident about which they were willing to speak. Procedure Appointment times for the interview sessions were arranged with the subjects by phone.  The Unitarian Church offered a room to be used  for the purpose of the study.  Twenty-one of the twenty-five subjects  were seen on the church premises, and one subject was interviewed at The University of British Columbia campus, while three were interviewed in their homes.  All of the interviews were carried out individually.  Following a brief introduction to the study, each subject was asked to read and sign a consent form (see Appendix 2).  This form re-  37  minded the subject that their interview would be taped, and when depersonalized notes had been extracted, the tapes would be erased. They were also reminded of their volunteer status, and that they could withdraw from the study entirely, or refuse to answer any question, without penalty.  They were also told that one hour had been selected, as an  average of the time required to conduct the interview, but that they were free to finish earlier or take more time i f they wished. The standard preamble was then given to the subject and the interview was carried out.  38  CHAPTER IV Results From this study of factors affecting self-disclosure, the 25 subjects came up with 88 incidents altogether.  The incidents, 58  facilitating and 30 inhibiting, contained within them a total of 519 factors.  This produced an average of 3.52 incidents per person, and  approximately 20.76 factors each.  Twenty of the 25 subjects were female,  and they produced 46 of the 58 facilitating incidents, while the 5 males produced 12 facilitating incidents.  The female subjects produced 25 of  the 30 inhibiting incidents, and the males produced the other 5 inhibiting incidents. Extraction of Factors Having recorded the information on tape, it was necessary to transcribe the data into depersonalized notational form and erase the tapes.  The first step involved separating facilitating and inhibiting  incidents onto two stacks of cards.  It became obvious throughout this  process that each incident contained within it many and varied factors. It appeared that incidents in their entirety could not be used because of the number of factors contained within them. At this point the meaning of the mass of information was unclear. The responses of the subjects were recorded on the cards in chronological order, and the information was scanned for meaning, frequency, and pattern amongst the factors.  39  One pattern which emerged early, and this was constant throughout all incidents, since it relates to the nature of the interview, was that the natural responses of the subjects produced factors which seemed meaningful in that they often related to the personal qualities of the target to whom they had disclosed, or to a lack in these same qualities, resulting in their decision to inhibit self-disclosure. When probed for further information, the subjects came up with specific features, acts which had signified to them the presence, or lack, of these qualities in their targets. were clearly secondary.  But these specific features and acts  Their importance depended upon their perceived  meaning, and will be termed "indicators," to reflect this status. In order to provide exemplification of this trend in the data, some quotations of subjects' responses of incidents containing facilitating factors, and incidents containing inhibiting factors, will be presented.  In an attempt to give clarification of the responses which  were natural, as distinct from those elicited due to probing on the part of the interviewer, the former will be underlined with a solid black line, and the probed responses with a dotted black line.  These  probed responses were those which later resulted in the emergence of "acts" and "behaviours" signifying the natural responses. Sample 1:  She showed understanding, concern and interest in how I was feeling.  She's the type of person who wants sharing, self-  disclosure, herslef.  ^o_sh_e^_s_w2.1 l_ing_tp_ exp_ress_ h_er_ fee_li_ng_s  and t_hjn£S_that_ are bjotjierino_ her., and she wants the same for me.  So it's a mutual sort of thing.  I feel not so  40  willing to disclose with people who don't do the same with me. Sample 2:  I think the inhibiting factors would be, if_she_had_sa^id_, ^_gosh[ I_ re a] lj/_u n_de_r st an d_ how y_ou_ mus_t_f e_ej_;_b^t_s he_di_dr^' t_. Then you'd feel that that person's been there too, she understands what I'm feeling so it's o.k. to say a little bit more.  But she shared a little bit in the fact that she  said, 'I've had a similar experience but it's really my daughter'.. .she_ did_ se I f i _ s c_l os e_ to_a_ce_rtai_n_exte_nt_ but_ H iLlly_i.t was_ her daughter so that didn't make me feel that e  she really understood. Sample 3:  I respect him tremendously. for understanding people.  He just seems to have a knack He's very, very warm.  While I  was sobbing my way through this tale, hjsjA/a_s^o_ld_ing_my_ hancU_ and that was a really, really nice gesture.  There  was h_ug_gjng_ and_ kjs_sj_ng_, and at the end of the evening I could tell him that I loved him. Sample 4:  I wanted this person to share this anger which I had always seen as bad, and here I was expressing it and enjoying the feeling, and this person wasn't with me and...He created d_ista_nc_e_be_twee_n_uby_moyi_n£ away^ h_e_wouJ_diV t_ k>ok_at, me^ and I realized that when he moved so far away from me that jie_ha_d_hi_s_back_ against_ the_ waVl^ I realized that he was so uncomfortable that I stopped.  41  Sample 5:  I very consciously chose her because she is an accepting person... She_ sjiared_wi_th me something that was important to her.  There's something in people being beyond the kind  of jargon thing that says, do I hear you saying, and that finishes me right off.  And this was a thing she wasn't  saying...applying rules to the situation.  She wasrTt  mec_hanica_l. Sample 6:  I got quite angry about something and I_ r_e^d3Tarm_in_ her eyes.  She got quite startled when I raised my voice.  was brought to my senses at once.  I  I was quite surprised  to see the startled look in her eyes. Sample 7:  When. I first disclosed to her s_he_ ^idji^tj^ejicj:j^ith_  fear...  she could have reacted with a loathsomeness, but she didn't. She was accepting, and because of this she ,the_n_adde_d_in_s_i£hts_tp_ i_t, and this really started the ball rolling. Sample 8:  I wanted to speak to her in a personal way, and each time, I haven't been able to analyze i t , i t hasn't been received on that same level, or there isn't the desire there. There's a politeness, a real politeness.  It's the_ words_, there's no  empathy making you feel understood. She_ is_si_m£ly not_ a^ l_istener she_ immediately sjvit£he_s_the_sjjbject, and takes x  it off to safer ground.  Because I think self-disclosure  usually involves feelings and emotions, reveal's private things about one, and she simply does not want to hear that.  42  Sample 9:  The process of exchanging personal experiences happened over a period of time, and she_ to]_d_me_ .some_thjngs_ about_ h_erse_lf_ th at_I_supp_o s_e_she_w ould n_' 1 n_orma_lj7_te_lj_ anyojne, and so did I.  Sample 10:  So I suppose probably that was i t .  I knew it would be upsetting to her. envy.  There's a lot of  I couldn't tell her because I knew that I would spoil  her day.  She has expressed envy on previous occasions.  There's a sort of snide thing, cwej ling_oji a_ weakness_of_ mine.  I don't quite trust her.  her voice.  There's an insincerity in  Her voice becomes quite smooth, and just a l i t t l e  sarca_st_ic^ and I immediately know that she's not pleased. Sample 11:  She was having the same sort of feeling, and she_ said she was in the ^ame_sltuat_ion.  Certainly, I had trust in her,  and certainly we were going through the same thing. S_he_ £ald_scjnethjng, and I said, 'God, I feel the same thing.' Sample 12:  He_sa_id_ he_wa_s_bc^e_d_by_ t_he_ £ilm. different interests.  That showed me we had  I felt inhibited at that point.  felt that he didn't understand.  I  I felt some barriers.  I  responded to a sense that he was hpldln£ back_i n^ a_n_emotionaj way_. Sample 13:  Yes, I think the fact she'c[ sald_tha;t, and what came into my mind was that she needed to grieve openly, and i f you wish people to become more comfortable about a thing, or open up, you open up yourself.  43  Sample 14:  I felt that he drew back and that probably made me more wary, not willing to disclose or something, as much. There wasn't the depth of caring in this relationship. the difference. £lJyjL  Sample 15:  That was  He was more_withdrawn^ Ehysi^aljy^ emo_ti_on-  £sy_chol_o£i£al_ly_.  He was interested in what I was going to do.  On other  occasions he wouldn^t_haye^ t^al_ked__li_ke that. Sample 16:  I don't see him as a very emotional person.  I'm sure he  has great depth of feeling, but h_e_doje^n^t_aXlo_w_th_em to show.  He doesn't disclose and I have no recollection of him  disclosing.  I know that the caring is there, but it_|s_no_t  shp_wn_ in the way I need it. with anyone. Sample 17:  He_doesjVt taj_k_ab_OL[t_fe_ej_ings^  He just doesn't know how to open up.  We_were_ bot^hj5h_an'ng.  I was attracted to the person in the  sense that I found myself on the same wave-length.  There  was an empathy of some sort. Sample 18:  As a result of her reaction, the unreasonableness of i t . . . her reaction was, 'How can you do this to me, I ' l l never trust you again!  1  So as a result of that self-disclosure,  which resulted in such a bad experience, a year and a half of hell, after that I thought I would be more secretive. She was intolerant, and unaccepting.  She blamed me.  44  Sample 19:  I ended up talking a lot more personally than I had planned to, and that was certainly because of the warmth that- he showed me, and because h_e_lltjsned very intently, and his s  facial expression certainly showed me that he cared a great amount.  Then he sai_d_to_ me^ 'jl'think. vou_'£e_one_of the_  £i nes_t_pejop_le_ J_'ye_ever_ met.' Sample 20:  I knew that I would not tell her anything personal about my life because  don_'t_ tal_k_to p_eople_ab_out_my_ li£ej^i_th_ the_  i_de_a_th^at_ it^_s_goin_g_to_ be_j3assed_ a_ro_un_d_to_ e_ve_ryon^e_e]_se^. Sample 21:  She was a_ yeryjgopd; Xistener, and she seemed really interested, she seemed trustworthy, and I 1iked her, I really liked her.  Sample 22:  I felt I should say something to her about my situation, but I couldn't.  It was impossible.  I feel that she is not  receptive, that she is going to be judgmental... I guess that she is going to use that information inappropriately. She was 'acting professionalShe went_into. thi_s_lo_n£ thijia_, that put me off to start with, it was all theoretical and quite abstract.  She_ hib_eh_in_d_al_l_th_is^ gj3b_bl_e2.de_-£oo_k,  and I never knew who she was. Sample 23:  She really cared...she was very accepting...She wouldn't think there was anything wrong with me for asking those questions.  45  Sample 24:  I felt that he was really quite bored, and not interested in what I was saying, so although I went back I disclosed considerably less than I wanted to, often because I got what I thought was indifference, a lack of acceptance,...if sjDmeo_ne was^ to_hold_ me_or_ touch me^ t_hat_wo_uJd_make_ me_feej_ c_ared_ for, but counsellors do not normally touch.  Sample 25: She is a very understanding person, and very accepting... She would^ telj_me abourt her familj_an_d_he_rj3rob_lems^.  It is  a mutual thing. Sample 26:  I felt that he would accept i t in the right way. There was this mutual feeling of understanding.  Also, he is an ex-  tremely warm person, he's large like a bear. person.  He's loving to everybody.  towards a father.  He's a loving  I feel towards him as  I do feel that he has a fatherly care.  He also easiTy_djsc_lo_ses his own failures.  I think you're  more likely to tell something to a person who d_is_cl_oses_ £ailures_or_ inadequacies, than a person who sets himself up as absolutely perfect. >and s t i l l hold back.  You can be honest, perfectly honest, But I think the kind of person you  would tell something to is the kind that doesn_'t_ h_oJ_d_back_ himself. Sample 27:  We had been sharing experiences.  I had asked a question,  and I realized that i t was quite a pointed question. I_  46  d_id_nlt_e)<pect_ him t_o_answer_ and_ h_e_did.  I thought I might  have gone over a line that he might accept.  He demonstrated  more trust in me than I thought he had. Sample 28:  I think that she's interested in us as people not just as clients.  Categorization The data pointed towards a potentially infinite number of factors. The need for organization, in terms of the meanings of the factors was evident. challenge.  To identify categories of meaning at a similar level was the There appeared to be responses from the subject covering  many different levels of meaning.  As seen in the preceding examples,  some responses gave direct meaning, and other responses described behaviours as though they were indicators of meaning. It became apparent that the common thread running through the responses of all subjects, was that they seemed to have responded on a level of perceived meaning.  It made sense then, for the major super-  ordinate categories to be those of perceived meaning, rather than categories of acts and behaviours, such as "physical distance" or "eye contact," of which there were an unweildy number. Another feature of the data, which helped to consolidate the reasoning behind choosing perceived meaning as a level for categorization, was the apparent multiplicity of meanings for certain indicators. An example of this lies in the indicator "smiling," which for some people conveyed caring, and for others, attractiveness or likeability.  47  Similarly, the indicator "sex" for some subjects gave promise of caring in a target seen as a father figure or sister figure, while in others, the similarity of sex gave hope for understanding.  Behaviours and  acts, the indicators of meaning, seemed to vary too much in level of meaning for them to be used as a stable method of categorization. To categorize on a level of perceived meaning was the decision. The factors, having been scanned for meaning, fell into three superordinate categories.  The first superordinate category, and by far the  most encompassing, was that relating to the personal qualities, or lack of them in the case of inhibiting factors, of the targets.  This cate-  gory was called "PERSONAL QUALITIES," for both facilitating and inhibiting factors. The second superordinate category, related to aspects of the relationship between the target and the discloser, and since viewed by the discloser, was called the category of "PERCEIVED COMMONALITY," or "PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES," in the case of inhibiting factors. The third superordinate category, embraced factors relating to circumstantial aspects of the disclosing situation, rather than relating to target, discloser or both.  This category was entitled  "SITUATIONAL," for both facilitating and inhibiting factors. superordinate categories, then, are: PERSONAL QUALITIES PERCEIVED COMMONALITY or PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES SITUATIONAL  The three  48  Categories of Facilitation and Hindrance Within each superordinate category could be placed a series of basic categories.  Identification of each basic category, and examples  of the types of factors of which it was comprised, will follow. Under the superordinate category PERSONAL QUALITIES were listed the following basic categories of facilitating and inhibiting factors Supportive  F. The facilitating factors covered by this category included those in which the discloser felt that the target had shown confidence in him, or had been encouraging.  For example, "He said encouraging  things" was one factor given. I.  No matching category was needed for inhibiting factors.  Likeable Attractive  F.  Facilitating items here included aspects of the target the discloser found attractive such as, "I liked her," and "He joked a lot and that was relaxing."  I.  Only "unattractive appearance" was included for the inhibiting factors.  Trustworthy Untrustworthy  F.  Facilitating items showed that the discloser felt trust in the target, such as the discloser expected that the target would maintain confidentiality, and that there was mutual trust.  49  I.  The inhibiting factors included inability to trust the target, and lack of expectation that confidentiality would be maintained.  Respectful Disrespectful  F.  Here were placed items where the discloser said that she found the target respectful to her, or others in general.  I.  Dismissal of the discloser's opinion, and a patronizing attitude were included here as inhibiting factors.  Respectable  F.  These factors described the target's reputation of respectability and integrity, and how the discloser saw the target as being respectable.  Interested Di sinterested  I.  No category was needed for inhibiting factors.  F.  The discloser would give factors such as, "He was quiet so I thought he was interested," and "He flirted," and many straightforward comments about the target appearing to be interested.  I.  "Looked bored," "Didn't ask questions," and "wouldn't listen" were listed here as inhibiting factors under the Disinterested category.  Caring Lacking Warmth  F.  Factors given which indicated the discloser's perception of caring included such items as "Like a  50  sister," "Said caring things," "He's very warm," Smiling, touch, kindness and gentleness were factors placed here. I.  "Brusque," "Doesn't enjoy touch," "Moved away" were all included here as inhibiting factors under Lacking Warmth.  Competent Unwise  F. Positions such as counsellor, minister, doctor and official, indicated competency to disclosers. Intelligence, wisdom;, and appearance of competency and ski 11 fulness were included here. I.  Unreasonableness in business was considered as an inhibiting factor for the Unwise category.  Understanding Lacki ng Understanding  F. A feminist attitude and appearance of understanding are examples of factors included here, as were the ability to communicate on a feeling level, lack of intellequalization, and comments about those who "Didn'.t ask questions" or "Didn't give advice." I.  Lack of understanding was shown by factors describing lack of perception, misinterpretation, and asking questions that were too direct.  51  Accepting Lacking Acceptance  F.  Factors involving the adjectives "Nonjudgmental," "Undemanding," "Uncritical," and "Accepting" were placed in this category.  I.  "Judgmental" went into the Lacking Acceptance category.  Genuine Lacking Genuineness  F.  The factors describing-targets as being unaffected, not "Acting professional," sincere, happy in who they were, relaxed, and open about themselves, were placed in the Genuine category.  I.  Inhibiting factors that showed lack of genuineness included items describing ambiguous behaviour, insincerity, and lack of self-disclosure.  Under the superordinate category PERCEIVED COMMONALITY were listed the following basic categories of facilitating factors, and under the category PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES were listed the following basic categories of inhibiting factors. Shared Knowledge  F.  Factors listed here included those indicating prior  . . knowledge of the topic on the part of the target. I.  A matching category was not required, since there were no matching inhibiting factors.  52  Shared Interests Different Interests  F.  Facilitating factors included under Shared Interests, were those simply stating that the target was perceived to have interests in common with the discloser.  I.  The inhibiting factors, indicating that target and discloser had different interests were comments such as "We talked about different things."  Similar Experience  F. "We attended the same workshop" and "We had had similar life experiences" are examples of facilitating factors categorized here. I.  No matching category for inhibiting factors was necessary.  Cultural Similarities Cultural Differences  F.  This category covered facilitating factors such as "She also was from the minority culture so I talked to her."  I.  Similarly, the inhibiting factors cited belonging to a different culture, and differences in opinion related to culture, as being important.  Sex  F.  Facilitating factors covered items indicating that similarity of sex encouraged the discloser to expect understanding.  I.  No matching category was needed for inhibiting factors.  53  Shared Values Different Values  F.  Facilitating factors categorized here included similarity of attitudes, values, religious and spiritual beliefs.  I.  Inhibiting factors placed under Different Values were those where the target behaved as though her values were different, or directly said that her values were different.  Similar Personality  F.  Facilitating factors placed under Similar Personality were those in which the discloser perceived the target's personality to be similar to his own.  I.  No matching category was required for inhibiting factors.  Under the superordinate category SITUATIONAL were listed the following facilitating and inhibiting factors. Individual vs. . Group  F. A facilitating factor placed in this category ineluded an item citing a target in a one-to-one situation as encouraging to self-disclosure. I.  An inhibiting factor related to items in which disclosers were inhibited by a group situation.  Position of Power  F. The one item listed here related to the position of power of the target in a life threatening situation which encouraged self-disclosure.  54  I.  No inhibiting factors under this category were in evidence.  Timing  F. The facilitating factors covered by this category referred to the timing of the target and discloser being together. I.  Presence  No inhibiting factors were found for this category.  F. Factors mentioned here were those which referred to the mere presence of another person as being enough to elicit self-disclosure. I.  Vulnerable  No inhibiting factors were found for this category.  F. The facilitating factors in this category referred to items in which the target was perceived as being in need of help.  Sample 13 serves as an example,  "What came into my mind was that she needed to grieve openly." This was seen as an opportunity to model self-disclosure to the target, by the discloser. There was an element of arbitrariness in the categorization of these items.  A separate superordinate  category of "PERCEIVED NEED" could have been created. It was decided that since the target's vulnerability was likely a temporary state, that factors here could be considered SITUATIONAL.  55  I.  The inhibiting factors related to the target being perceived as already in a burdened state, discouraging the potential discloser from "adding to her problems." The same arbitrariness for categorization applied here.  Reliability Since there was so much uniformity between the factors, the subcategories and the superordinate categories, the employment of an independent judge to determine reliability seemed superfluous.  Two examples  of this uniformity follow: Superordinate Factor  Basic category  Category  Said caring things.  Caring  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Target alone in-  Individual vs. Group  SITUATIONAL  stead of in group. Frequencies of Factors This information is provided in graph form on Tables I and II, and a compilation of factors and their frequencies, subcategories and superordinate categories is provided in Appendix C.  Table II Inhibiting Factors  Perceived Differences Personal Qualities Situational  QJ  +-> > (/) QJ +-> SC QJ QJ 4-> S_ C QJ  4— 4 J TQJ SOJ.  OJ O QJ SC1J  rO I. +-> r—  3 O  3*  58  Categorical Indicators In order to demonstrate the nature of the indicators placed in the different categories, a list of the categories and the indicators placed within each is provided.  Both facilitating and inhibiting indi-  cators are included. Facilitating Indicators Placed in the Categories of PERSONAL QUALITIES Category  Indicator  Supportive  - Showed confidence in discloser - Target said encouraging words to discloser  Likeable/Attractive  - Target told jokes - Target looked attractive  Trustworthy  - Target maintained confidentiality  Respectful  - Target said he/she respected discloser - Target behaved with respect toward people generally  Respectable  - Target had reputation of respectability - Discloser perceived target to have integrity in relationships, decision-making.  Interested  - Target quiet so appeared interested - Target used direct eye contact - Target told discloser of his interest - Target asked question - Target made comments - Target flirted  59  Category  Indicator - Target moved closer - Target looked interested - Target appeared interested - Target appeared to listen  Caring  - Target friendly - Target warm - Target kind/hospitable - Target gentle/gentle voice - Target approachable - Target sensitive/on verge of tears - Target smiles a lot - Target appeared caring - Target like a sister - Target patient, not pushy - Target like a father - Target used touch - Target said caring things  Competent  - Target seems competent - Target strong in dealing with problems - Target intelligent/ has clarity of mind - Target experienced/seems wise in decisionmaki ng - Target in one of these positions: minister, doctor, official  counsellor,  60  Category  Indicator  - Target skillful Understanding  - Target had feminist attitude - Target female - Target appeared to be understanding  -  - Target listened well and understood - Target did not use platitudes - Target did not ask questions - Target did not give advice - Target did not intellectualize - Target understood discloser's need for silence - Target could communicate on feelings level  Accepting  - Target accepting of discloser - Target nonjudgmental - Target undemanding - Target uncritical - Target calm  Genuine  - Target did not "act professional" - Target humble about talents - Target relaxed - Target sincere - Target appeared self-accepting - Target consistent - Target open about self - Target open body movements  61  Facilitating Indicators Placed in the Categories of SITUATIONAL Category  Indicator  Vulnerable  - Target demonstrated need to talk by vaious behavioural signs, such as speaking faster than •  usual, or being more withdrawn.  Presence  - Target was present  Timi ng  - Timing of target being present  Position of Power  - Target in position of power over discloser  Individual vs. Group  - Target alone rather than in group  Facilitating Indicators Placed in the Categories of PERCEIVED COMMONALITY Category  Indicator  Similar Personality  - Target appeared to have a similar personality to discloser  Shared Values  - Target behaved as though she had similar values, beliefs,  attitudes  - Target belonged to same church Sex  - Target was same sex  Cultural Similarities  - Target belonged to same culture  Similar Experiences  - Target had had similar life experiences: family, job, marital status - Target had attended same workshop  age,  62  Category  Indicator  Shared Interests  - Target appeared to have similar interests  Shared Knowledge  - Target had prior knowledge of the topic  Inhibiting Indicators Placed in the Categories of PERSONAL QUALITIES Category  Indicator  Untrustworthy  - Looked as though target would not maintain con^ fidentiality - Target appeared untrustworthy  Unwise  - Target behaved unreasonably in business  Lacking Genuineness  - Target non self-disclosing - Target insincere - Target "acted" - Target behaved ambiguously  Lacking Warmth  - Target moved away - Target unwelcoming, brusque - Target does not enjoy touch  Disinterested  - Target did not ask questions - Target looked bored - Target did not listen  Disrespectful  - Target behaved patronizingly - Target dismissed discloser's opinion  Lacking Acceptance  - Target appeared to be judgmental  63  Category  Indicator  Lacking Understanding  - Target unperceptive - Target misinterpreted discloser - Target asked too direct questions  Unlikeable  - Unattractive appearance  Inhibiting Indicators Placed in the SITUATIONAL Categories Category  Indi cator  Vulnerable  - Target already appeared preoccupied or burdened  Group vs. Individual  - Target was in group, not alone  Inhibiting Indicators Placed in the PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES Cateqor.y Category  Indicator  Different Interests  - Target talked about different things  Different Values  - Target behaved as though she had different values, e.g., stealing - Target had different beliefs, attitudes  Cultural Differences  - Target belonged to a different culture  64  CHAPTER VI Discussion Statement of Results The results of the present study suggest that while people state their reasons for self-disclosing, or inhibiting self-disclosure, with a wide variety of factors, in essence many of the influences cited as affecting self-disclosure, are in fact indicators of meaning rather than potent agents in themselves.  The subjects were found to respond on a  level of perceived meaning.  That subjects had responded on a level of  perceived meaning, was a conclusion arrived at only by a gradual and uncertain process of experimentation.  Probing for indicators beyond  the level of perceived meaning, resulted in an increasingly unweildy number of groups of factors covering endless behaviours and acts. As a consequence of this, the universality of the concept of perceived meaning became evident. Three major superordinate categories emerged.  By far the largest  category of the three was that of PERSONAL QUALITIES which covered factors relating to the various aspects of the personality of the target, which were seen to facilitate or hinder self-disclosure on the part of the subject.  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY in the case of facilitating fac-  tors, and it's opposite, PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES in the case of inhibiting factors, were used as a single category to enfold those factors pertaining to the relationship between target and discloser.  Thirdly,  the term SITUATIONAL was used to include factors appearing to be circum-  65  stantial in nature and only co-incidentally related to target or the discloser. Subcategories were formed within each of the three major superordinate categories.  It was at this stage that those factors termed  here, indicators of meaning, such as eye contact, were channeled into subcategories of perceived meaning, such as Interest.  By this process,  the overwhelming mass of variables affecting self-disclosure was streamlined into a consistent core of meaning. Limits  of the Study  The generalizability of the results is affected by the number of subjects who participated in the study.  Since, the group of subjects  was limited in number to twenty-five, then this should be considered when interpretations of the results are made. The results can only be generalized to attenders of Unitarian churches. The results are also confined to the outer reaches of the subjects' awareness.  It appeared, according to the observations of the inter-  viewer and the comments of the subjects themselves, that subjects' self-awareness, on what affects their self-disclosure, grew throughout the interview.  Since the interviews on average lasted one hour, then  self-awareness and indirectly time, must have set limits on the results of the study. It is also of interest to note that of the twenty-five volunteer subjects, twenty were female.  To make generalizations about sex differ-  ences from these results is rather difficult because of this male/ female ratio.  66  Significance The importance of the concept of perceived meaning as uncovered by this study, appears to rest in its power as an instrument of organization.  As has been seen in the present study, many factors were  assimilated, reduced and reformulated into three major categories by the use of this concept. With reference to the chaotic list of factors outlined in the literature review, perceived meaning shows potential for organizing the previous research which, large in volume, is in desperate need of integration.  From the research, the list of factors including the  familiar indicators of meaning:  voice quality, eye contact, touch,  body language, sex, race, and religious status, could all be channeled into one of the three categories of PERSONAL QUALITIES, SITUATIONAL, or PERCEIVED COMMONALITY or PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES, depending on which best represented the meaning behind any given factor. Perceived meaning as an organizer seems to offer a dependability not evidenced in the unreliable indicators of meaning.  The illustra-  tion used earlier of the indicator "sex" which on the one hand implies caring to the person in need of a father figure, and on the other, understanding to the person who wants someone to identify with them, demonstrated how the same indicators are used to carry different meanings for different individuals.  It looks as though indicators are used  as means toward an end, and that perceived meaning can be seen as the end itself.  67  The categories PERSONAL QUALITIES and PERCEIVED COMMONALITY share between them a promise of relationship between the target and the discloser.  The personal qualities, similar to those core conditions of  Rogers, presented most often by subjects, are surely those that people attribute to one another when involved in intimate relationships. The use of these categories with their promise of bonding between people, seem to make sense as ways of structuring the reasons why people selfdisclose. Most of the factors listed under the PERSONAL QUALITIES category, coincide with the core conditions of genuineness, empathy, and unconditional positive regard.  However, qualities were brought forth in  this study that go beyond the scope of Rogers' core conditions. The Competent category, which comprises the qualities of intelligence, objectivity and ski 11 fulness is one example of qualities not specified in Rogers' conditions.  Likeable is another factor suggesting that  this categorization system is broader than that of the core conditions. This is not to say that the qualities of competency and likeableness are not implied in Rogers' core conditions.  It is suggested here,  however, that their importance is great enough for their existence amongst the core conditions not to be assumed.  It is hard to imagine,  for example, an accepting and genuine counsellor eliciting selfdisclosure from his client i f he is incompetent to the extent that he understands only a small portion of what the client says. Evidence of the reciprocity hypothesis is present in the categories.  What Jourard terms the "dyadic effect" is particularly  68  dominant in the Genuine category where self-disclosure on the part of the target, was frequently considered by the discloser as a factor in his disclosure.  Mutuality in the demonstration of qualities of respect-  fulness, caring, trustworthiness, understanding, and likeability, were all frequently mentioned.  Often subjects expressed a lack of awareness  of "who started it," but acknowledgement of the process was quite definite...  No evidence of reciprocity was present in the Supportive,  Competent, and Accepting categories, suggesting that the reciprocity effect plays a role in eliciting self-disclosure as far as some personal qualities are concerned, but not others.  Some categories, such as  Competent are not necessarily given to reciprocity, and may not be conditions for self-disclosure to take place. As indicated earlier, that more females than males volunteered as participants in the study may be of some significance.  This may be  evidence to support those findings that females show more willingness to self-disclose than males.  However, examination of the content of  the self-disclosures of male and female subjects in this study did not uncover significant:differences in either the choice of topic, or the apparent depth of self-disclosure.  Both males and females generally  produced incidents which contained information about their own feelings toward the target, or an intimate other.  While some subjects  intellectualized'more than others, and did not own their feelings as much, this applied to both sexes.  In some instances, males appeared  to self-disclose much more intimately than females, and vice versa. The male subjects all reported incidents in which they had self-dis-  69  closed to females.  This may relate in some way to the studies which  find that males prefer disclosing to feminine counsellors, regardless of sex.  Females on the other hand reported self-disclosures to both  males and females. Practical and Theoretical Significance It is clear that the core conditions of genuineness, empathy, and positive regard outlined by Rogers, are reflected in these results. The importance of these qualities in the personalities of counsellors using a "client centred" approach has been established.  The importance  of these qualities in the personalities of all counsellors who see self-disclosure as part of the therapeutic process is emphasized by these results. The apparent importance of the concept of perceived meaning, as found in this study, suggests a potential danger in the teaching of certain behaviours in counselling training programs, such as that of the Egan model (1975).  People have attributed the quality of interest,  for instance, to such behaviours as "facing the other squarely," "maintaining good eye contact," "maintaining an 'open' posture," "leaning toward the other," and "remaining relatively relaxed, all of which be11  haviours are advocated by Egan (1975), as being "postures of involvement" that interactants should adopt with one another.  Surely they have done  so because they have found these behaviours good indicators of the quality of interest.  If we teach people merely the "indicators of  meaning," and do not facilitate the development of the meaningful qualities within them, then in essence we will be teaching them to act  70  in an insincere way, and will render the counselling process a sham. The quality of genuineness considered so important will be missing.  It  would seem important for trainers of counsellors to ensure that the core qualities are present in the trainee first, and then the factors termed here as "indicators of meaning" could be used to help the trainee demonstrate his true feelings and qualities to the client. A restrictive focus on the teaching of indicators might also detract from the flexibility that exists in people in their expression of personal qualities.  A person possessing the quality of interest,  for example, distinguishes himself from other interested individuals by his modes of expression.  This person's unique ways of showing his  interest are a part of his personality, and as such deserve room for freedom of expression.  Two student counsellors, for instance, may be  equally interested in a given client, but might convey their interest differently.  One might lean forwards, look directly at the client and  appear to listen, while the other might look away and be absorbed in processing what the client has just said.  Both sets of behaviours are  for each counsellor respectively, natural indicators of their interest. If these counsellors were trained to conform to a restricted repertoire of behaviours to express their qualities, then the possibility exists that their counselling style might appear contrived.  Instead, what  training programs could do to facilitate the expression of personal qualities such as genuineness, would be to encourage self-awareness in trainees of their natural indicators.  71  Furthermore, although certain indicators, such as eye contact, are effective conveyances of personal qualities for some clients, they may not be appropriate for a l l . of our indicators of meaning.  Cultural differences challenge many Within our own culture though, the use  of only a few sanctioned behavioural indicators could have the opposite of the desired effect.  Where for many clients direct eye contact and  speech on the part of the counsellor might convey interest, for a shy or distrustful and frightened client this might stimulate withdrawal. A flexibility component in the training of indicators of qualities in counselling trainees seems essential, for justice to be done to the personalities of the counsellors, and to enable them to relate to a broader range of clients. Lastly, as demonstrated above, the concept of perceived meaning has been used in this study to integrate many varied factors.  It has  been suggested that the same method of analysis could be applied to integrate the diverse and seemingly unrelated research that has been done to date, and perhaps to organize future work. Recommendations for Future Research Since results are only generalizable to attenders of Unitarian churches, i t would be important to do an exploratory study of this nature on other populations.  The results presented here could be  compared with those of such groups as other spiritual, philosophical or religious denominations, or groups of clients or counsellors.  Cultural  similarities or differences were a significant component in these results and in the literature, and future research would do well to draw  72  from a different race and culture than the Caucasian North American subjects used in this study. As has been pointed out, despite the small number of subjects used here, the results show promise of any number of indicators being seen by people as affecting their self-disclosure.  It would seem  valuable to continue a research study of this nature in order to obtain a greater knowledge of just what this large spectrum of factors affecting self-disclosure entails. Conversely, each of the factors in themselves invite questions regarding what i t is more specifically about them that suggests so much meaning to the discloser.  Much research has been done on self-dis-  closure itself as a factor, such that Jourard has developed the term the "dyadic effect" which is well accepted.  Although much has been  done, studies on the differences in self-disclosing behaviour between the sexes are needed.  For example, i t appears clear from the literature  that in the North American Caucasian culture, females disclose more than males.  However, i f this is an oversimplification of what happens,  we need to be more sure.  It could be that self-disclosure for both  females and males is context specific, and about this we know little. Generalizations regarding sex differences in this study are next to impossible.  Questions which arise for future research would be whether  in fact males choose different topics of self-disclosure, and whether amount and depth of self-disclosure differs for men and women. Also, many subjects referred to "the appearance" of their targets as conveying the personal qualities so encouraging to the process, or  73  otherwise, of self-disclosure.  What are some basic underlying features  of body language, voice quality, physical distance, or race, that convey the qualities of genuineness, caring or insincerity to the discloser? Summary An overwhelming number of factors have emerged in this study and in the literature which are seen to affect self-disclosure.  This study  attempted to identify these factors, and render them meaningful by way of organization.  Subjects appeared to respond on the basis of per-  ceived meaning which became the basic premise upon which the categorization process was built.  The differentiation of factors which were  meaningful in themselves from those that were mere indicators of meaning, resulted in the emergence of three major categories:  PERSONAL  QUALITIES, PERCEIVED COMMONALITY or PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES, and SITUATIONAL.  By placing each factor into whichever of the above categories  was most appropriate, a picture of the factors most influential in affecting self-disclosure emerged.  It became evident from the study  that the concept of perceived meaning is a very valuable tool with which to sort the disorganized mass of data relating to what affects self-disclosure, and these results provide positive implications for the use of this method of analysis with past and future research.  74  Bibliography Acosta, Frank X. Preferences and self-disclosure in relation to psychotherapist professional and ethnic identification. Journal of Psychology, 1979 (Sept.), Vol. 103 (1), 129-134. Andersson, B. and Nilsson, S. 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Disclosing Man to Himself. Reinhold, 1968.  New York:  Van Nostrand  Jourard, S.M. Self-Disclosure: An Experimental Analysis of the Transparent Self. New York: Wiley, 1971. Jourard, S.M. The Transparent Self: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1971b..  Revised Edition.  New York:  Jourard, S.M., and Jaffe, P.E. Influence of an interviewer's disclosure on the self-disclosing behaviour of interviewees. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 1970, Vol. 17, No. 3, 252-257. Jourard, S.M., and Landsman, M.J. Cognition, cathexis and the "dyadic effect" in man's self-disclosing behaviour. Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 1960, 6, 178-186. Jourard, S.M., and Lasakow, P. Some factors in self-disclosure. Journal of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1958, 56, 91-98. Jourard, S.M., and Richman, P. Disclosure output and input in college students. Merri11-Palmer Quarterly, 1963, 9, 141-148. Keller, Martin E. Self-disclosure as a function of-self-esteem and repression sensitization. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1976 (Apr.), Vol. 36 (10-B), 5232. Kim, Jee-Il. The effect of social disclosure on emotion perception and social adjustment. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1975 (Jan.), Vol. 35 (7-B), 3647-3648. : Littlefield, R. An analysis of the self-disclosure patterns of ninth grade public school students in three selected subcultural groups. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1969, 30, 588-589. Lombardo, J . P . , and Berzonsky, M.D. Sex differences in self-disclosure during an interview. Journal of Social Psychology, 1979, Vol. 107 (2), 281-282. Long, L.N., and Long, T.J. Influence of religious status and religious attire on interviewees. Psychological Reports, 1976 (Aug.), Vol. 39 (1), 25-26. Mann, B. and Murphy, K.C. Timing of self-disclosure, reciprocity of self-disclosure, and reactions to an initial interview. Journal of Counselling'Psychology, 1975, Vol. 22, No. 4, 304-308. Marcus, B.B. 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Client self-disclosure in individual psychotherapy. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1976 (Feb.), Vol. 36 (8-B0, 4182. Tillich, P. The Courage To Be. Press, 1952. .  New Haven, Conn.:  Vale University  Truax, C B . and Carkhuff, R.R. Client and therapist transparency in the psychotherapeutic encounter. Journal of Counselling Psycholo 1965, 12, 3-9. Watzlawick, P., Beavin, J.H., and Jackson, D.D. Communication. New York: Norton, 1967.  Pragmatics of Human  81  Weinstein, J.M. Towards a phenomenology wisdom: an exploratory into the nature of healthy consciousness. Dissertation Abstracts International , 1973 (Dec), Vol. 34 (6-B), 2956-2957. Wernimont, M.J. Sex differences in effects of similarity disclosure and style of interaction on psychotherapeutic attraction. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1978 (Aug.), Vol. 39 (2-B), TOOT! : Wheel ess, L.R., and Grotz, J . The measurement of trust and its relationship to self-disclosure. Human Communication Research, 1977 (Spr.), Vol. 3 (3), 250-257. Woods, K.M. The effects of instructions regarding confidentiality on depth of self-disclosure and behavioural indicants of anxiety in an analogue interview situation. Dissertation Abstracts International, 1978 (June), Vol. 38 (12-B), 6186.  82  APPENDICES  83  APPENDIX 1 Letter of Initial Contact Dear Members and Friends of the Unitarian Church: I wish to make a study of the subject of self-disclosure for my Master's, by finding out what facilitates and inhibits people from saying more about themselves to another than they might ordinarily do. I plan to conduct the study by means of individual interviews of approximately sixty minutes, at the church, and am in need of volunteers from the age of eighteen years and upward, who would be willing to participate as interviewees. Your participation would be entirely voluntary and you could, of course, withdraw from the study at any time you might wish.  Confi-  dentiality will be preserved by depersonalization of the information. All participants will receive a summary of findings when the study is completed. It is hoped that the information gained from the study will ultimately benefit the practice of counselling, by increasing counsellors' awareness of what helps people to self-disclose and become more aware of themselves. If you are willing to act as a participant, I shall be available to talk with you after the church services on October 10th and 24th. Also, my phone numbers are  (home) and Sincerely,  Fiona Old  (business).  84  APPENDIX 2  Subject Consent Form  I wish to study the subject of self-disclosure, and to find out by means of this study what facilitates and inhibits a person in selfdisclosing to another.  Further information about self-disclosure will  be of benefit to counsellors in their training and practice. Your participation in this study may bring you increased self-awareness about your own self-disclosure. sixty minutes.  You will be interviewed for thirty to  You will be asked to answer open-ended questions about  when in the past you have chosen to self-disclose or not, to another person.  Your answers will be tape recorded, and when depersonalized  notes have been extracted, the tapes will be destroyed.  You are re-  minded that your participation in this study is entirely voluntary, and that you may withdraw or refuse to answer any questions at any time without prejudice.  Signature:  85 APPENDIX 3  Facilitating Factors and Their Categorization Facilitating Factors  Superordinate Category  Factor Frequency  Subcategory  Showed confidence in discloser  10  Supportive  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Attractive features such as humour and appearance  15  Likeable  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Mutual trust and confidentiality respected  30  Trustworthy  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Behaved with respect towards discloser and others  7  Respectful  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Reputation of respectability  9  Respectable  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Appeared interested  38  Interested  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Showed caring  50  Caring  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Appeared competent  22  Competent  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Showed understanding  34  Understanding  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Seemed accepting  28  Accepting  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Sincere, self-disclosing  62  Genuine  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Appeared vulnerable  11  Vulnerable  SITUATIONAL  Target present  3  Presence  SITUATIONAL  Timing of target  4  Timing  SITUATIONAL  Powerful position of target  1  Position of power  SITUATIONAL  Facilitating Factors  Factor Frequency  Subcategory  Superordinate Category  Target alone rather than in group  1  Individual vs. Group  SITUATIONAL  Similar personality of target  1  Similar Personality  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Similar values  12  Similar Values  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Similarity of sex  3  Sex  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Cultural similarities  3  Cultural Similarities  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  16  Similar Experiences  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Similar experiences, e.g., life/workshop Similar interests  5  Shared Interests  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Prior knowledge of topic  9  Shared Knowledge  PERCEIVED COMMONALITY  Total Facilitating Factors - 372  87 Inhibiting Factors and Their Categorization Inhibiting Factors Appeared untrustworthy Behaviour lacking in wisdon  Factor Frequency 11 1  Subcategory  Superordinate Category  Untrustworthy  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Unwi se  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Insincere, ambiguous behaviour  18  Lacking Genuineness  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Brusque, unwelcoming  22  Lacking Warmth  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Appeared disinterested  24  Disinterested  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Behaved disrespectfully  7  Disrespectful  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Judgmental behaviour  28  Lacking Acceptance  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Lacking perception and ability to understand  18  Lacki ng Understanding  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Unattractive appearance and behaviour  1  Unli keable  PERSONAL QUALITIES  Target vulnerable  3  Vulnerable  SITUATIONAL  Target in group not alone  1  Group vs. Individual  SITUATIONAL  Appeared to have different interests  2  Different Interests  PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES  Appeared to have different values  7  Di fferent Values  PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES  Belonged to different culture  4  Cultural Differences  PERCEIVED DIFFERENCES  Total Inhibiting Factors - 147  


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