SELF-DISCLOSING BEHAVIOR OF FEMALES EXPERIENCING LONELINESS (RECIPROCITY)

MARY ELIZABETH SIEGEL, Fordham University

Abstract

This investigation was conducted to examine the relation between loneliness and self-disclosing behavior. Specifically, the effects of loneliness on the level of intimacy of self-disclosure in response to nonintimate and intimate self-disclosure of an initiator of a conversation were examined. In addition, this study investigated the relation between loneliness and appropriateness of self-disclosing behavior. Appropriateness was defined as reciprocity of levels of intimacy of self-disclosure.^ Sixty female college students participated in the study after they had responded to the UCLA Loneliness Scale which was administered in group testing sessions. Each student was assigned randomly to a confederate who had been trained to self-disclose at predetermined levels of intimacy of self-disclosure. Each dyad of student and confederate conversed for 30 minutes during which time they took turns interacting. The confederate initiated the conversion in each dyad at nonintimate levels of self-disclosure. Later in the conversation the confederate shifted to more intimate levels of self-disclosure.^ The results of the study support the view that a relation exists between loneliness and self-disclosing behavior. Correlational analysis indicated that the greater the degree of loneliness the person experiences, the greater the tendency to disclose nonintimately. The study also concluded that people who experience a greater degree of loneliness do disclose differently than would be expected in society, specifically when responding to intimate self-disclosure. While the study showed that those experiencing loneliness do disclose nonintimately in response to nonintimate disclosure, which in itself could be appropriate behavior, it also showed that they disclose nonintimately in response to intimate disclosure. Inappropriate disclosure could take the form of over-disclosure, e.g., revealing oneself intimately in response to nonintimate sharing, but the study found that subjects experiencing a greater degree of loneliness responded inappropriately by underdisclosure rather than over-disclosure.^ It was recommended that alertness to the self-disclosing behavior of the student who complains of feelings of loneliness may provide important information for the counselor who is attempting to assist the student. By focusing on the development of appropriate self-disclosing behaviors, the counselor can aid the student in establishing satisfying interpersonal relationships, and thus relieve feelings of loneliness. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, General

Recommended Citation

SIEGEL, MARY ELIZABETH, "SELF-DISCLOSING BEHAVIOR OF FEMALES EXPERIENCING LONELINESS (RECIPROCITY)" (1986). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8624507.
http://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8624507

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