Measuring the Tendency to Conceal Versus Disclose Psychological Distress

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Individual differences in one's tendency to conceal versus disclose psychological distress were hypothesized to reflect a unidimensional construct related to changes in psychological adjustment. These hypotheses were tested using a newly validated self-report instrument called the Distress Disclosure Index. Both exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported the existence of one bipolar dimension reflecting the frequent concealment (i.e., rare disclosure) of distress on one end of the continuum and frequent disclosure (i.e., rare concealment) on the other. Moreover, this construct predicted changes in self-esteem, life satisfaction, and perceived social support over a 2-month period. Implications for the measurement and theories of concealment and disclosure are discussed.


This article was originally published as Kahn, J. H., & Hessling, R. M. (2001). Measuring the tendency to conceal versus disclose psychological distress. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 20(1), 41–65.