Disclosing Versus Concealing Distressing Information: Linking Self-Reported Tendencies to Situational Behavior

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We examined whether one's self-reported tendency to disclose versus conceal distressing information predicts actual disclosure and concealment behavior. Sixty-nine undergraduates who were pretested on a measure of disclosure versus concealment tendencies saw either a distressing or non-distressing film and we assessed their reactions to the film via a structured interview. Self-reports of disclosure versus concealment tendencies predicted the number of statements in which distressing emotions were acknowledged and independent observers' ratings of how much distress was expressed, but these relationships were not moderated by manipulated distress level. These findings support the use of self-reports of disclosure and concealment in research and clinical settings as predictors of observable disclosures of negative emotions.


This article was originally published as Kahn, J. H., Lamb, D. H., Champion, C. D., Eberle, J. A., & Schoen, K. A. (2002). Disclosing versus concealing personally distressing information: Linking self-reported tendencies to situational behavior. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(5), 531–538. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0092-6566(02)00008-9.