8651370 - Social Behavior and Personality, 6(2): 173-117....

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–6. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 2
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 4
Background image of page 5

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Background image of page 6
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: Social Behavior and Personality, 6(2): 173-117. OSociety for Personality Research Inc. AN INTERPERSONAL ANALYSIS OF SELF-DISCLOSURE AND FEEDBACK IosaPr-r W. Car-rum KARL F. NEUMANN North Texas State University Subiects indicated the extent to which they had disclosed positive and negative trait information to each of three friends in the course of their relationships. Disclosure of one's own traits (self-disclosure) was compared with the disclosure of one's perception of a friend's traits (feedback disclosure). Positive and negative self-disclosure and feedback grouped themselves as suggested by Leary's model of interpersonal behavior, indi- cating that these relationships are more characterized by afiiliative than by dominant responding (P < 0.01). In addition, feedback was higher than self-disclosure (p < 0.05), females disclosed more than males (p < 0.01) . negative self-disclosure was higher than positive self-disclosure (p < 0.01), and positive feedback was higher than negative feedka (p < 0.01). Two distinct types of trait level disclosure can be identified: telling mother person about one's own traits (self-disclosure) and telling another about one's perception of his or her traits (feedback disclosure). The present study examines the implications which these two disclosure types have when viewed as inter- personal behaviors. To the present authors’ knowledge, this is the first study comparing self-discloure and feedback. One way of conceptualizing self-disclosure and feedback is to consider the functions that they serve as interpersonal behaviors. Past research (Blumberg, 1972; Carson. 1969: Fineberg and Lowman. 1915; Leary, 1951; Lorr and Suu'e- delis. 1969) suggests that interpersonal behaviors arrange themselves in a circrun- plex structure reducible to two orthogonal dimensions: power (dominance- submission) and afliliation (love-hate). if power and afiliation are also viewed as the two main functions served by interpersonal behavior, where do self-disclosure and feedback fall on these dimensions? Positive self-disclosure, telling another about one’s positive traits, would increase one's power or status in the relation- ship. while it might increase or decrease afiiliation. depending on the context or maner in which it is presented. Negative self-disclosure appears to be a submissive response. However. negative self-disclosures can sometimes also be ued in a dominant sense to regain the “one-up” position in a conversation (Haley, 1963), since openly admitting one’s imperfections is less defensive than their denial or justification. in either case, negative self-disclosure increases one's vul- nerability to another’s negative evaluations. The willingness to disclose negative self-evaluations may be seen as a demonstration of trust in the other person and hence as an afiliative response. Positive feedback appears to be an afiliative response which may be dominant or submissive. Discussing another's positive traits raises the other’s relative status in the relationship. but it also implicitly defin the speaker as a person worthy of judging the target and as someone in partial control of the target’s reinforcers. Negative feedback can be best 173 174 SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND PERSONALITY described as a dominant and oftentimes hostile response. Telling a friend about his negative characteristics would certainly place the speaker in the one-up position, at least temporarily. Since the terms self-disclosure and feedback are themselves abstractions, each of the four types of disclosure cannot be unambig- uously placed on a circumplicial quadrant without reference to specific response characteristics such as context. phrasing. tone of voice. etc. However. it appears that positive self-disclosure and negative feedback load on the dominance end of the power dimension, while negative self-disclosure and positive feedback load on the positive end of the alliliative dimension. This study is designed to answer several questions: (a) Do the amounts of self-disclosure and feedback Iesponses form power and affiliation clusters; I'.e., does the amount of positive self-disclosure plus negative feedback (power) differ from that of negative self-disclosure plus positive feedback (afiliation) ?: (b) If so. are one's closest peer relationships characterized more by dominant or by aliiliative self-disclosure and feedback responses?: and (c) To what extent do these effects depend on the subject's sex and the specific target relationship involved? For example. do males emit more dominant and females more affilia- tive responses as suggested by sex role stereotypes? This study is also concerned with identifying the relative magnitudes of the four types of disclosure in close peer relationships. On the basis of previous re- search we might expect: (a) positive feedback to be pester than negative feed- back because of the anticipated punishing consequences following negative feedback (Rotter et al., 1972); (b) positive self-disclosure to be pester than negative self-disclosure because of the more personal content and higher vulner- ability risk of negative self-disclosure (Iourard, 1971, has shown personalness to be correlated with low disclosure); and (c) self-disclosure to be peater than feedback, since Blumberg (1972) found that trait evaluations were communicated freely to other friends but tended to be withheld from the person being evaluated. METHOD Sua] acrs The subject sample was composed of 48 males and 55 females from Intro- ductory Psychology. with subjects receiving extra credit points for participa- tion in the study. Eight males and 15 females were eliminated from the analysis because they did not have a current dating partner. Paocanuae Subjects were asked to identify a best friend of the same sex dating friend of the opposite sex, and a best-dating friend of the opposite sex. Subjectswerethenaskedtolisttheirownandeachtargetpenon’sthreebest and three worst traits or Later inspection indicated that the best and worst traits dilfered markedly in favorability, as expected. For each trait by target combination. subjects were asked to recall past conversations with this friend and to indicate how much they had told the friend about themselves havingaparticulartrait.1‘hiswasdonebymarkinganintegerfrorn0to4 according to the following scale (adapted from Blumberg, 1912): 0—1 have never mentioned or suggested that l have this trait. 1—1 have suggested or only hinted that I have this trait. 2—1 have explicitly mentioned that I have this trait. 3—1 have discussed my having this trait with this person. 4—! have dismissed the trait and my feelings about it in detail with this person. As in Blumberg (1972). subjects were cautioned not to respond as they felt they ought to. but to think back and recall what was actually said in past conversations with these friends. _ I Subjects next indicated how much they had told each friend about hll havmg a particular trait by using a 5-point scale very similar to that described above (e.g., 0—1 have never tinned or suggested that he/she has this trait. etc.). CRITELLI AND NEUMANN 175 Thus, subjects were asked to report on the extent to which they had engaged in various publicly observable verbal behaviors in the course of a relation- ship. A number of studies (see Cozby, 1973; Goodstein and Reinecker, 1974) sug- gest that self-report of past disclosure to particular targets cannot be assumed to predict disclosure in a difierent situation or to difierent targets. The present study, however. does not depend on this type of broad generality for disclosure self-reports. Rather. it depends on a much more restricted validity. the validity of retrospective self-report of disclosure to a target as a measure of past disclosure to that target. The evidence for this type of validity is generally positive (DeLeon et al., 1970: Levinger and Senn. 1967; Selltiz er al., 1976; Shapiro and Swenson. 1969), with one study (Goodstein and Reinecker, 1974) not in support. As an added note, several studies (Blusnberg. 1972; Burhenne and Mirels, 1970; Doster and Strickland, 1969; Thelen and Brooks, 1976) indicate that disclosure self- reports are relatively resistant to response sets such as social desirability. DATA ANALvsr Disclosure scores were summed across the three positive or negative traits for eachtargetandforself.Themajoranalysisinvolvada3 x 2 x 2 x 2 factorial ANOVA. with three levels of target person (see above), two levels of trait type (positive and negative). two levels of disclosure type (self-disclosure and feedback), and two levels of sex. Newman-Keuls range tests were used to examine comparison between particular cell means. RESULTS Table 1 presents the means and standard deviations for amount of disclosure across all experimental conditions. The results of the analysis of variance showed a main effect for sex. F(l,910) - 8.52, p < 0.01, with females disclosing more trait information than males; a main effect for target person, “2.910) - 48.26, p < 0.001: a main effect for type of disclosure. F(1,910) - 4.82, p < 0.05, with more feedback than self-disclosure; and no effect for whether the trait was posi- tive or negative. For the target main eifect, Newman-Keith range tests showed that subjects disclosed most to their dating friends. next highest to their same- sex friends, and least to their nondating opposite sex friends (all pa < 0.01). TABLE 1: MEANS AND STANDARD DEVIATIONS FOR AMOUNT OF DISCLOSURE1 Positive Negative Positive Negative Self-disclosure Self-disclosure Feedback Feedback M SD M SD M SD M SD Males Best male friend 5.13 3.59 5.85 3.40 6.98 3.19 5.40 3.41 Best nondating female friend 5.50 3.84 5.34 3.15 6.74 3.04 4.62 4.02 Best dating female friend 7.15 3.75 8.31 3.45 8.55 3.13 9.03 3.01 Females Best female friend 6.90 3.56 8.56 2.10 8.03 3.30 6.39 3.79 Best nondating male friend 4.74 3.36 5.90 3.78 6.59 3.31 5.54 3.55 Bestdating male friend 7.44- 4.01 8.62 3.64- 8.” 3.50 8.80 3.41 1Disclosure scores represent sums over three trait characteristics. with amount of disclosure on each trait rated by subject on a scale ranging from 0 to 4. 176 SOCIAL BEHAVIOR AND PERSONALITY The ANOVA also showed a significant sex-by-t t interaction. F 2,910 - 4.14. p < 0.01. Both female and male disclosure mating partner “(ms higher than either sex had disclosed to either of the other two targets (all ps at least < 0.05). while male and female disclosure to dating partner did not differ from each other. Fale disclosure to same-sex friend was higher than either sex had disclosed to nondating opposite-sex friend and also higher than male disclosure to same-sex fnend (ps < 0.01). All other cell differences were not significant at the 0.05 level. A significant effect was found for the disclosure by trait type interaction. F (1,910) - 18.34. p < 0.001. These four cells arranged themselves from highest- to-Iowest disclosure as follows: positive feedback. negative self-disclosure. nega- tive feedback. positive self-disclosure. Positive feedback was higher than either positive self-disclosure (p < 0.01) or negative feedback (p < 0.01). while negative self-disclosure was higher than positive self-disclosure (p < 0.05). All other cell differences did not reach significance at the 0.05 level. In order to test the clustering of dominant and affiliative responses. positive feedback and negative self-disclosure were compared with negative feedback and positive self-disclosure by means of the Newman-Keuls analysis. These two clusters were found to be significantly different (p < 0.01). with affiliative higher than dominant responding. DISCUSSION The present results support the utility of distinguishing among the four types of disclosure. Conceptually. they appear to serve difiering functions in interpersonal communication. Empirically, for college students with a current dating relationship, amount of disclosure was found to be a function of disclosure type. Positive and negative self-disclosure and feedback did group themselves as suggested by the interpersonal model. indicating that intimate peer relationships are characterized more by afliliative than by dominant responding in terms of self-disclosure and feedback. These results did not depend on subjects' sex or on target person. Although males are often thought to take the dominant position in heterosexual relationships. their disclosing behavior is still primarily affiliative rather than dominant. The present data lend support to the hypothesis that positive feedback would be higher than negative feedback because of the anticipated difierential punish- ing and reinforcing consequences following negative and positive feedback. Pre- vious research also suggested that positive self-disclosure might be higher than negative self-disclosure because of the more personal content and concomitant greater vulnerability in disclosing negative self-evaluations. Iourard (1911) found that. in general, disclosure is lower when more intimate topics are discussed. The present results indicate just the reverse. Negative self-disclosure was higher than positive self-disclosure. Rather than the vulnerability risk of negative self- disclosure, this points to the disapproval risk from placing too much emphasis on one’s own positive characteristics. It appears that in our society. polite or accept- able conversation involves placing more emphasis on a partner's positive traits than on one’s own. In the case of intimate peer relationships. this risk of dis- approval appears to outweigh the vulnerability risk of negative self-disclosure. With respect to the relative frequency of self-disclosure and feedback. the empirically determined low frequency of direct evaluative feedback (Blumberg. 1912) suggested that feedback might be lower than self-disclosure. in fact. just the reverse was found. This finding points to a generally low base rate in the direct communication of trait level information to another. whether that information involves self-disclosure or feedback. Most subjects report that they have men- tioned. but not discussed. this information in their most intimate peer relation- ships. It appears that with this type of trait level. overall evaluative information carries too much of an emotional-judgment impact for ordinary conversation. although it may be more frequent within special contexts such as encounter groups. This corresponds with Dorrls and Wertheim's (1916) position indicating the presence of strong cultural norms against the explicit expression of interper- sonal evaluations. Thus. these interpersonal evaluations are usually communicated CRITELLI AND NEUMANN 177 implicitly, perhaps through nonverbal means. or verbally through hints. indirect referenc. and cireumlocutions. _ While the present study cannot be regarded as a conclusive test of the Inter- personal model for verbal disclosure. hypotheses generated by model were supported. The finding that close peer relationships are characterized more by afiiliative than by dominant responding is particularly interesting. This finding may reflect one or more of several situations. All close relationships may more characterized by afliliative than dominant responding. or this may be pecuhar to "equal" status peer relationships only. Also, established relationships may be characterized by afliliative-bonding behaviors. with beginning relationships more characterized by play: to establish dominance. Future research should examine these possibilities for various relationship types. For example. disclosure processes could be studied in parent-adolescent relationships. and disclosure in first en- counters compared with that in established relationships. REFERENCES Benjamin. C. S.. 1974: Structural analysis of social behavior. Psychological Re- view. 81: 392-425. Blumberg. H. H.. 1972: Communication of interpersonal evaluations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 23: 157-62. Burhenne. D.: Mirels. H. C.. 1970: Self-disclosure in self-description essays. lournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 35: 409-13. Carson. R. C.. 1969: Interaction Concepts of Personality. Aldine. Chicago. Cozby. P. 3-59.. 1973: Self-disclosure: A literature review. Psychological Bulletin. 79: 7 1. Deleon. P. H.: DeLeon. I. L.: Shellin. I. L.. 1970: A validation study of self- disclosure. Proceedings, 78th Annuual Convention. American Psychological Association: 473-4. Dorris. l. W.: Wertheim. A., 1976: An attribution approach to investigating the perception of implicit communications of evaluation. lournal of Personality, 44: 410-32. Doster, I. A.: Strickland. B. R. 1969: Perceived childrearing practices and self- disclosure patterns. lournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 33: 382. Fineberg, B. L.; Lowman. L. 1975: Allect and status dimensions of mental adjustment. lournal of Marriage and the Family, 37: 155-60. Goodstein. L. D.: Reinecker. V. M.; 1974: Factors afieeting self-disclosure: A review of the literature. In B. A. Maher (Ed). Progress in Experimental Personaltry Research (Vol. 7). Academic Press. New York. Haley. I., 1963: Strategies of Psychotherapy. Grune and Stratton. New York. Iourard. s. M.. 1971: Experimental Analysis of the Transparent Self. Van Nos- ttand, Princeton. Leary. T.. 1957: Interpersonal Diagnosis of Personality. Ronald. New York. Levinger. G.; Senn. D. 1.. 1967: Disclosure of feelings in marriage. Merrill- Palmer Quarterly, 13: 237-49. Lorr. M.; Suziedelis. A.. 1969: Modes of interpersonal behavior. British lournal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 8: 124-32. Rotter. I. 3.; Chance. 1. E.: Phares, E. 1.. 1972: Applications of a Social Learn- ing Theory of Personality. Holt, Rinehart and Winston. Dallas. Selltiz, C.; Wrightsman. L. 8.: Cook. S. W.. 1976: Research Methods in Social Relations (3rd ed.) . Holt. Rinehart and Winston, New York. Shapiro. A.: Swenson. C.. 1969: lournal of Counseling Psychology. 16: 179-80. Thelen. M. H.: Brooks. S. S.. 1976: Social desirability and self-disclosure: Both independent of psychopathology. lournal of Consulting and Clinical Psychol- ogy. 44: 868. Reprints of this paper are available from Dr loseph W. Critelll. De trnent Psychology. North Texas State University. Denton. Texas 76203. 0.85:: a, Copyright© 2002 EBSCO Publishing ...
View Full Document

Page1 / 6

8651370 - Social Behavior and Personality, 6(2): 173-117....

This preview shows document pages 1 - 6. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online