Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology
Albert J. Lott
An experiment was performed to assess how gender, college environment, examiner's race, examiner's gender, target person's race (disclosure recipient), and target person's gender influence self-disclosure. These six factors were investigated by having the participants rate their degree of willingness to self-disclose to a Black male target person, Black female target person, White male target person, or White female target person. Jourard's Self-Disclosure Questionnaire was used. It is composed of six topic areas: Attitudes, Taste, Personality, Work, Money, and Body. The subjects consisted of 240 Black (120 male and 120 female) undergraduate students. One hundred twenty of the students attended a predominantly Black college and 120 attended a predominantly White college in the District of Columbia.
Several predictions were made. Predictions concerning race were that: Students on a predominantly Black campus will disclose more than students on a predominantly White campus; that students will disclose more in the presence of Black examiners than in the presence of White examiners, and that students will disclose more to Black target persons than to White target persons. Predictions concerning gender were that females will disclose more than males; that students will disclose more in the presence of female examiners than in the presence of male examiners; and that students will disclose more to female target persons than to male target persons.
A significant effect for target gender and target race was found. Subjects disclosed more when the target person was female than when the target person was male, and subjects disclosed more to a Black target person than to a White target person. No significant effects were obtained for subjects' school, examiners' race, subjects' gender, or examiners' gender. For topics of self-disclosure, subjects disclosed more to female targets persons than to male target persons on topics of attitudes, taste, personality, and body. Subjects also disclosed more to Black target persons in all topic areas.
An important implication that we may draw from this study is that Black students report more willingness to disclose more to female target persons and to Black target persons. These considerations should be taken into account in intra-racial counseling.
Cosby, Stanley Gene, "FACTORS INFLUENCING SELF-DISCLOSURE PATTERNS OF BLACK COLLEGE STUDENTS" (1991). Open Access Dissertations. Paper 1010.