Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Psychology



First Advisor

Albert J. Lott


An experiment was performed to assess how gender, race, and socioeconomic status influence self-disclosure. These three factors were investigated by having the participants rate their degree of self-disclosure to each parent and to a male friend and female friend. The Jourard Self-Disclosure Questionaire was used.

The subjects consisted of eighty college students: twenty white males, twenty while females, twenty black males, and twenty black females. All subjects were enrolled at two Rhode Island College and were tested in a group by an examiner of the same sex and race.

The results were analyzed using a 2 x 2 x 2 analysis of variance test. This consisted of 2 (male, female) x 2 (black, white) x 2 (upper socioeconomic status, lower socioeconomic status). A significant difference in the reported rates of total self-disclosure by sex (F = 4.93, df = (1, 72) p < .05) was found, with females disclosing more than males. A significant sex x race interaction was also found (F = 7.75 (df = 1, 72), p < .01). A simple effects test found that white females disclosed more than black females; but black and white males do not differ in their total self-disclosure.

The results were also analyzed using a 2 x 2 x 2 x 4 analysis of' variance (gender x race x socioeconomic status x targets) to measure the difference in rates of self-disclosure to different target persons. A significant difference in self-disclosure to different target persons was found. (F = 20.52, df = (3,216), p < .001). A significant target by socioeconomic status interaction was round (F = 3.48 (df = 3,216), p < .05). A Turkey follow-up test revealed that there was a significant difference in subject’s self-disclosure to father compared to the other targets.

A significant sex x race x target interaction was also found in the 2 x 2 x 2 x 4 ANOVA. (F = 2.84, (df = 3,216), p < .05). Differences were found in self-disclosure rates of white male and female subjects for certain targets. White females disclosed at a significantly higher rate to a female friend target, and a male friend target than white males.

The sex x race x target interaction also revealed a significant difference in disclosure rates of the black male and female subjects for certain targets (F = 5.43, (df = 1,250) p < .05). Black males disclosed more to a female friend than did black females.

In summary, there was a significant effect for sex and for targets. For sex, the overall group of females disclosed more than the overall group of males. For targets, white females disclosed more to a male friend, a female friend, and mother target person than did black females. Black and white males did not differ in their self-disclosure to any of the targets.

The significant interaction between sex x race x target also showed tha white females disclosed more to a male friend than did white males. Black males disclosed to a greater rate than black females to a female friend. The remaining interactions were not significant.

To determine werther a relationship exists between self-disclosure to a parent and the attractiveness of the parent as measured by the Parent Cathexis Questionarie, the correlation between the overall self-disclosure score to each parent and the score on the parent cathexis questionnaire for each parent was computed. The overall score for self-disclosure to father correlated significantly for with the father cathexis scale, r = -.46, p < .001. The overall score for self-disclosure to mother did not correlate significantly with the mother cathexis scale r = -.15, ns.

An important implication that we may draw from this study, is that black females disclose less than white females to several target persons. If decisions and counsel are grounded in lack of self-disclosure from black female students, to a counselor, then the decisions may not be very helpful. Perhaps the low self-disclosure rate of some black students may be an important factor that accounts for a high college attrition rate.



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