Can public versus private disclosure cause greater psychological symptom reduction?

Diane E. MACREADY, Yuen Man Rebecca CHEUNG, Anita E. KELLY, Lijuan WANG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticles

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Three studies examined the effects of disclosure in a social context. In 2 longitudinal experiments (N = 65 and N = 48), undergraduates wrote nonanonymous personal life stories and then were told that their stories either would or would not be read by their classmates. Both experiments revealed that participants in the public, as compared to private, disclosure condition experienced significantly greater self-reported psychological symptom reduction in the weeks following the writing. The second experiment showed that this effect was completely mediated by a reduction in self-reported anxiety and negative emotions surrounding the written disclosure. A third study (N = 354) showed that disclosing personal topics more publicly was significantly correlated with fewer psychological symptoms. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that the benefits of written disclosure can be magnified if the disclosure is public, as opposed to private, because of the accompanying reduction in negative affect surrounding the public disclosure. Copyright © 2011 Guilford Publications, Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1015-1042
JournalJournal of Social and Clinical Psychology
Volume30
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Citation

Macready, D. E., Cheung, R. M., Kelly, A. E., & Wang, L. (2011). Can public versus private disclosure cause greater psychological symptom reduction? Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 30(10), 1015-1042. doi: 10.1521/jscp.2011.30.10.1015

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