Event Title

Skeletons in Your Closet: The Role of Secrecy in Romantic Relationships

Presenter Information

Kirk Fortini

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

College

College of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Major

Psychology

Location

Event Center A&B

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Kelly Campbell

Start Date

5-27-2014 1:00 PM

End Date

5-27-2014 2:30 PM

Abstract

Secrecy is conceptually defined as an active process of information management, wherein information that is consciously accessible to the secret-keeper and personally distressing is kept from another person. The secret-keeper believes that some aspect of themselves may be unacceptable, and therefore attempts to obscure their “flaw.” This then becomes consistent with social exchange theory, where the individual is motivated to preserve a relationship from incurring costs, while at the same time potentiating rewards. In this study, we examined secrecy as a relationship maintenance tool. We hypothesize that participants with insecure attachment style would be less satisfied with the status of their relationships, and thus engage in secrecy. We also hypothesized that participants with a high risk tolerance would practice secrecy as a means of relationship maintenance. An ethnically diverse sample of men and women was recruited from websites (e.g., Craigslist.org), social media site (e,g.,Facebook.com), and a university participant pool. The criteria for participation was that individuals be currently involved in a romantic relationship, of have been recently involved in a long-term relationship satisfaction, behavioral approach, of have been recently involved in a long-term relationship. Participants responded to an online survey that assessed attachment style, relationship satisfaction, behavioral approach and inhibition attitudes, and secret-keeping in the context of romantic relationships (closed and open-ended questions). The hypothesis were supported in that participants with insecure attachment styles and high risk tolerance reported greater secrecy compared to securely attached individuals and those with a low risk tolerance. Applications for study finding are discussed, including their salience within the clinical therapeutic setting.

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May 27th, 1:00 PM May 27th, 2:30 PM

Skeletons in Your Closet: The Role of Secrecy in Romantic Relationships

Event Center A&B

Secrecy is conceptually defined as an active process of information management, wherein information that is consciously accessible to the secret-keeper and personally distressing is kept from another person. The secret-keeper believes that some aspect of themselves may be unacceptable, and therefore attempts to obscure their “flaw.” This then becomes consistent with social exchange theory, where the individual is motivated to preserve a relationship from incurring costs, while at the same time potentiating rewards. In this study, we examined secrecy as a relationship maintenance tool. We hypothesize that participants with insecure attachment style would be less satisfied with the status of their relationships, and thus engage in secrecy. We also hypothesized that participants with a high risk tolerance would practice secrecy as a means of relationship maintenance. An ethnically diverse sample of men and women was recruited from websites (e.g., Craigslist.org), social media site (e,g.,Facebook.com), and a university participant pool. The criteria for participation was that individuals be currently involved in a romantic relationship, of have been recently involved in a long-term relationship satisfaction, behavioral approach, of have been recently involved in a long-term relationship. Participants responded to an online survey that assessed attachment style, relationship satisfaction, behavioral approach and inhibition attitudes, and secret-keeping in the context of romantic relationships (closed and open-ended questions). The hypothesis were supported in that participants with insecure attachment styles and high risk tolerance reported greater secrecy compared to securely attached individuals and those with a low risk tolerance. Applications for study finding are discussed, including their salience within the clinical therapeutic setting.