Gender and Self-Disclosure

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Final (Research) Paper:
Gender and Self Disclosure

Picture yourself in a grocery store. The woman next to you is on her cellular phone talking to what sounds like a boyfriend. You hear her say, “I’m going out with my girlfriends tonight, we all need some time to talk and catch up.” Now imagine yourself in the same situation, replacing the woman on the cell phone with a man. Would a man sound strange saying, “I’m going out with my boyfriends tonight, we just need to chat.”? This situation would more than likely cause the eavesdropper much confusion. It is not because men do not typically have male friends with whom they spend time with, while women have girlfriends with whom they do. The question presented from this situation lies in the level of self disclosure typical to gender. Do women find the act of self disclosure easier than men find it to be? I believe the answer is yes, in comparison to men, women find it easy to share details about themselves and their feelings with others.

According to a meta-analysis of research used by Kathryn Dindia, in her book entitled Balancing the Secrets of Private Disclosures, self disclosure was found to be most common in female to female communication, while male to male communication was found to be the least common (among female to female, female to male, and male to male communications). Dindia goes on to point out that if female to male communications scored higher in the study than male to male communications, the determining factor was the fact that females are more comfortable with disclosure than males, even in cross-gender situations. Supporting Dindia’s findings, an article printed in Vol. 33 of Sex Roles: A Journal of Research suggests that men may be less expressive with their male friends out of concern that they will appear weak. And while this explanation may have merit, it does not account for why women are also less likely to disclose with males than with females. This may be because...
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