Communication ETDs

Publication Date

7-1-2009

Abstract

The present study investigates college students perceptions of the appropriate self-disclosure strategies endorsed when disclosing religiosity. Because self-disclosure patterns can be influenced by whom we are talking to and our estimation of the response, this project also examined friendship levels (i.e., close friend, friend, and acquaintance), the friend's view of religion (i.e., favorable or unfavorable), and the subject's own commitment to religion, to determine if they influenced a religious person's self-disclosure strategy. Based on Relational Dialectics theory, an original instrument, the Self-Disclosure Strategies Questionnaire (SDSQ) was used to measure participant's endorsement of five self-disclosure strategies. The five self-disclosure dimensions evaluated in the SDSQ are: (a) selection, (b) separation (i.e., segmentation and cyclic alteration), (c) disqualification, (e) moderation, and (f) reframing. Items for the SDSQ were developed using open-ended questionnaires to establish face and content validity. The factorial and construct validity of the SDSQ was tested using confirmatory factor analysis and correlation of three existing communication measures. Results confirmed five subscales with good alphas and construct validity. In addition, the Religious Life Commitment-10 (RCI-10) questionnaire was included to measure each participant's level of religiosity. Results indicated that selection was the most highly endorsed strategy among participants. However, with regard to friendship type, religious individuals did not feel it was necessary to alter self-disclosures strategies based on the relationship with the recipient. In addition, participants with high and low religious commitment yielded significant differences on three of the strategies: (a) selection, (b) disqualification, and (c) reframing. Also, results indicated that the perception of the recipient's response (i.e., favorable or unfavorable) has a slight influence on the type of self-disclosure strategies endorsed. The findings of this study extend previous research on friendship maintenance while offering a new lens for self-disclosure research. This research provides a strong foundation for understanding the role of religion in daily interaction, specifically friendship and self-disclosure patterns. The limitations and future directions for the present study are also discussed.

Language

English

Keywords

Religion, Self-disclosure, Friendship, Relational Dialectics

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Communication

Level of Degree

Masters

Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

McDermott, Virginia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Lutgen-Sandvik, Pamela

Second Committee Member

Burgess, Andrew

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