Download scientific diagram | Depth and breadth of partnership relationships ( based initial achievements of Stratham Mental Health NHS and Social Care Trust. Sel disclosure varies in breadth and depth Social Penetration Theory A theory from Benefits of Self-Disclosures: • Enhancement of relationships and trust. Self-disclosure is the idea that relationship formation is built on trust with another person, which is Self-disclosure has two dimensions: breadth and depth.
As for the speed of self-disclosure, Altman and Taylor were convinced that the process of social penetration moves a lot faster in the beginning stages of a relationship and slows considerably. In other words, penetration is rapid at the start but slows down quickly as the tightly wrapped inner layers are reached. Disclosure reciprocity[ edit ] Self-disclosure is reciprocal, especially in the early stages of relationship development.
Disclosure reciprocity is an indispensable component in SPT. Disclosure reciprocity can induce positive and satisfactory feelings and drive forward relational development. This is because as mutual disclosure take place between individuals, they might feel a sense of emotional equity.
Disclosure reciprocity occurs when the openness of one person is reciprocated with the same degree of the openness from the other person. Onion model Social penetration is known for its onion analogy, which implies that self-disclosure is the process of tearing layers or concentric circles away. It is sometimes called the " onion theory " of personality.
Personality is like a multi-layered onion with public self on the outer layer and private self at the core. As time passes and intimacy grows, the layers of one's personality begin to unfold to reveal the core of the person. This is done in a reciprocal manner. The main factor that acts as a catalyst in the development of relationships is proper self disclosure. Altman and Taylor proposes that there are four major stages in social penetration: This first stage follows the standards of social desirability and norms of appropriateness.
Individuals start to reveal the inner self bit by bit, expressing personal attitudes about moderate topics such as government and education. This may not be the whole truth as individuals are not yet comfortable to lay themselves bare.
This is the stage of casual friendshipand many relationships do not go past this stage. Individuals are getting more comfortable to talk about private and personal matter, and there are some forms of commitment in this stage. Personal idiomsor words and phrases that embody unique meanings between individuals, are used in conversations. Criticism and arguments may arise. A comfortable share of positive and negative reactions occurs in this stage.
Relationships become more important to both parties, more meaningful and more enduring. It is a stage of close friendships and intimate partners.
Social penetration theory - Wikipedia
The relationship now reaches a plateau in which some of the deepest personal thoughtsbeliefsand values are shared and each can predict the emotional reactions of the other person. This stage is characterized with complete openness, raw honesty and a high degree of spontaneity. When the relationship starts to break down and costs exceed benefits, then there is a withdrawal of disclosure which leads to termination of the relationship.
According to Altman and Taylor, when de-penetration occurs, "interpersonal exchange should proceed backwards from more to less intimate areas, should decrease in breadth or volume, and, as a result, the total cumulative wedge of exchange should shrink".
Relational retreat takes back of what has earlier been exchanged in the building of a relationship. Relationships are likely to break down not in an explosive argument but in a gradual cooling off of enjoyment and care. What is worth noting is that Tolstedt and Stokes finds that in the de-penetration process, the self-disclosure breadth reduces, while self-disclosure depth increases.
This is known as idiomatic communication, a phenomenon that is reported to occur more often among couples in the coming together stages of a relationship. Therefore, this personalized form of communication acts more as a maintainer of a relationship and is not to be necessarily taken as a sign that a couple is moving upward or downward in their relationship trajectory.
Breadth and depth[ edit ] Both depth and breadth are related to the onion model. As the wedge penetrates the layers of the onion, the degree of intimacy depth and the range of areas in an individual's life that an individual chooses to share breadth increases. For instance, one segment could be family, a specific romantic relationship, or academic studies.
Each of these segments or areas are not always accessed at the same time. One could be completely open about a family relationship while hiding an aspect of a romantic relationship for various reasons such as abuse or disapproval from family or friends. It takes genuine intimacy with all segments to be able to access all areas of breadth at all times. This does not necessarily refer to sexual activitybut how open and close someone can become with another person despite their anxiety over self-disclosure.
Doing this will give the person more trust in the relationship and make them want to talk about deeper things that would be discussed in normal, everyday conversation. This could be through friendship, family relationships, peers, and even romantic relationships with either same-sex or opposite-sex partners. How do people move to deeper intimacy levels? When talking with one person over time, someone could make more topics to talk about so the other person will start to open up and express what they feel about the different issues and topics.
This helps the first person to move closer to getting to know the person and how they react to different things. This is applicable when equal intimacy is involved in friendship, romance, attitudes and families.
Social penetration theory
For instance, depth without breadth could be where only one area of intimacy is accessed. This would be depth without breadth. An example would be when passing by an acquaintance and saying, "Hi, how are you? To get to the level of breadth and depth, both parties have to work on their social skills and how they present themselves to people.
They have to be willing to open up and talk to each other and express themselves. One person could share some information about their personal life and see how the other person responds. If they do not want to open up the first time, the first person has to keep talking to the second person and have many conversations to get to the point where they both feel comfortable enough for them to want to talk to each other about more personal topics.
The relationship between breadth and depth can be similar to that used in technology today. Pennington describes in a study that " With a click of the mouse to accept them as a "friend" roommates across the country can learn: Users of these platforms seem to feel obligated to share simple information as was listed by Pennington, but also highly personal information that can now be considered general knowledge.
In cases like this, there is depth without much breadth. For example, some cultures, like the Japanese, value personal privacy more than others. Therefore, a Japanese person may not self-disclose nearly as much or as enthusiastically as, say, a French person. Partners who come from different religious backgrounds may hesitate to share thoughts or attitudes that concern matters of faith. Men often refrain from expressing deep emotions out of fear of social stigma.
Such barriers can slow the rate of self-disclosure and even prevent relationships from forming. In theory, the more dissimilar two people are, the more difficult or unlikely self-disclosure becomes. Stranger-on-the-train phenomenon[ edit ] Most of the time individuals engage in self-disclosure strategically, carefully evaluating what to disclose and what to be reserved, since disclosing too much in the early stage of relationship is generally considered as inappropriate, which can end or suffocate a relationship.
Whereas, in certain contexts, self-disclosure does not follow the pattern. This exception is known as "stranger-on-the-train or plane or bus " phenomenon, in which individuals reveal personal information with complete strangers in public spaces rapidly.
In such situations, self-disclosure is spontaneous rather than strategic. This specific concept can be known as verbal leakage, which is defined by Floyd as "unintentionally telling another person something about yourself".
Some researchers argue that revealing our inner self to complete strangers is deemed as " cathartic exercise" or "service of confession", which allows individuals to unload emotions and express deeper thoughts without being haunted by the potential unfavorable comments or judgements.
Some researcher suggests that this phenomenon occurs because individuals feel less vulnerable to open up to strangers who they are not expected to see again. Individuals in a relationship who experience anxiety will find it difficult to divulge information regarding their sexuality and desires due to the perceived vulnerabilities in doing so. In a study published by the Archives of Sexual Behaviorsocially anxious individuals generally attribute potential judgement or scrutiny as the main instigators for any insecurities in self-disclosing to their romantic partners.
Rewards and costs assessment[ edit ] Social exchange theory[ edit ] Further information: Social exchange theory Social exchange theory states that humans weigh each relationship and interaction with another human on a reward cost scale without realizing it. If the interaction was satisfactory, then that person or relationship is looked upon favorably. But if an interaction was unsatisfactory, then the relationship will be evaluated for its costs compared to its rewards or benefits.
People try to predict the outcome of an interaction before it takes place. Coming from a scientific standpoint, Altman and Taylor were able to assign letters as mathematical representations of costs and rewards. They also borrowed the concepts from Thibaut and Kelley's in order to describe the relation of costs and rewards of relationships. Thibaut and Kelley's key concepts of relational outcome, relational satisfaction, and relational stability serve as the foundation of Irwin and Taylor's rewards minus costs, comparison level, and comparison level of alternatives.
A major factor of disclosure is an individual calculation in direct relation to benefits of the relationship at hand. Each calculation is unique in its own way because every person prefers different things and therefore will give different responses to different questions. An example of how rewards and costs can influence behaviour is if an individual were to ask another individual on a date. If they say 'yes', then the first individual has gained a reward, making them more likely to repeat this action.
However, if they reply with 'No', then they have received a punishment which in turn would stop them from repeating an action like that in the future. The more someone discloses to their partner, the greater the intimacy reward will be. When the individuals involved in the relationship hold positive values in this calculation, intimacy proceeds at an accelerated rate. In the relationship, if both parties are dyad, the cost exceeds the rewards. The relationship then will slow considerably, and future intimacy is less likely to happen.
The basic formula in which some can process this in most situations is: Outcome[ edit ] This means that people want to maximize their rewards and minimize their costs when they are in a relationship with somebody. According to Altman and Taylor, relationships are sustained when they are relatively rewarding when the outcome is positive and discontinued when they are relatively costly when the outcome is negative.
As defined by Thibaut and Kelley, comparison level is the standard by which individuals evaluate the desirability of group membership. A group is defined as "two or more interdependent individuals who influence one another through social interaction". In this instance, the group refers to a dyadic relationship, but it can really be extended to any type of group. Whereas self-disclosure studies have increasingly focused on predictors of disclosure e. Particularly, there is a dearth of research investigating the relative impacts of breadth and depth as two distinct dimensions of self-disclosure.
Self-Disclosure Self-disclosure and attraction in zero-acquaintance situations. According to research on face-to-face relationships, in zero-acquaintance situations, higher levels of self-disclosure are associated with attraction. The literature underlines two potential mechanisms through which increasing disclosure may contribute to interpersonal attraction. SPT posits that in initial stages of a relationships individuals typically make information about themselves available to each other in a symmetrical way, which, in turn, help enhance relational outcomes.
In line with SPT, studies have shown that in zero-acquaintance situations, heightened self-disclosure helps generate a sense of familiarity and closeness among dyads e. The second underlying mechanism for how self-disclosure may enhance interpersonal attraction in zero-acquaintance situations concerns the role self-disclosure plays in increasing the predictability of a relationship.
To that extent, self-disclosure early in a relationship may enhance interpersonal attraction by providing more cues that can reduce uncertainty i.
Specifically, studies have shown that reduction in uncertainty may have a negative effect on impression formation in the initial stages of relationships e. Relatedly, information-processing models of attraction suggest that disclosure would result in positive relational outcomes only if the recipient evaluates the information positively Ajzen, One critical dimension of self-disclosure that has received due attention in relation to relationship initiation is what Greene et al.
For example, according to Greene et al. Despite such conceptual variation, however, the literature suggests that both of the potential mechanisms, summarized above, regarding the positive impact of disclosure to relational outcomes are applicable to disclosure breadth. Earlier research on CMC e. However, perspectives like the social information processing SIP theory Walther, suggest that just like in face-to-face relationships, CMC users are highly motivated to form impressions about others and reduce interpersonal uncertainty.
Specifically, SIP predicts that particularly when non-verbal cues are missing, users will utilize a number of cues, such as content, delivery style and timing of self-disclosure to form impressions about others. In line with the premises of SIP, there is ample evidence suggesting that the mechanisms described above in relation to disclosure-liking effect will be present, and potentially be more intense, in CMC settings. Second, a number of studies report that irrespective of the actual content of messages shared, the frequency with which information is exchanged among dyads is positively associated with higher levels of sense of closeness and familiarity in CMC contexts e.
More specifically with respect to the relationship between breadth of disclosure and interpersonal attraction, evidence from research on CMC and relationship initiation suggests that increasing breadth of information shared in online relationships leads to higher liking and trust in different settings such as computer conferencing Walther,newsgroup interactions McKenna et al.
Such mixed results are partly because these studies confound breadth of information with other factors associated with impression formation such as presence of photos Limperos et al. On the other hand, research on online dating sites suggests that an increase in the amount of information i.
Hence, our first two hypotheses propose: Accordingly, while conducive to reducing uncertainty, disclosing intimate information i. Research underlines two key reasons for this outcome. First, disclosure of intimate information may be perceived as inappropriate and as a violation of norms regarding tactfulness, especially during the initial stages of a relationship. This is largely due to the openness of the participation structure—defined in terms of the size of the group and directedness of communication—of SNSs Herring, Research on the impact of disclosure depth on interpersonal attraction on SNSs parallels findings from studies on face-to-face interactions.
In a similar vein, a study by Bazarova suggests that in SNS sites, viewers consider disclosure of intimate information as appropriate only when it is shared privately rather than with all the network. Hence, we predict that: Respective impacts of breadth and depth of disclosure.
To our knowledge, there is a dearth of studies that investigate the relative influence of these two dimensions breadth and depth of disclosure on interpersonal attraction and how they interact with each other within the context of SNSs. The Realistic Accuracy Model Funder, ; Funder, provides a framework within which we can consider the respective roles that breadth and depth of disclosed information may play in evaluation of an SNS profile.
According to this model, accuracy of the judgment about a person depends on: As discussed in detail below, our last question in this study concerns this interaction between breadth and depth of information.
On the one hand, whereas increasing the quantity of information provides more data points for making judgments, concurrently increasing intimacy of information may further enhance attributional confidence by revealing relevant information about source characteristics.
On the other hand, sheer increase in amount of information does not necessarily lead to better judgments about others. According to RAM, certain types of information e.