Self disclosure between husbands and wives: Its relationship to sex roles and marital happiness


School of Behavioural Sciences, Macquarie University, North Ryde, N.S.W., 2109, Australia


One hundred and eight married couples were administered an omnibus survey concerning various aspects of their marriages. In the present report, interest is focused on the correlates of their self-disclosure levels. Although four different areas of self disclosure were hypothesized (positive, negative, anger, sex), these were highly related to one another. Husbands and wives in general were found to disclose about the same amount of information, with individual couples showing a high degree of matching. Disclosure levels decreased with time-related factors such as age, length of the marriage and in particular, the number of children. Femininity was found to be a critical variable in the disclosure levels of both husbands and wives with both androgynous and feminine individuals disclosing most and generally being disclosed to most. Marital happiness correlated positively with all aspects of one's own self disclosure and to a lesser extent, all aspects of one's spouse's disclosure level.