Effects of Self-Monitoring and Prospect of Future Interaction on Self-Disclosure Reciprocity During the Acquaintance Process


  • The authors are indebted to Michael R Cunningham and Sidney Rosen who commented on an earlier version of the manuscript

Requests for reprints should be addressed to David R Shaffer, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602


ABSTRACT High and low self-monitors, who either anticipated or did not anticipate further interaction with a same-sex confederate, alternated with that person in disclosing personal information on three very private topics The confederate spoke first on each topic, presenting either highly intimate or nonintimate information in response to all three issues Content analyses of subjects' disclosures revealed that both high and low self-monitors reciprocated the intimacy and (to a lesser extent) the emotionality of a partner with whom future interaction was not anticipated, but that only the high self-monitors reciprocated the partner's self-disclosures when future interaction with that person was anticipated Supplementary measures suggested that the anticipation of future interaction increased the agentic concerns of all participants, thereby inducing high self-monitors to become even more attentive to situational cues when deciding how or what to disclose, while prompting low self-monitors to rely even less on situational cues and more on personal thoughts and feelings as the basis for their self-presentations Taken together, the results indicate that the prospect of future interaction is an important situational moderator of the self-disclosing tendencies of both high and low self-monitors, and they provide little if any support for recent “instrumental hedonism” interpretations of self-monitoring activities