Effects of Self-Consciousness and Social Anxiety on Self-Disclosure among Unacquainted Individuals: An Application of the Social Relations Model


  • We wish to thank Heather McCreath, David Pillow, and Stephen G. West for their comments on earlier drafts of this manuscript and Maria Morris for her assistance in the data collection.

Requests for reprints should be sent to Raymond R. Reno, Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556.


ABSTRACT Recent research has demonstrated a positive relationship between private self-consciousness and the tendency to self-disclose. These studies have relied exclusively upon self-reports of disclosure. In the present study, Kenny's Social Relations Model (Kenny & La Voie, 1984) was employed to examine the relationship between a subject's self-reports and others' reports of a subject's level of self-disclosure and the relationship of these reports to private self-consciousness, as well as the other traits measured by the self-consciousness scale: public self-consciousness and social anxiety. Unacquainted college women (N= 102) participated in one-on-one interactions in a round-robin design. Subject's self-reports of disclosure and their levels of private self-consciousness correlated positively. The partners' reports of an individual's disclosure, however, were not related to the individual's level of private self-consciousness. The discrepancy between these correlations emphasizes the necessity to ground research in personal relationships on interacting pairs and not only on the self-reports of one member. Future research that would explore this difference is discussed. The examination of the self-and partner reports and subjects' levels of public self-consciousness and social anxiety demonstrated that these two traits significantly influence the acquaintance process. Public self-consciousness related positively to subjects' beliefs that they had created consistent impressions upon their partners. Social anxiety correlated negatively with partners' reports of a subject's dyadic involvement and openness.