We are very grateful to Jeffrey H. Kahn for his insightful comments on an earlier draft.
Is Keeping a Secret or Being a Secretive Person Linked to Psychological Symptoms?
Article first published online: 16 JUN 2006
Journal of Personality
Volume 74, Issue 5, pages 1349–1370, October 2006
How to Cite
Kelly, A. E. and Yip, J. J. (2006), Is Keeping a Secret or Being a Secretive Person Linked to Psychological Symptoms?. Journal of Personality, 74: 1349–1370. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00413.x
- Issue published online: 16 JUN 2006
- Article first published online: 16 JUN 2006
ABSTRACT This prospective study explored whether keeping a major secret, self-concealment (i.e., the predisposition to keep secrets), and social support at Time 1 predicted symptomatology levels 9 weeks later (Time 2) among a sample of 86 undergraduates. The results showed that the process of keeping a secret actually predicted fewer symptoms, whereas the personality variable of self-concealment predicted more symptoms at Time 2, even when the analyses controlled for social support. However, the predictive effects of both secret keeping and self-concealment were wiped out when the analyses statistically controlled for initial symptomatology, which was positively linked to self-concealment from the outset. These findings challenge conventional wisdom about the dangers of keeping a major secret and suggest that, instead, the kind of person who is secretive simply might be more vulnerable to symptoms.