Intergroup Interaction and Self-Disclosure1


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    The authors wish to thank Margie Britten, Holly Stenerson, and Michael Goudy for serving as experimenters; Jill Inman, Myriam Baker, Deneice Pittman, Tamara Churchman, Roxanne Cox, and Shannon Casey for serving as confederates; and Lisa Marshall for coding the data.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Walter C. Stephan, Department of Psychology, Box 3452, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM 88003.


Two studies were designed to test hypotheses concerning self-disclosure during initial interactions with ingroup or outgroup strangers. Based on intergroup anxiety theory it was predicted that ingroup members would disclose less to outgroup strangers than to ingroup strangers. One study involved interaction with handicapped and nonhandicapped confederates and one involved interaction with Caucasian and Black confederates. It was found that on some dimensions there was less self-disclosure to outgroup than ingroup strangers during initial interactions. Additional data suggested that high levels of public self-awareness and perceived dissimilarity also reduced some aspects of self-disclosure.