205725 Predictors of disclosure in psychotherapy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gordon Habbestad, MA, PhDCandidate , School of Psychology, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
William B. Disch, PhD , School of Psychology, Walden University, Minneapolis, MN
Self-disclosure is a key component of most theories of personal change and positive therapy outcomes. Research indicates that primary disclosure predictors include trust, risk, and therapy alliance. Greater trust improves alliance and promotes disclosure, increasing the likelihood of positive therapeutic outcomes. A critical literature gap remains regarding disclosure predictors. Increased understanding of these predictors can provide improved insight into optimal therapeutic relationships that are so critical to the therapeutic process. This IRB-approved cross-sectional study assessed individuals in both close personal relationships and therapeutic relationships, and assessed general disclosure and emotional disclosure as a function of relationship trust, therapy trust, alliance, and intimate, present, and past perceived risk. Based on the theoretical underpinnings of disclosure, risk, and trust (Theory of Motivated Information Management, Non-Linear Risk Acceptance Theory, Theory of Strategic Choice), it was hypothesized that there would be differential effects of predictors on general (personal) versus therapeutic disclosure. Using a sample of 116 participants, and standard multiple regression analyses, results indicated that intimate risk and present vs. past risk ratio were significant predictors for general disclosure. For therapeutic disclosure, therapist trust and general disclosure were significant predictors. The hypotheses were partially supported. Follow-up gender analyses indicated no significant predictive differences for general disclosure and only present vs. past risk ratio for women, and therapist trust and general disclosure for men significantly predicted therapist disclosure. Competing disclosure predictors in close relationships versus therapeutic relationships are discussed. Results extend existing research on disclosure through insight related to psychotherapy that leads to favorable outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
Identify predictors of general versus therapeutic disclosure. Describe the differential influences of predictor variables on the two types of disclosure. Discuss the implications of differential disclosure for optimal psychotherapeutic outcomes.

Keywords: Mental Health Services, Risk Taking Behavior

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Walden University Status: PhD Candidate with approved research proposal
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Mental Health Poster Session V
See more of: Mental Health