Revealing Secrets

In the latest issue of Communication Monographs (June 2009)Tamara Afifi and Keli Steuber have an article on the strategies that people use to reveal their secrets. What I like best about this article is the extensive list (25 items) of these strategies and the great idea this suggests for a class discussion/exercise: how do you reveal your secrets? Or create scenarios and ask students to explain how they'd reveal the secret. Self-disclosure is always one of the great classroom topics. The main categories identified in the Afifi-Steuber study are:
1. Preparation and rehearsal (e.g., testing out the secret with other people)
2. Directness (e.g., telling the person)
3. Third party revelations (e.g., telling one person who would likely tell the target person)
4. Incremental disclosures (e.g., revealing the secrets in small parts)
5. Entrapment (e.g., revealing the secret in anger or in an argument)
6. Indirect mediums (e.g., disclosing the secret in email)

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