The effect of masculinity, femininity, dogmatism, sex, and race on self-disclosure in male and female college students

Date

1981

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Abstract

This study was conducted to answer the following questions: 1. Do sex and race affect the tendency of undergraduate college students to self-disclose? 2. If sex and race do affect self-disclosure, to what extent are the effects explained by the discloser's levels of masculinity, femininity, and dogmatism? One hundred forty-six undergraduate students (38 black males, 37 black females, 35 white males, and 36 white females) enrolled in psychology classes at two Southwestern universities, one predominantly black and the other predominantly white, participated in this investigation. The dependent variables, past self-disclosure and future selfdisclosure, were measured with the 40-item Jourard SelfDisclosure Questionnaire (Jourard, 1971). The categorical independent variables, sex and race, were determined by subject self-report. The covariates or measured independent variables-masculinity and femininity-were measured by the Personal Attributes Questionnaire (Spence & Helmreich, 1978). The measured independent variable, dogmatism, was determined by the subjects' Dogmatism scores on the Opinion Scale (Kleiber, Veldman, & Menaker, 1973). The Dogmatism subscale includes the 40 items of Rokeach's (1960) Dogmatism Scale, Form E. Multivariate analysis of variance, covariance, and multiple regression were used to test the hypotheses of this study (Finn, 1974). Pearson product-moment correlations were computed as an additional measure of the relationship between self-disclosure and each of the covariates, masculinity, femininity, and dogmatism. The results of the multivariate analyses indicated that sex and race are significantly related to selfdisclosure both when masculinity, femininity, and dogmatism are included and when these three covariates are controlled. Thus, a yes answer was found for the first guestion investigated in this study and a no answer was found for the second question. Sex and race significantly affect past self-disclosure and willingness to self-disclose in the future for this sample of undergraduate college students. However, these relationships are not accounted for by the subjects' levels of masculinity, femininity, or dogmatism. The major conclusions derived from the findings of this study are: 1. The nature of the relationships between sex and selfdisclosure, and between race and self-disclosure, are complex. 2. Continued research investigating sex and self-disclosure and race and self-disclosure is warranted.

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Keywords

Self-disclosure, College students--Attitudes

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