Managing “Private” Information in Primary-Care Visits: What is Self-disclosure?
Abstract – One of the origins in studying self-disclosure was its effects on health (i.e., a healthy personality). Since then, however, a majority of work on self-disclosure, at least in Communication (but also in Psychology), has dealt less with health, per se, and more with relationships, such as relational development (e.g., liking), relational outcomes (e.g., satisfaction), and sex differences. Within research on self-disclosure and health, there is even less research on self-disclosure by primary-care physicians and patients. The goal of this paper is to explicate the current state of research on self-disclosure in physician-patient interactions and provide future directions that will augment both theory and practice. The first part of this paper discusses prior conceptualizations of self-disclosure, as well as variables associated with self-disclosure. The second part of this paper reviews associations between self-disclosure and health. Finally, this paper discusses directions for future information management research in physician-patient interaction.
Keywords: self-disclosure, communication, health care provider