Nearly every family has secrets. Some of these secrets are told; others are carefully hidden. Why is it that some people reveal their family secrets while others choose to conceal them? Two studies were conducted to investigate this issue by examining the association between the likelihood of revealing family secrets and (a) the topic of the secret, (b) the function of the secret, (c) satisfaction with one's family, and (d) the quality of the relationship with the potential target of the revelation. The correspondence between the number and function of family secrets and family satisfaction was also investigated. The data suggested that the function of secrets, family satisfaction, and the relationship people had with the target of their disclosure were related to whether family members were likely to reveal their secrets. The link between secret topic and the tendency to reveal secrets was unreliable, but there was an association between family members' perceptions of topic intimacy and the likelihood of revealing secrets.
- Family secrets
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Social Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Sociology and Political Science