Development of restrictive disclosure in children's communication with peers
Sliz, David J.
Master of Arts
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Research supports the conclusion that adults show a pattern of restrictive disclosure in which they choose to disclose intimate information to friends rather than nonfriends. From a developmental perspective, however, only limited evidence exists for this restrictive disclosure to friends process in children. The present study was designed to investigate whether, and if so at what age, children show the restrictive disclosure to friends in their actual communication with peers. Sixteen subjects (8 boys and 8 girls) selected from each of kindergarten, second and fourth grades were asked to "send a message" on a tape recorder to both a peer friend and peer nonfriend and talk about five categories which varied in personal content. The results indicated that the restrictive disclosure to friends pattern was evident in all three grades examined. Subjects disclosed overall, more high intimate but not more low intimate information to friends than to nonfriends. Age differences were also found in which there was an increase with age in the restriction of positive personal information to friends. These findings were discussed in terms of the development of social modesty.