Reciprocity of self-disclosure in school aged children
Chase, Nancy D.
Master of Arts
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Researchers (i.e., Altman & Taylor, 1973) have found that a principle of reciprocity guides self-disclosures in adults. The present study explored the question of whether, and if so, at what age the principle of reciprocity guides children's self-disclosures. In the study, children from kindergarten, grades 2, 4 and 6 were shown three videotapes of child initiators disclosing information about themselves that varied in intimacy level. After viewing each tape, the child was asked to send a message to the stimulus children on topics varying in intimacy. It was found that children in sixth grade engaged in reciprocity of self-disclosure. They responded with more high intimacy level disclosures to the child initiators who provided high intimacy disclosures, than to the child initiators who made low intimacy level disclosures. They also made more high intimacy disclosures to the child initiator who provided medium stimuli, than to the ones who provided low intimacy disclosures. The latter finding was interpreted as indicating that a fully differentiated reciprocity of self-disclosure was acquired later in development.