Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts

Major

Communication

Date of Defense

4-16-2018

Graduate Advisor

Dr. Stephanie Van Stee

Committee

Dr. Yan Tian

Dr. Suahn Cho

Abstract

This study examined six underlying motivations (expression, self-clarification, social validation, relationship development, social control, and information sharing) for self-disclosure in a public speaking setting and a dyadic relationship setting. Five of these goals come from Derlega and Grzelak’s (1979) functional approach to self-disclosure and one is an additional goal examined by Bazarova and Choi (2014). This study found that the relative salience of self-disclosure goals in the public speaking classroom was identity clarification, information sharing, self-expression/relief of distress, social validation, relationship development, and social control. Findings indicate that the relative salience of goals in the dyadic relationship setting was self-expression/relief of distress, identity clarification, information sharing, social validation, relationship development, and social control. The relative salience of most of these self-disclosure goals varied across settings (identity clarification, relationship development, social validation, social control, and self-expression/relief of distress). One goal, information sharing, did not differ between the settings. Two key findings show that participants reported a higher salience of relationship development and social validation goals for the dyadic relationship setting compared to the public speaking setting. Self-disclosure in dyadic relationships occurred at higher levels of intimacy than self-disclosure at the podium. Analyses in both settings showed no significant correlations between the salience of relationship development goals and the levels of intimacy.

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