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Self-Disclosure - Gender Differences

theory women rules tend personal

Framed within the privacy management theory, an abundance of research has shown that men and women use different criteria for deciding to open or close their boundaries. Consequently, they tend to depend on different rules to reveal or conceal. The outcome of these rules is that women more than men tend to disclose overall (though there are situations where the reverse is also true). Women more than men also tend to talk about intimate or personal topics with each other. In addition, women prefer disclosing to same-sex friends while men prefer to disclose while engaging in some activity (Caldwell and Peplau 1982; Dindia and Allen 1992).

Men have a greater need to control their privacy (Petronio, Martin, and Littlefield 1984; Rosenfeld 1979). Men also report expecting greater negative ramifications when disclosing about life expectations (Petronio and Martin 1986). Men and women who enter into a marital relationship often have to change their personal rules to coordinate with their partners. Thus, although they still maintain the same rules around private information that is personal, once information becomes shared and defined as belonging to the couple collectively, new mutually held rules must be determined. If the couple is not able to agree on ways to mutually manage their shared boundary, conflict might erupt.

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