Longitudinal associations between keeping a secret and psychosocial adjustment in adolescence

T. Frijns, C. Finkenauer

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    Abstract

    Increasing bodies of evidence suggest that keeping secrets may be detrimental to well-being and adjustment, whereas confiding secrets may alleviate the detriments of secrecy and benefit well-being and adjustment. However, few studies have addressed the consequences of keeping and confiding secrets simultaneously, and even fewer have done so longitudinally. This article reports on a two-wave longitudinal survey study among 278 adolescents (aged 13-18 years) that examined the associations of keeping and confiding a specific secret with psychosocial adjustment. Results confirmed a hypothesized longitudinal contribution of keeping a secret all to oneself to psychosocial problems, including depressive mood, low self-concept clarity, low self-control, loneliness, and poor relationship quality. Furthermore, confiding versus continuing to keep a secret all to oneself was associated with decreased psychosocial problems after six months, whereas starting to keep a secret versus not doing so was associated with increased psychosocial problems. These results suggest that the keeping or confiding of secrets may affect adolescents' psychosocial well-being and adjustment. © 2008 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)145-154
    JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
    Volume33
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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    Social Adjustment
    adolescence
    well-being
    adolescent
    Longitudinal Studies
    secrecy
    self-control
    self-concept
    mood
    Loneliness
    Confidentiality
    Child Welfare
    Self Concept
    evidence

    Cite this

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    title = "Longitudinal associations between keeping a secret and psychosocial adjustment in adolescence",
    abstract = "Increasing bodies of evidence suggest that keeping secrets may be detrimental to well-being and adjustment, whereas confiding secrets may alleviate the detriments of secrecy and benefit well-being and adjustment. However, few studies have addressed the consequences of keeping and confiding secrets simultaneously, and even fewer have done so longitudinally. This article reports on a two-wave longitudinal survey study among 278 adolescents (aged 13-18 years) that examined the associations of keeping and confiding a specific secret with psychosocial adjustment. Results confirmed a hypothesized longitudinal contribution of keeping a secret all to oneself to psychosocial problems, including depressive mood, low self-concept clarity, low self-control, loneliness, and poor relationship quality. Furthermore, confiding versus continuing to keep a secret all to oneself was associated with decreased psychosocial problems after six months, whereas starting to keep a secret versus not doing so was associated with increased psychosocial problems. These results suggest that the keeping or confiding of secrets may affect adolescents' psychosocial well-being and adjustment. {\circledC} 2008 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.",
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    Longitudinal associations between keeping a secret and psychosocial adjustment in adolescence. / Frijns, T.; Finkenauer, C.

    In: International Journal of Behavioral Development, Vol. 33, 2009, p. 145-154.

    Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    AU - Frijns, T.

    AU - Finkenauer, C.

    PY - 2009

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    AB - Increasing bodies of evidence suggest that keeping secrets may be detrimental to well-being and adjustment, whereas confiding secrets may alleviate the detriments of secrecy and benefit well-being and adjustment. However, few studies have addressed the consequences of keeping and confiding secrets simultaneously, and even fewer have done so longitudinally. This article reports on a two-wave longitudinal survey study among 278 adolescents (aged 13-18 years) that examined the associations of keeping and confiding a specific secret with psychosocial adjustment. Results confirmed a hypothesized longitudinal contribution of keeping a secret all to oneself to psychosocial problems, including depressive mood, low self-concept clarity, low self-control, loneliness, and poor relationship quality. Furthermore, confiding versus continuing to keep a secret all to oneself was associated with decreased psychosocial problems after six months, whereas starting to keep a secret versus not doing so was associated with increased psychosocial problems. These results suggest that the keeping or confiding of secrets may affect adolescents' psychosocial well-being and adjustment. © 2008 The International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development.

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