Self-disclosure in the everyday conversations of kindergarten-aged children

dc.contributor.advisor

Carol O. Eckerman, Supervisor

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Peterman, Karen, 1974

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2017-02-01T18:32:36Z

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2017-02-01T18:32:36Z

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2002

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Psychology

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This thesis was digitized as part of a project begun in 2014 to increase the number of Duke psychology theses available online. The digitization project was spearheaded by Ciara Healy.

dc.description.abstract

What function does self-disclosing conversation play in the conversations of young children? Two studies were conducted to investigate how 5 14 year old children self-disclose in their everyday conversations. Both studies video-recorded children’s self-disclosing conversations while they participated in an art activity. Study 1 investigated the effect of two conversational partner characteristics (age of partner and partner familiarity), and of the conversational context on children’s self-disclosing behavior. Children were paired with an unfamiliar adult, an unfamiliar peer, or a familiar peer play partner, and conversations were recorded in three interaction contexts. Self-disclosure was found to be a more frequent topic of conversation in a fairly barren conversational environment than during an art activity. In each context, however, children self-disclosed at least twice as often with an unfamiliar as with a familiar play partner. There was no difference in self-disclosing behavior for children paired with an unfamiliar adult or an unfamiliar peer. Study 2 was designed to investigate a possible function for increased self-disclosing with an unfamiliar partner: that children use self-disclosure in early conversations with unfamiliar partners to gauge the desirability of future interaction. It was hypothesized that children would evaluate unfamiliar partners who did not participate in self-disclosure less favorably than children paired with a self-disclosing partner. A methodology was designed to allow children to think they were talking to another child when they were actually speaking with a researcher trained to talk like a five-year-old. Children were randomly paired with a play partner who either reciprocated or did not reciprocate self-disclosing conversation, and behavioral and evaluative] reactions were measured. Results indicated that children paired with a non-reciprocating partner became less persistent in their self-disclosing initiations over time. Children paired with a reciprocating partner self-disclosed at similar levels throughout the interaction. Evaluative differences were also found. Children paired with a non-reciprocating partner rated the unfamiliar peer significantly lower than children paired with a partner who reciprocated self-disclosure. Based on these findings, it was concluded that young children are differentially sensitive to the self-disclosing behavior of unfamiliar conversation partners, and that they use participation in self-disclosure as a gauge for establishing initial connections with unfamiliar partners.

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Digitized dissertation

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https://hdl.handle.net/10161/13585

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English

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http://search.library.duke.edu/search?id=DUKE003119501

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Self-disclosure in children

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Conversation - Psychological aspects

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dc.title

Self-disclosure in the everyday conversations of kindergarten-aged children

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Dissertation

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