What Is Self-Disclosure?

Self-disclosure is a form of interpersonal communication that helps the listener understand the speaker's unique thoughts, perspectives and identity, according to Oregon State University. Through voluntarily revealing information about the past or the present, self-disclosure can lead to increased transparency between two individuals.

Self-disclosure differs from self-description in that the type of information revealed is often much more private or sensitive. In the same vein, self-disclosure differs from a confession in that it is entirely voluntary and the user is never pressured to reveal personal information.

Any form of self-disclosure is intended to arouse some form of feedback from the listener. The type of feedback the storyteller receives is entirely dependent upon the type of information he or she chooses to reveal. Self-discourse is more effective when it deals with events of the present, rather than the past.

Successful self-disclosure can lead to greater levels of intimacy, diminished uncertainty and more reciprocation in a relationship. An individual who opts for a higher level of disclosure is far more likely to increase levels of satisfaction within the relationship. Research shows that Increased levels of negative self-disclosure are directly correlated with increased levels of intimacy in a relationship, but positive self-disclosure may not automatically increase with greater levels of intimacy.