Self-Disclosure: Theories and Model Review

Mohan Masaviru


Self-disclosure is the act of revealing details about ourselves to others. The topics of disclosure range from superficial details to very private, sensitive and personal information. Self-disclosure develops human relationships. The study examined three theories and a model that focus on self-disclosure and development of human relationship. The theories are: Communication Privacy Management (CPM), Social Penetration Theory (SPT), Social Exchange Theory (SET) and the Johari Window Pane model. The study can conclude that all the three theories and the model converge on many aspects of explaining the development of human relationship. The most important factor in the development of human relationship is disclosure. Through self-disclosure, boundaries are permeated, costs and rewards are considered, information freely flows though the four panes (quadrants) and intimacy is developed as disclosers ‘peel off’ the superficial layers to the core personality. There is a possibility that a conceptual framework can be created by using variables in the three theories and the Johari Window pane model to explain the development of human relationship.


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