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Publications [#355825] of Mark R. Leary

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Journal Articles

  1. Bedrov, A; Leary, MR (2021). What you don't know might hurt me: Keeping secrets in interpersonal relationships. Personal Relationships, 28(3), 495-520. [doi]
    (last updated on 2023/01/01)

    Despite being an inherently interpersonal phenomenon, secrecy has rarely been studied within specific relationships. This study examines how the secret-keeper's relationship with the target relates to concealment among undergraduates (n = 292) and MTurk workers (n = 249). Participants rated keeping a personal secret as more detrimental to well-being when it involved greater concealment difficulty, rumination, and negative affect. For MTurk workers, this burden was compounded when the information was directly relevant to the target. Across both samples, participants in higher quality relationships kept their secrets to avoid shame or relationship damage and perceived less distance from the target. These results demonstrate that the motivations for and consequences of keeping secrets vary with the specific relationships in which they are kept.

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