Journal article

The benefits and burdens of keeping others' secrets

Michael L Slepian, Katharine H Greenaway

Journal of Experimental Social Psychology | ACADEMIC PRESS INC ELSEVIER SCIENCE | Published : 2018

Abstract

Prior research on secrecy has examined the effects of keeping one's own secrets, but people keep others’ secrets too. The present work presents the first examination of the experience of keeping others’ secrets. Three studies (one correlational, two experimental) with more than 600 participants holding more than 10,000 secrets demonstrate that being confided in brings relational benefits, but is also a burden. The closer one is to the confider, the more one's mind wanders toward the secret, predicting increased feelings of intimacy, but also burden. The more a secret has overlap with one's own social network, the more one conceals the secret on the other's behalf, predicting increased feelin..

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