Sexual Self-Disclosure Scale

Sexual Self-Disclosure Scale

EDWARD S. HEROLD1 AND LESLIE WAY, University of Guelph

Although there has been considerable research about self- disclosure, there has been little research regarding disclosure of sexual topics. In particular, researchers have not differentiated disclosure about specific sexual topics. This differentiation is important because sexuality covers a wide range of attitudinal and behavioral areas.

Our first objective was to construct a scale consisting of sexual topics and to determine the extent of disclosure for each. The question of whether subjects vary in their disclosure to different target persons has been examined extensively. When disclosing information on sexual topics, adolescents and young adults prefer to disclose to friends and dating partner than to parents (Herold, 1984).

Our second objective was to analyze sexual self- disclosure separately for each of the target groups of mother, father, close friend of the same sex, and dating partner.

Description and Response Mode

The Sexual Self-Disclosure Scale (SSDS) was based on Jourard’s Self-Disclosure Questionnaire (Jourard, 1971). The SSDS differs from Jourard’s in three respects. The SSDS measures only sexual topics. The SSDS measures disclosure to the target groups of mother, father, close friend of the same sex, and dating partner. Unlike Jourard, we did not measure self-disclosure to a close friend of the opposite sex as we believed some people might have difficulty in distinguishing between close friend of the opposite sex and dating partner.

Timing and Scoring

The scale requires about 5 minutes for completion. Self- disclosure scores are obtained separately for each of the tar- get groups. Item scores for each target group are summed and mean scores are obtained.

Reliability and Validity

Data were obtained from 203 unmarried university females aged 18–22 (Herold & Way, 1988). The respective scale means and Cronbach alpha coefficients were: disclosure to mother (M = 13.2; alpha = .84); disclosure to father (M = 10.1; alpha = .71); disclosure to friend (M = 19.7; alpha = .89) and disclosure to dating partner (M = 21.9; alpha = .94. Validity for the scale is indicated by the fact that the mean scores are consistent with previous research which has found greater disclosure to friends and dating partner than to parents and the least amount of disclosure to father (Herold, 1984).

Other Information

There is no charge for use of the scale and no restriction in its use.

1Address correspondence to Edward S. Herold, Department of Family Studies, University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1, Canada; e-mail: [email protected]

Sexual Self-Disclosure Scale

You are to read each item in the next section of the questionnaire and then indicate the extent that you have talked about that item to each person (i.e., the extent to which you have made your attitudes and/or behaviours known to that person). Use the rating scale below to describe the extent that you have talked about each item.

The rating scale is:

  1. Have told the person nothing about this aspect of me.

  2. Have talked only in general terms about this item.

  3. Have talked in some detail about this item but have not fully discussed my own attitudes or behaviors.

  4. Have talked in complete detail about this item to the other person. He or she knows me fully in this respect.

    Choose one number in the row which corresponds to the amount of your disclosure. For example, if you have talked in general terms to your mother about your attitudes and/or behaviors regarding masturbation, you would place a 2 in column 6 of the computer card.

    Items: Disclosure to mother

    1. My personal views on sexual morality.

    No Disclosure

    1

    Only General Terms

    2

    Some Detail

    3

    Complete Detail

    4

    2. Premarital sexual intercourse.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    3. Oral sex.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    4. Masturbation.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5. My sexual thoughts or fantasies.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    6. Sexual techniques I find or would find pleasurable.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    7. Use of contraception.

    1

    2

    3

    4

    8. Sexual problems or difficulties I might have.

    1

    2

    3

    4

References

Herold, E. S. (1984). The sexual behavior of Canadian young people.

Markham, Ontario: Fitzhenry & Whiteside. Herold, E. S., & Way, L. (1988). Sexual self-disclosure among university women. The Journal of Sex Research, 24, 1–14.

Jourard, S. (1971). Self-disclosure: An experimental analysis of the trans- parent self. New York: Wiley.