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Nonverbal boundaries: An examination of the immediacy behaviors in explicit and implicit disclosures

Jack Eugene Sargent, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Research examining explicit and implicit disclosures have been at beat few and far between. While disclosures have been examined in many areas, including reciprocity, intimacy level, and sex, little consideration has been given to these two specific types of disclosures. While other studies have examined the nonverbal effects of privacy violations and privacy restoration, few if any studies have examined how nonverbal behaviors function in disclosures, specifically explicit and implicit disclosures and how they serve to create a coordinated boundary management. This study was designed to: (a) to determine what nonverbal immediacy behaviors are used in explicit and implicit disclosures, (b) to explore the immediacy behaviors used in receiving explicit and implicit disclosures, and (c) to develop Communication Boundary Management Theory through the examination of immediacy behaviors. The overarching question raised in this study was: What are the nonverbal behaviors used in the sending and receipt of explicit and implicit disclosures of romantically involved, heterosexual couples? ^ One hundred and ten students (fifty-five romantically involved couples) were asked to discuss with each other one or all of several topics provided by the researcher. Both partners reviewed a videotaped interaction of them disclosing and were asked to indicate beginning and ending points of their disclosures as well as type of disclosure. From the videotape, coders rated the nonverbal immediacy behaviors. Results found that in sending and receiving both explicit and implicit disclosures, the most prevalent behavior expressed by participants was maintaining a direct facial-orientation toward their partners. The least prevalent behaviors for both sexes included animated and frequent gesturing and head nodding. Despite, overall expressing more immediacy than men, women maintained a closed body position throughout the disclosures. Results of disclosive boundary coordination are also presented. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication

Recommended Citation

Sargent, Jack Eugene, "Nonverbal boundaries: An examination of the immediacy behaviors in explicit and implicit disclosures" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9967405.