Secrets and Subjective Well-Being: A Clinical Oxymoron



In this chapter secrecy as a research theme will be introduced. Although secrets potentially concern us all, it is still not a mainstream topic of research. First we focus on how secrecy is defined, followed by a discussion on what people keep secret and the reason to keep secrets. Then research on the inter- and intrapersonal consequences of secrecy is discussed, with an emphasis on the negative effects for subjective well-being (SWB). It will be shown that the effects of secrecy on SWB critically depend on what facet of secrecy one is studying. It will become clear that secrecy is a multifaceted phenomenon, requiring a multidisciplinary research approach. It is concluded that research on secrecy is highly important because of the associated negative consequences for well-being, but that several important issues about secrecy are still unresolved. Future research themes are suggested.


Mood State Social Threat Mood Regulation Social Disapproval Objective Health Status 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer New York 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Developmental, Clinical, and Cross-Cultural PsychologyTilburg UniversityTilburgNetherlands

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