Living Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences

pp 1-4

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Need for Privacy

  • Sabine TrepteAffiliated withDepartment of Media Psychology, University of Hohenheim Email author 
  • , Philipp K. MasurAffiliated withDepartment of Media Psychology, University of Hohenheim


Desire to be left alone; Need for anonymity; Need for intimacy; Need for reserve; Need for solitude; Need for withdrawal


An individual’s need to selectively control the access of others to the individual = self with the aim of achieving a desired level of physical or psychological privacy – in other words, a form of solitude, intimacy, anonymity, or reserve.


People want privacy under many circumstances. In fact, when people say “I want my privacy” or claim “Privacy please!” the message behind these demands can have several meanings. In one situation, it could simply mean that the person wants to be left alone. Under other circumstances, however, an individual may want to emphasize that another person is not allowed to know about a certain type of information, or the individual may want to prevent unwanted enquiries. From time to time, people seek physical or mental conditions under which they feel free from surveillance or interference by others, or they see ...

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