Self-Disclosure and Perceived Responsiveness Among Youth With Asthma: Links to Affect and Anti-Inflammatory Gene Expression

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Personality and social psychology bulletin


Self-disclosure and perceived responsiveness are important building blocks of social relationships that have long-lasting consequences for health and well-being. However, the conditions under which self-disclosure and responsiveness are likely to benefit health, and how early in life these benefits arise, remain unclear. Among 141 youth (aged 10-17) with asthma, we investigated how average daily levels of self-disclosure and responsiveness are linked to positive and negative affect and the expression of the glucocorticoid receptor gene NR3C1, a marker of improved regulation of stress physiology and immune functioning. Higher levels of self-disclosure were associated with higher NR3C1 expression and positive affect only when perceptions of responsiveness were high. Furthermore, perceived responsiveness was linked to NR3C1 expression for females but not males. These results suggest that the potential benefits of self-disclosure depend on the extent to which interaction partners are perceived as responsive and that these benefits emerge prior to adulthood.

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ePub ahead of print