Disclosure Inconsistencies: The Impact of Behavioral, Attitudinal, and Environmental Inconsistencies on Identity Management Outcomes




Sabat, Isaac Emmanuel

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Individuals with concealable stigmas have to make complicated decisions regarding to whom, when, and where to disclose in order to maximize both psychological and social outcomes. Research has begun to examine the situations that are most likely to lead to beneficial outcomes, but findings remain inconsistent and tenuous. Thus, the purpose of the current study was to employ cognitive dissonance theory to this domain in order to propose and test a set of attitudinal, behavioral, and environmental moderators of these disclosure outcomes. Based on an archival dataset as well as a survey study across three time points, the findings suggest that disclosing at work relates to more beneficial intrapersonal and interpersonal workplace outcomes due to decreases in psychological dissonance when individuals 1) have high levels of identity centrality, 2) perceive high levels of objective workplace support, and 3) perceive low levels of subjective regional support. Interestingly, disclosing outside of work consistently related to positive outcomes except when individuals perceive high levels of subjective support. Workplace disclosures do not impact nonworkplace outcomes and nonworkplace disclosures do not impact workplace outcomes. Thus, psychological dissonance theories were partially supported in the context of identity management outcomes. I discuss the theoretical and practical implications of each of these findings.



Psychology, LGBTQ studies, Social psychology, Disclosure, LGBT, Psychological dissonance, Sexual orientation, Workplace