Date of Award


Publication Type

Doctoral Thesis

Degree Name




First Advisor

Porter, James,


Psychology, Clinical.




Psychotherapy research is aimed at discovering factors and mechanisms that influence therapy outcome to guide provision of effective treatment. One client factor that has received recent attention is self-concealment, which is a predisposition to actively conceal from others personal information that one perceives as distressing or negative (Larson & Chastain, 1990). Self-concealment has been studied in relation to attitudes toward therapy, willingness to seek therapy, and therapeutic progress. The findings, however, have been inconclusive and researchers have not studied self-concealment in relation to therapy outcome. The objective of the present study was to examine the relationship between self-concealment and distress and between change in these variables over the course of psychotherapy. The relationship between self-concealment, therapy duration and client demographics also was examined. Participants who attended outpatient psychotherapy at University of Windsor's Psychological Services Centre completed questionnaires at therapy intake and termination assessing self-concealment, global distress, depression, and state and trait anxiety. Correlation and multivariate regression analyses found that participants' self-concealment tendencies and levels of general distress, depression, and anxiety reduced from pre- to post-therapy. Although intake self-concealment was linked to intake distress, intake self-concealment was not found to be associated with termination distress, reduction in distress, premature termination from therapy, or therapist rating of client change. In contrast, reduction in self-concealment uniquely predicted reduction of all distress measures even after accounting for gender, intake distress and therapy duration. Post-hoc analyses revealed that self-concealment reduction also predicted a clinically significant reduction in global distress. This study's findings serve as a preliminary step in understanding the relationship between self-concealment, psychological distress, and psychotherapy outcome.Dept. of Psychology. Paper copy at Leddy Library: Theses & Major Papers - Basement, West Bldg. / Call Number: Thesis2003 .W55. Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 65-07, Section: B, page: 3734. Adviser: James Porter. Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Windsor (Canada), 2004.