Disclosure and anxiety: a test of the fever model

J Pers Soc Psychol. 1992 Dec;63(6):980-8. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.63.6.980.


According to the fever model of Disclosure, the relationship of Disclosure (utterances that reveal subjective information) to psychological distress is analogous to the relationship of fever to physical infection: Both are indicators of some underlying disturbance and part of a restorative process. High and moderate trait anxious university students (but not the low trait anxious students) used higher percentages of Disclosure when speaking about an anxiety-arousing topic than when speaking about a happy topic. With topic order counterbalanced, students tended to use more Disclosure during their 1st presentation than during their 2nd. These results support the fever model's suggestion that people tend to Disclose when they are distressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Arousal*
  • Attention
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personality Inventory
  • Self Disclosure*
  • Social Environment