Embodiment of concealable stigma disclosure through dynamics of movement and language

Hannah M. Douglas*, Stacie Furst-Holloway, Stephanie R. Chaudoir, Michael J. Richardson, Rachel W. Kallen

*Corresponding author for this work

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A concealable stigmatised identity (CSI) is any identity that can be hidden but, if revealed, can be potentially socially devaluing (e.g., sexual minority). Those living with a CSI have opportunities to disclose their identities to friends and family members or within professional contexts. According to the disclosure processes model, people adopt either approach-oriented or avoidance-oriented goals when self disclosing. The current study sought to identify how antecedent goals and relationship context are embodied in the dynamics of unintentional behaviours during disclosure. Participants simulated a disclosure event to both close other and professional other targets and were primed with either approach or avoidance-motivations. Postural activity and language were analysed using detrended fluctuation analysis and recurrence quantification analysis. Results revealed that the movement dynamics of participants who were motivated by approach goals exhibited more complex and flexible behaviour compared to those who were motivated by avoidance goals. In addition, there was more recurrent word use towards close others compared to professional others. These results support the supposition of the disclosure processes model that approach-avoidance motivation impacts behaviour and sheds light on the functional differences between relationship contexts on a CSI disclosure experience.

Original languageEnglish
Article number233
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalHumanities and Social Sciences Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jul 2022

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