Date of Award


Degree Name

Communication Studies


College of Liberal Arts

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Susan Gilpin

Second Advisor

Robert Bookwalter

Third Advisor

Edward Woods


This research examined the strategies used for secret disclosure with Berger’s Planning Theory’s (1997) hierarchy principle, which orders plans according to complexity. Afifi and Steuber’s (2009) Strategies for Sharing Secrets Scale categorizes secret disclosure strategies that vary in complexity. Based on Planning Theory’s hierarchy principle, it was hypothesized that when a plan to disclose a secret is thwarted, individuals will move from a less complex disclosure strategy to a more complex disclosure strategy. Findings revealed correlations between strategy complexity and order of strategy choice were low; the null hypothesis was accepted.

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