"She's Not Gonna Judge You for What You're Saying": Understanding Factors Associated with Disclosure Between Black Youth and Non-parental Familial Adults

Rivens, Ariana, Psychology - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Hurd, Noelle, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia
Leath, Seanna, AS-Psychology, University of Virginia

The act of self-disclosure to another person is an important tool that helps one build relationships and solicit emotional support when distressed. During adolescence, Black youth contend with normative changes and increased exposure to risk. Fortunately, Black youth also have access to naturally occurring resources such as close relationships with non-parental adults in their families (Hurd & Zimmerman, 2010). Prior research has suggested that adolescent disclosure to peers and parents can be adaptive, but less is known about how this process occurs between Black youth and supportive non-parental adults within their families. The current qualitative study used semi-structured interview data from 24 dyads of Black youth and close non-parental familial adults to examine factors that may facilitate or deter intimate disclosure from adolescents to adults. Multi-step thematic analyses centered on identifying the content of youth disclosure and aspects of youth-adult interactions associated with the presence or absence of youth intimate disclosure. Findings revealed the following four associated factors with youth intimate disclosure: 1) setting the tone 2) showing substantive interest, 3) active and supportive engagement during youth disclosure, and 4) actions following disclosure. Taken together, these findings suggest that non-parental familial adults engaged in these supportive actions with intention, thoughtfulness, and a willingness to adapt to youths’ specific needs. Findings from this study extend previous literature on adolescent disclosure and intergenerational relationships in Black families. Implications for non-parental familial adults who are interested in supporting Black youth intimate disclosure are discussed.

MA (Master of Arts)
adolescence , self-disclosure, Black families , intergenerational relationships , Black youth, non-parental adults
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