Effects of Ethnic Match, Gender Match, Acculturation, Cultural Identity, and Face Concern on Self-Disclosure in Counseling for Asian Americans

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Client self-disclosure is a fundamental and critical process that must occur if counseling is to be successful. This study determined whether ethnic match and gender match affected various aspects of self-disclosure (disclosure of personal values/feelings, private habits, close relationships, and sexual issues) among Asian Americans in a counseling analogue situation. The study also examined whether individual differences in acculturation, cultural identity, and face concern were related to these four types of self-disclosure. Participants first completed the individual difference measures and then listened to an audio recording of a counselor describing himself/herself and what counseling entailed. Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 4 experimental conditions in which they were either matched or not matched on gender and either matched or not matched on their specific Asian ethnicity (e.g., Chinese female listening to a Chinese male counselor constituted the gender mismatch and ethnic match condition). Gender match between participants and counselors facilitated self-disclosure about one's sex life. There were no ethnic match effects on the various types of self-disclosure. Face concern was a negative predictor of the self-disclosure of private habits, sex life, close relationships, and personal values/feelings. Implications for counseling clients from shame-based cultures are discussed.

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