Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Contemporary Family Therapy


Springer US

Publication Date



Extra-dyadic involvement (EDI) is a complex issue that affects many individuals, couples, and families. One important, relatively unexplored issue concerns the disclosure of EDI. Despite some scholarly discourse on whether disclosure should be facilitated in a therapeutic context (e.g., Butler et al. in J Marital Fam Ther 35:125–143, 2009; Butler et al. in Am J Fam Ther 36:265–283, 2008), empirical research has not studied the intrapersonal or interpersonal processes related to disclosure. In this study, we explored potential factors involved in the decision to disclose EDI by looking at the relationships among attitudes towards EDI (in terms of perceived justifications and costs), subjective norms (obligation to disclose), and perceived behavioral control (difficulty) associated with EDI disclosure. Our sample included 337 individuals enrolled in at least one university course at one of three geographically distinct universities. Findings indicate that more permissive attitudes towards EDI are not significantly associated to the perceived difficulty in disclosing EDI or the obligation associated with disclosing EDI involving sexual intercourse. However, more permissive attitudes are related to lower felt obligation to disclose EDI that does not involve direct sexual intercourse. Conversely, more restrictive attitudes towards EDI (perceived severity, degree of perceived upset, and how detrimental it is perceived to be to the relationship) predicted greater difficulty but also greater obligation in disclosing all forms of EDI. Specific implications of these findings, including potential implications for therapy, are discussed. Overall, this study provides preliminary information regarding potentially useful factors to consider in understanding the EDI disclosure process that may also be useful in developing intervention points in therapy.


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