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Secrets refer to material that is intentionally withheld from others. Privacy is a related concept that also involves withholding information; however, the two are distinguished by relational norms. If the norms of a relationship state that information should be shared (e.g., discussing health concerns with a spouse) and a person elects not to share, the content is considered secret. Conversely, if there is no expectation of sharing (e.g., discussing health concerns with a coworker), and the individual elects not to share, the content would be private. Secrets are relevant to marriage, families, and counseling because they impact intrapersonal (within oneself) and interpersonal (between people) functioning. This entry addresses factors that influence secrecy in couple relationships, including personality, shame, attachment style, and relationship dynamics. The most ...

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