To Disclose or not to Disclose? An Examination of the Moderating Effects of Preventive Self-Disclosure of Tourette Syndrome on Social Acceptability

Shortt, Ari M.
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University of Guelph

Individuals with Tourette Syndrome (TS) experience a variety of social consequences, including social stigma and rejection, due to their “odd” ticcing behaviour. Research has shown that self-disclosure of a prior TS diagnosis mitigates the negative influence of social rejection associated with perception of tic behaviour on peers’ ratings of social acceptability. However, no studies have examined whether these positive effects of disclosure persist across the breadth of severity that characterizes tic symptomatology. In the present study, 346 participants rated the social acceptability of a male actor portraying tics in a short video segment that varied in a 2 participant sex (male, female) X 3 actor symptom severity (none, mild, severe) X 2 actor disclosure (present, absent) between-subjects design. Disclosure was shown to mitigate social rejection, however some differences were observed between males and females. In line with previous research, findings from the current study support self-disclosure of TS as a positive strategy to mitigate tic-related social rejection. Implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.

social acceptability, social acceptance, stigma, tic, tic severity, Tourette syndrome