Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (BS)


Human Development and Family Science

First Advisor

Erin Boyd-Soisson


This study investigates the influence of instant message (IM) on self-disclosure, specifically "taboo" topics. College students (N = 162) currently in a romantic relationship were surveyed online using the program Survey Monkey. Participants were asked to rate their "comfort level" on a 7-point Likert scale regarding a list of "taboo" self-disclosure topics, generated by Baxter & Wilmot's (1985) study on "off-limit" topics in close relationships. Face-to-face (FtF) comfort levels were compared against those of IM. Results indicated that participants felt more comfortable discussing topics via FtF communication. Higher comfort levels also significantly correlated with greater levels of relationship satisfaction. Results are discussed in light of the current effects computer-mediated communication (CMC) may have on this generation of college students.


Approved for Honors in the Department of Human Development and Family Science, Messiah College, 2008.