Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Emotional Intimacy, Interpersonal process model of intimacy, masculinity, couples

Major Advisor

Shayne Anderson, PhD

Associate Advisor

Rachel Tambling, PhD

Associate Advisor

Marysol Asencio, PhD

Field of Study

Human Development and Family Studies


Doctor of Philosophy

Open Access

Open Access


A substantial amount of literature supports the interpersonal process model of intimacy (Reis & Shaver, 1988) as a valid depiction of emotionally intimate processes in couples. The conceptual version of this model includes an interchange of self-disclosure and empathetic responding as well as perceptual elements like the interpretive filter and the motives, needs, goals, and fears components. Building on the theoretical work of Reis and Shaver, subsequent authors have studied this work empirically. While both rigorous and informative, these studies collectively fail to consider how gender socialization impacts the embodiment of this model. Building on this limitation, this study explored the contributions of self-disclosure to emotional intimacy and the effects of traditional masculine gender ideology on this association. In doing this, the current research also explored the contributions of the perceptual elements of the model, which have been previously overlooked in studies. One hundred and twenty three heterosexual couples participated in this study. Participants responded to an online survey that included measures of self-disclosure, traditional masculine gender ideology, expectations of self-disclosure and emotional intimacy. Results showed that the effect of men’s gender traditionalism on women’s emotional intimacy happened by way of men’s restricted self-disclosure. Also, women’s expectations of their partner’s self-disclosure mediated the effect that men’s self-disclosure had on women’s emotional intimacy, which further underscored the importance of the interpretive filter. Finally, tests for moderation suffered from low power and were subsequently inconclusive. Suggestions for future research as well as implications for clinical work follow the discussion of these findings.