Disclosing an Invisible Disability During a Romantic Relationship: Schizophrenia and Epilepsy

Elie Mimoun, Daniella Margalit

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study aims to examine the effect of disclosing an invisible disability on the partner’s willingness to continue a relationship, as a function of the type of disability disclosed, the timing of its disclosure, gender, and the negative affects the disclosure aroused. A total of 311 college students without disabilities read a randomized scenario in which the subject of the evaluation was exposed to the partner’s invisible disability, and then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule to measure the subject of evaluation's affects following the disclosure. Finally, participants rated the subject of evaluation’s degree of willingness to continue the relationship. The associations among variables were analyzed using a “moderated moderated” mediation model in an SPSS macro named PROCESS. Differences in negative affect as a function of gender were observed, such that women reported higher negative affect than men. The negative affects aroused by the disclosure mediated the relationship between the type of invisible disability disclosed and the partner’s willingness to continue the relationship. Among women, only the timing of the disclosure was a moderator in the association between the type of disability, negative affect, and willingness to continue the relationship. Our findings provide evidence expanding our understanding of how self-disclosure may impact the formation of romantic relationships among people with disabilities. Results also highlight the need to empower individuals with disabilities and support their natural need to establish intimate relationships, leading the way for social inclusion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-80
Number of pages18
JournalSexuality and Disability
Volume41
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

Keywords

  • Gender differences
  • Invisible disability
  • Israel
  • Relationship
  • Self-disclosure
  • Stigma
  • Timing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation

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