Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Second Department

French Studies

Reader 1

Professor France Lemoine

Reader 2

Professor Stacey Wood

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Social connectedness is one factor which has been found to decrease levels of anxiety, supporting the benefits of close relationships (Lee & Robbins, 1995, 1998). Most close relationships involve some level of emotional communication, in some form of expression of feelings or desires. Research has shown a relationship between disclosure and a decrease of symptoms of anxiety (Pennebaker & O’Heeron, 1984; Brown & Heimberg, 2001). However, these studies have not considered the impact of cultural norms on this relationship.

France and the United States have very different societal norms: The United States is said to be a “peach” society in which people are very friendly to strangers initially but close themselves off eventually; France is said to be a “coconut” society in which people seem cold and rigid to strangers but are very warm and caring with close friends (Lebowitz, 2017; Meyer, 2017a, 2017b). Additionally, these two countries define what a friend is in very different ways. Americans have few words to distinguish different types of friends, whereas the French have many. It is thought that these differences will be reflected in the ways which disclosures impacts levels of anxiety across the two cultures.

This study aims to understand differences in the impact of disclosure in two cultures with very different emotional expression norms. Anxiety of both the participant and the listener will be measured before and after participants are randomly assigned to disclose to either a close-friend or lab assistant condition. Hypotheses, predicted results, and implications will be discussed.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.