The Relationship Disclosure Scale (RDS)


Author of Tool: 

Snell, W. E., Jr., Hampton, B. R., & McManus, P.

Key references: 

Snell, W. E., Jr., Hampton, B. R., & McManus, P. (1992).  The impact of counselor and participant gender on willingness to discuss relational topics:  Development of the Relational Disclosure Scale. Journal of Counseling and Development, 70, 409-416.

Primary use / Purpose: 

Measures people’s willingness to disclose personal information about their intimate relationships to counselors.


Use of the Relationship Disclosure Scale (RDS) found that people’s willingness to disclose their intimate relationships to counselors depended on their own gender, the gender of the counselor, and the particular relationship topics assessed by the RDS. In addition, several personality variables associated with relational-esteem and relational-consciousness were found to be associated with women’s willingness to engage in relationship disclosure with male and female counselors. These findings underscore the impact of gender and personality on counseling disclosure tendencies.


Internal consistency analyses were conducted for the 25 subscales on the RDS. For female counselors, the alphas ranged from a low of .87 to a high of .97, with an average of .93. For male counselors, the alphas ranged from a low of .87 to a high of .97, with an average of .93. These reliability coefficients show that the 3 items written to measure each of the relationship topics were internally consistent. In addition to computing alpha coefficients, intercorrelations among these subscales were also computed. The subscales were all significantly positively related with one another, rs ranging from .34 to .93. This pattern of findings indicates that the participants’ willingness to discuss any one of the RDS topics was associated with their willingness to disclose information about the other relational topics on this instrument. Despite this association, we argue that the specific content of the 25 RDS subscales is conceptually distinct.



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