Maintaining and restoring privacy through communication in different types of relationships

Judee K. Burgoon, Roxanne Parrott, Beth A. Le Poire, Douglas L. Kelley, Joseph B. Walther, Denise Perry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations


This investigation analysed the kinds of communicative acts that are considered privacy-invading, which communication strategies are used to restore privacy when it has been violated and how relationship type affects communication of privacy. A preliminary self-report survey and a pilot study employing open-ended interviews (n=43) led to the development of a questionnaire in which respondents (n=444) rated 39 possible actions on invasiveness and rated the likelihood of using 40 different tactics to restore privacy. Types of privacy violations formed five dimensions: (1) psychological and informational violations, (2) non-verbal interactional violations, (3) verbal interactional violations, (4) physical violations and (5) impersonal violations. Strategies used to restore privacy included: (1) interaction control, (2) dyadic intimacy, (3) negative arousal, (4) distancing, (5) blocking and (6) confrontation. Significant differences emerged across doctor-patient, employeremployee, teacher-student, parent-child, spouse-spouse and siblingsibling relationships.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-158
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Social and Personal Relationships
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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