A Dutch study of nearly 800 boys and girls, ages 14 to19 was recently reported in the Journal of Adolescence. The teens reported to researchers if they had a private secret they never talked about, how long they had kept the secret to themselves, and how hard it was to keep or divulge the secret. Separately, the teens were evaluated for depressed moods, frequency of headaches, and feelings of loneliness. The study found that teens who share their secret to parents or friends have fewer headaches and depressed moods, and are more confident in social situations.
In looking at the girls studied, 82% shared secrets, while 54% of the boys said they had shared a confidence with someone else. While confidants included parents, teachers, neighbors and parents of friends, two-thirds of shared secrets were told to best friends.
The study found that those teens who kept secrets to themselves were more prone to physical complaints, low moods, rule-breaking behaviors and poor-quality relationships. Researchers believe the findings indicate that sharing secrets is a vital skill in creating and sustaining close personal relationships. They also suggest that because girls share their secrets more than boys, they may receive more of the benefits that sharing can provide…. wsj.com 2/7/13