Associations between secret-keeping and quality of life in older adults

J. Maas*, A.A.J. Wismeijer, M.A.L.M. van Assen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
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This study examined the effects of secrecy on quality of life in a sample consisting of older adults (>50 years; N = 301). Three key components of secrecy were examined with the Tilburg Secrecy Scale-25 (TSS25; possession of a secret, self-concealment, and cognitive preoccupation). The TSS25 distinguishes between the tendency to conceal personal information (self-concealment) and the tendency to worry or ruminate about the secret (cognitive preoccupation), thereby enabling investigation of the effects of secrecy on quality of life in detail. Confirming previous findings in younger samples, we found a positive effect of possession of a secret on quality of life, after controlling for both TSS25’s self-concealment and cognitive preoccupation. This suggests that keeping secrets may have a positive association with quality of life in older adults as well, as long as they do not have the tendency to self-conceal and are not cognitively preoccupied with their secret.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-265
JournalInternational Journal of Aging & Human Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • cognitive preoccupation
  • older adults
  • quality of life
  • secrecy
  • self-concealment


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