Sharing your sexual orientation or health problems with co-workers can make you a happier person and would not affect your productivity at work, researchers suggest. According to findings, workers who expressed these non-visible stigmas experienced decreased job anxiety, role ambiguity, improved job satisfaction and increased commitment to their position.
In addition, these workers also reported decreased psychological stress and increased satisfaction with their lives.
Self-disclosure is typically a positive experience because it allows people to improve connections, form relationships with others and unclutter their minds of unwanted thoughts, said Eden King, Associate Professor from Rice University in the US.
But the same results did not apply to people with visible stigmas, such as race, gender and physical disability, revealed the study published in the Journal of Business and Psychology.
"Identities that are immediately observable operate differently than those that are concealable," King said.
"The same kinds of difficult decisions about whether or not to disclose the identity - not to mention the questions of to whom, how, when and where to disclose those identities -- are probably less central to their psychological experiences," she added.
King said because most people appreciate gaining new information about others, the expression of visible stigmas is likely to be less impactful.
"Also, people react negatively to those who express or call attention to stigmas that are clearly visible to others, such as race or gender, as this may be seen as a form of advocacy or heightened pride in one's identity," she said.
For the study, the team conducted a meta-analysis of 65 studies focusing on what happens after people in a workplace disclose a stigmatised identity, such as sexual orientation, mental illness, physical disability or pregnancy.
They hope the results will be used to help workplaces and policymakers protect individuals with stigmas from discrimination.
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