AuthorNewell, Patricia Brierley.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractTwo hundred and forty-three young adults responded to an open and non-directive question asking them to describe an occasion when they required privacy, defined here as a condition of separation from the public domain, which is voluntary and temporary, and into which other persons, including the state, as representative of the public domain, do not justifiably intrude. A subsequent questionnaire established SES variables and the average frequency and duration of privacy experiences. 72.4% associated a desire for privacy with social antecedent conditions, 16% for task oriented purposes, 9.5% because of some organismic reason and 2.1% indicated aversive conditions of the physical environment such as noise. Results showed that 82% of all subjects required privacy due to adverse circumstances. A fairly large proportion, especially among females and minorities, were not able to achieve privacy although they required it. For the most part this was because they took no action. Although there were significant sex and race differences found for the process of acquiring privacy, there was marked similarity in the places and behaviours employed during privacy. There was one exception. Females mentioned safe places significantly more than males. Satisfactorily achieving privacy was associated with positive action in the case of 76 subjects, with psychological withdrawal by 17 subjects, with avoidance actions by 8 subjects and by no action by 7 subjects. Since 199 of the 243 subjects indicated initial negative affect and the majority of those achieving privacy indicated positive results, such as feeling better, more relaxed and confident and being ready to face the world again, it was felt that the results supported a systems model of privacy which fulfills a cross-cultural therapeutic function. From the systems perspective privacy is seen as fulfilling two functions; systems maintenance and systems development. Systems maintenance refers to the balancing act performed by the human body to remain within healthy operating limits. Systems development refers to the general tendency of mankind to extend boundaries, learn new skills, and progress towards self-actualisation. Results support a definition of privacy that reflects an interactive Person-Environment condition.