Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2009

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Health and Sport Studies

First Advisor

Birrell, Susan

First Committee Member

Parratt, Catriona

Second Committee Member

Grant, Christine

Third Committee Member

Slatton, Yvonne

Fourth Committee Member

Lewin, Ellen


In this dissertation, I explore the ways in which theories and concepts of face-to-face interaction and disclosure management can be used to understand the construction of privacy on an intercollegiate sport team. The purpose of this research was to examine how team members talked to each other about themselves, and how they managed the personal information shared. Erving Goffman's model of social interaction and his concepts of "face" and "supportive work" frame the analyses of this study. Through semi-structured interviews and direct observations of the members of an NCAA Division III women's basketball team, I discovered the team's rules and the development of their communication norms, which were most salient during discussions involving the players' tattoos and two unanticipated team meetings. It was important to the players of this team that they were a close-knit group who got along well and supported each other. The players questioned the commitment level of a player who disrupted the team's closeness by breaking a rule or norm and refused to make amends for her discretion. My findings suggest that the team members negotiated how to demonstrate their commitment to the team and to each other by performing supportive and remedial work through disclosure during these two meetings. Even under those specific circumstances, a player maintained some amount of autonomy by controlling the depth of her personal information that she shared. Interestingly, the players did not indicate an experienced loss of control over their personal information after they shared it with other team members at the meetings due to the team's negotiation of information boundary management. Additionally, I found that the symmetry and reciprocity of disclosure differed between player-to-player and player-to-coach interactions.


Disclosure Management, Goffman, Personal Information, Privacy, Self-Disclosure


v, 132 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 127-132).


Copyright 2009 Nicole R Kotrba