Disclosing Invisible Disabilities to Romantic Partners: Understanding the Role of Timing

Elie Mimoun, Meni Koslowsky, Daniella Margalit, Amichai Ben Ari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examines the impact of “invisible” disability disclosure on romantic partner willingness to continue the relationship. A total of 494 college students without disabilities read a randomized scenario in which the subject of the evaluation was exposed to the current partner’s invisible disability. They then completed the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule to measure their affective responses following the disclosure. Finally, participants rated the main character of the scenario’s degree of willingness to continue the relationship. The disclosure of more stigmatized disabilities elicited greater negative affect in the partner, which, in turn, led to a decreased willingness to continue the relationship. Furthermore, the timing of disclosure moderated the association between the type of disability disclosed and the negative affect. Earlier disclosure resulted in lower negative affect among the partner to whom the disability was disclosed. This study contributes to a deeper understanding of the disclosure process in romantic relationships involving invisible disabilities and its consequences. Rehabilitation counselors could utilize these findings when addressing patients’ inquiries about appropriate methods and timing for disclosing invisible disabilities to others.

Original languageEnglish
JournalStigma and Health
StateAccepted/In press - 2024
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Psychological Association


  • invisible disabilities
  • relationships
  • self-disclosure
  • stigma
  • timing


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