Het grootste deel van mijn onderzoek richt zich op de psychologie van het hebben van geheimen. Waarom hebben we geheimen? Hoe houden we iets geheim? Wat doet het met je wanneer je een groot geheim met je mee draagt? Op dit onderwerp ben ik in 2008 gepromoveerd (op het proefschrift Self-concealment and secrecy: Assessment and associations with subjective well-being) en het merendeel van mijn publicaties na die tijd richten zich op dit thema. Zo onderzochten mijn collega’s en ik welke emotionele regulatiestrategieen gebruikt worden door mensen die een sterke neiging om geheimen te hebben. Ook hebben we een vragenlijst ontwikkeld, de Tilburg Secrecy Scale, om met één instrument de belangrijkste processen rondom iemands geheimen in kaart te brengen. Daarnaast keken we onder andere naar het effect op angst, depressie en kwaliteit van leven, onder ander onder studenten, ouderen en zelfs HIV-patïenten die voor hun omgeving hun hiv-besmetting geheim hielden.

Mijn onderzoek is hoofdzakelijk persoonlijkheidspsychologisch van aard: zo publiceert McGraw-Hill in het voorjaar 2013 het nieuwe boek Personality Psychology dat ik samen met Randy Larsen en David Buss heb geschreven en de belangrijkste moderne inzichten over de menselijke persoonlijkheid samenvat en uitlegt.

Daarnaast speelt mijn werk zich af op het kruispunt van de sociale en de evolutionaire psychologie. De onderwerpen waar ik mij mee bezig houd zijn dan ook erg divers. Ik heb bijvoorbeeld onderzoek gedaan naar de emotionele regulatiestrategieen van geheimhouders, de effecten van geheimen op welzijn, het persoonlijkheidsprofiel van lifeguards en bodyguards van beroepspolitici, de validiteit en psychometrische integriteit van persoonlijkheidsvragenlijsten en de effecten van cognitieve afleiding op pijnbestrijding bij brandwondpatienten.

Hieronder zijn mijn publicaties in chronologische volgorde weergegeven. Klik op het pdf-icoon ernaast (waar van toepassing) voor de full-text weergave.


Lehmann, V., Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Van Assen, M. A. L. M. Self-concealment and positive serostatus disclosure in HIV patients. Under review.


Wismeijer, A. A. J., Van Assen, M. A. L. M., & Bekker, M. H. J.  (in press). The relations between Secrecy, Rejection Sensitivity, and Autonomy-Connectedness. Journal of General Psychology.

The aim of this study was to examine the effects of two attachment-related variables on secrecy: rejection sensitivity and autonomy-connectedness. We hypothesized that rejection sensitivity is positively associated with secrecy, and autonomy-connectedness negatively with rejection sensitivity and secrecy. These hypotheses were generally corroborated in a sample of 303 university students. Moreover, we found that autonomy-connectedness at least partly explained the association between rejection sensitivity and secrecy. Self-awareness was negatively related to secrecy, suggesting that being aware of what one needs and thinks and being able to realize one’s needs in social interactions reduce the tendency to keep secrets. In addition, interesting gender effects were found suggesting that men have a higher tendency to have secrets than women after controlling for the effects of autonomy-connectedness and rejection sensitivity. Our findings deepen the insight into possible reasons behind established associations between rejection sensitivity and secrecy, and may have clinical implications.


Wismeijer, A. A. J.(2013). Wanneer transparantie zilver is, wordt zwijgen goud. In: Mark Geels & Tim van Opijnen (red.), Nederland in Ideeën (pp. 265-269). Amsterdam: Maven Publishing.

Mede door de globalisatie en de financiële crisis die door frauduleuze handelingen van enkele winstgedreven bankiers is veroorzaakt, lijken ouderwetse deugden als openheid, eerlijkheid en transparantie in het publieke domein weer van nieuw elan voorzien te zijn. De vraag is echter, hebben wij wel behoefte aan werkelijke transparantie? Hebben geheimen en bewust informatie achterhouden afgedaan? Lang hebben velen (zowel leken als psychologen) de stellige overtuiging gehad dat het hebben van geheimen slecht is voor onze psychische en zelfs lichamelijke gezondheid. (…). Eerlijkheid en openheid moesten dan ook zo veel mogelijk worden nagestreefd, en het hebben van geheimen zou moeten worden vermeden. Dit idee vond brede acceptatie, en leidde onder andere tot de idee dat psychotherapie alleen baat kon hebben wanneer de cliënt volledige openheid van zaken zou geven. Alles dat de cliënt zou achterhouden zou een werkelijk herstel in de weg staan. Met andere woorden, transparantie is goed, geheimhouding is fout. Een intuïtief invoelbaar idee. Echter, het blijkt niet te kloppen…


Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Van Assen, M. A. L. M. (2013). Psychological Characteristics of BDSM practitioners. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10, 1943-1952.

It has been generally thought that the practice of BDSM is in some form associated with psychopathology. However, several more recent studies suggest a relative good psychological health of BDSM practitioners. The aim of this study was comparing scores of BDSM practitioners and a control group on various fundamental psychological characteristics. For this aim, 902 BDSM and 434 participants completely filled out online questionnaires measuring the Big Five personality dimensions, attachment styles, rejection sensitivity, and subjective well-being. Associations were examined using c2-tests of independence with φ and Cramer’s V as effect size measures and eta or Pearson’s correlation. Group differences were tested using ANCOVA, with partial η2 as effect size measure. A priori contrasts were tested using α = .01 to correct for multiple testing, for all other tests we used α = .05, two-tailed. The results mostly suggest favorable psychological characteristics of BDSM practitioners compared to the control group; BDSM practitioners were less neurotic, more extraverted, more open to new experiences, more conscientious, less rejection sensitive, had higher subjective well-being, yet were less agreeable. Comparing the four groups, if differences were observed, BDSM scores were generally more favorably for those with a dominant than a submissive role, with least favorable scores for controls. We conclude that BDSM may be thought of as a recreational leisure, rather than the expression of psychopathological processes.


 

 

 

 

Using a unique organizational framework that emphasizes six domains of knowledge about human nature, Personality Psychology presents an accessible, contemporary look at personality as a collection of interrelated topics and themes. The book focuses on the scientific basis of our knowledge about human nature, supported by research and theory.


 

 

 

 

Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2011). Self-concealment and secrecy: Assessment and associations with subjective well-being. Saarbrücken: LAP Lambert Academic Publishing.


 

Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Bots, M. (2009). Geheimen. De psychologie van wat we niet vertellen. Amsterdam: Nieuw Amsterdam Uitgevers.

Aan de hand van interviews van journaliste Mirre Bots en diverse wetenschappelijke onderzoeken geeft Wismeijer (psycholoog en onderzoeker/docent Universiteit van Tilburg) een inkijk in de psychologie van datgene wat we niet vertellen.


Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2012). Dimensionality Analysis of the Thought Suppression Inventory: Combining EFA, MSA, and CFA. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 34, 116-125.

The Thought Suppression Inventory (TSI; Rassin, 2003) was designed to measure thought intrusion, thought suppression and successful thought suppression. Given the importance to distinguish between these three aspects of thought control, the aim if this study was to scrutinize the dimensionality of the TSI. In a sample of 333 Dutch senior citizins, we examined (1) the dimensionality of the TSI using various procedures such as PAF, Mokken scale analysis (MSA) and CFA, and (2) the scale properties of the TSI. PAF favored a two factor solution, however, MSA and CFA suggested that three dimensions most adequately capture the structure of the TSI. Although all scales obtained at least medium scalability coefficients, several items were identified that are psychometrically unsound and may benefit from rewording or replacement. The findings suggest that the TSI is a three-dimensional questionnaire as originally proposed by Rassin (2003) measuring though intrusion, thought suppression, and successful thought suppression.



Kool, M. B., van de Schoot, R., López-Chicheri García, I., Mewes, R., Da Silva, J. A. P., Vangronsveld, K., Wismeijer, A. A. J., Lumley, M. A., Van Middendorp, H., Bijlsma, J. W. J., Crombez, G., Rief, W.3, & Geenen, R. (2013). Measurement Invariance of the Illness Invalidation Inventory (3*I) across languages, rheumatic diseases, and gender. Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases, in press.

The Illness Invalidation Inventory (3*I) assesses patients’ perception of responses of others that are perceived as denying, lecturing, not supporting and not acknowledging the condition of the patient. It includes two factors: ‘discounting’ and ‘lack of understanding’. In order to use the 3*I to compare and pool scores across groups and countries, the questionnaire must have measurement invariance; that is, it should measure identical concepts with the same factor structure across groups. The aim of this study was to examine measurement invariance of the 3*I across rheumatic diseases, gender and languages. Participants with rheumatic disease from various countries completed an online study using the 3*I, which was presented in Dutch, English, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish; 6057 people with rheumatic diseases participated. Single and multiple group confirmatory factor analyses were used to test the factorial structure and measurement invariance of the 3*I with Mplus. The model with strong measurement invariance, that is, equal factor loadings and thresholds (distribution cut-points) across gender and rheumatic disease (fibromyalgia vs other rheumatic diseases) had the best fit estimates for the Dutch version, and good fit estimates across the six language versions. We conclude that the 3*I showed measurement invariance across gender, rheumatic disease and language. Therefore, it is appropriate to compare and pool scores of the 3*I across groups. Future research may use the questionnaire to examine antecedents and consequences of invalidation as well as the effect of treatments targeting invalidation.


 


Maas, J., Wismeijer, A. A. J., van Assen, M. A. L. M., & Aquarius, A. E. A. M. (2011). Is it bad to have secrets? The toxic role of cognitive preoccupation in the association of secrecy with well-being. International Journal of Clinical and Health Psychology, 12, 23-37.

This study examined the effect of secrecy on well-being in a sample of 287 HIV-positive individuals, using both self-report data and objective immune parameters. The effects on well-being of three components of secrecy were studied; self-concealment, possession of a secret, and cognitive preoccupation. Confirming our hypotheses, we found a positive effect of possession of a secret on quality of life, depression and anxiety, but only after controlling for both self-concealment and cognitive preoccupation. The effects of self-concealment and cognitive preoccupation on well-being were negative. Since cognitive preoccupation partly mediated the effect of self-concealment on well-being, we concluded that cognitive preoccupation is a toxic element of secrecy. Our results imply that HIV-positive individuals that keep their serostatus secret are not per se at risk to directly experience negative effects of concealing their serostatus, as long as they do not have a disposition to conceal personal information and do not ruminate about their secret(s).


Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2011). Self-concealers: do they conceal what we always assumed they do? Personality and Individual Differences, 51, 1039-1043.


Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2011). Secrets and subjective well-being: A clinical oxymoron? In I. Nyklíček, A. Vingerhoets, & M. Zeelenberg (eds.), Emotion regulation and well-being (307-325). New York: Springer.


Wismeijer, A. A. J., Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., & de Vries, J. (2010). Quality of Life-related concepts: Theoretical and Practical issues. In V. R. Preedy & R. R. Watson (Eds.), Handbook of Disease Burdens and Quality of Life Measures (pp. 1754-1766). Heidelberg: Springer.


Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M., & Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2010). Emoties in de geneeskunde [Emotions in Medicine]. In A. Kaptein, J. prins, E. Colette, & R. Hulsman (Eds.), Medische Psychologie (pp. 69-77). Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum. (In Dutch)


Wismeijer, A. A. J., van Assen, M. A. L. M., Sijtsma, K., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (2009). Is the negative association between self-concealment and subjective well-being mediated by mood awareness? Journal of Clinical and Social Psychology, 28, 728-748.


Maas, J., van Dam, A., & Wismeijer, A. (2009). Het effect van actieve coping in protocollaire behandeling [The effect of active coping in protocolar treatment]. Directieve Therapie, 29, 127-138. (in Dutch).


Gomà-i-Freixanet, M., Muro, A., Puntí, J., Grande, I., Albiol, S., & Wismeijer, A. A. J. (2008). Disseny del portafolis per a incrementar la motivació acadèmica i convergir  amb l’EEES. [Portfolio design to enhance academic motivation and converge with the EEES] In M. Martínez & E. Añaños (Eds.), Cap  a l’espai europeu d’educació superior (EEES): Experiències docents innovadores de la UAB en ciències experimentals i tecnologies i en ciències de la salut (pp. 223-233). Barcelona: Servei de Publicacions. (In Catalan).


Wismeijer, A. A. J., Sijtsma, K., van Assen, M. A. L. M., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (2008). A Comparative Study of the Dimensionality of the Self-Concealment Scale Using Principal Components Analysis and Mokken Scale Analysis. Journal of Personality Assessment, 90, 323-334.


Wismeijer, A. A. J., & van Assen, M. A. L. M. (2008). Do Neuroticism and Extraversion explain the negative effect of Self-concealment on subjective well-being? Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, 45, 345-349.



Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (2007). De emotionele belasting van geheimen [The emotional burden of secrets]. Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie, 49, 383-389. (In Dutch).


Gomà-i-Freixanet, M., Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Valero, S. (2005). Consensual Validity Parameters of the Zuckerman-Kuhlman Personality Questionnaire: Evidence from Self-reports and Spouse Reports. Journal of Personality Assessment, 84, 279-286.


Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (2005). The Use of Virtual Reality and Audiovisual Eyeglass Systems as Adjunct Analgesic Techniques: A Review of the Literature. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 30, 268-278.


Wismeijer, A. A. J., & Vingerhoets, A. J. J. M. (2004). Virtuele Realiteit en Audiovisuele Afleiding als Methoden van Pijnbestrijding bij Medische Procedures: Mogelijkheden en Beperkingen [Virtual Reality and Audiovisual Distraction as Methods of Pain Reduction during Medical Procedures: Possibilities and Limitations]. Gedrag & Gezondheid, 32, 311-325. (In Dutch).


Gomà-i-Freixanet, M., & Wismeijer, A.A.J. (2002). Applying personality theory to a group of police bodyguards: A physically risky prosocial prototype. Psicothema, 14 (2), 387-392.