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Scientific Studies on the Consequences of Secrets

The Bible has a lot to say about confession of sin and confessing our needs to one another. Harboring deep and painful secrets is damaging spiritually, emotionally, and physically. An article on Psychology Today highlights studies that have backed up the Bible's view.

  • A pioneering studies in the 1970's by the University of Texas at Austin found that: "people who had a traumatic sexual experience as a child or teen were more likely to have health problems as they got older, particularly if they had hidden the trauma from others."
  • A wealth of studies from the 1980's to today have led to the general conclusion that: "Secret keepers are more likely to suffer from headaches, nausea, and back pain than others, for instance, and more cases of hypertension, flu, and cancer occur among those hiding trauma."
  • Other research has uncovered more harmful effects: "Dale Larson, of Santa Clara University, did a meta-analysis and found that secretive people are more depressed, shame-prone, anxious, and sensitive to judgment, which makes them both tight-lipped and vulnerable to illness."
  • Denial, rationalizing and minimizing fears, pain, and addictions is common among those who keep secrets. Clinical psychologist Nando Pelusi writes, "Self-deception is just artful distraction from solving the problem. By not dealing with it, I can sweep it under the rug. That becomes a temporary way to feel better, but it's not lasting."

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