Disclosing Mental Illness During Dating: an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis of the Partners’ Experience

  • Carmit-Noa ShpigelmanEmail author
  • D. Roe
  • L. Konopny-Decleve
  • K. Eldan
Original Article


The relatively little research on disclosure of mental illness has mainly presented the perspective of the individual who copes with a mental illness. The aim of this study was to gain an understanding of the phenomenon of serious mental illness disclosure during dating from the perspective of the person to whom the information was disclosed. In-depth semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with five participants, and the transcripts were subjected to interpretative phenomenological analysis. The findings indicated that the participants who experienced late and partial disclosure had more negative reactions than those who experienced early and full disclosure. Disclosure of a mental illness within the context of dating relationship seems to have implications on the intimate partner and the relationship. The findings highlight the need to support dating couples where one of the partners copes with a mental illness. This support should be provided at an early stage of the relationship.


Mental illness Disclosure Dating Intimate relationship Well-being Interpretative phenomenological analysis 



We are very grateful to the individuals who volunteered and participated in our study.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed Consent

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national). Informed consent was obtained from all participants for being included in the study.

Ethical Approval

The study protocol was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Faculty of Social Welfare and Health Sciences, University of Haifa, Israel (reference number 091/14).


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Community Mental Health, Faculty of Social Welfare and Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Sociology and AnthropologyTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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