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This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Communication Quarterly on March 1, 2017, available online:


Messengers are reluctant to reveal bad news, and this reluctance can hamper effective communication. With this investigation, we explore linkages among the topic of the news, messengers’ reasons for sharing, messenger concerns about sharing, the locus of the news, and whether these variables associate systematically with messenger reluctance to share the news. Retrospective self-reports (n = 330) revealed that bad news occurred in reliable topic categories, which in turn related to reasons for sharing, how extreme the news was perceived to be, and the concerns messengers had before sharing the bad news. Messengers reported more reluctance to share the news when they were also the locus of the news than when they were not, and they felt reluctance was greater when the topic was seen as more extreme. Theoretical implications and limitations are discussed.

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