Is the reluctance to share bad news (i.e., the MUM effect) motivated more by a public display or private concern, and does it benefit mainly the messenger or the recipient? An experiment (N = 309) that crossed good/bad news with three communication channels (face to face, text messaging, email) revealed that messenger reluctance was greatest under conditions of bad news and did not vary based on channel through which the recipient contacted the messenger. In contrast with earlier work, this MUM effect was more consistent with a private fear of distressing the recipient. Theoretical implications and limitations are discussed.
Repository citation: Dibble, Jayson L., "It's More Than Self-Presentation: MUM Effects Can Reflect Private Discomfort and Concern for the Recipient" (2017). Faculty Publications. Paper 1452.
Published in: Communication Research Reports, Volume 35, Issue 2, November 9, 2017, pages 112-120. Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis.