Sharing Good and Bad News with Friends and Strangers: Reasons for and Communication Behaviors Associated with the MUM Effect

Academic Article


  • People are reluctant to share bad news. Reasons include self-presentation and sensitivity to receiver emotionality. An experiment investigated these reasons during interactions between friends and strangers. Females (N = 330, 165 dyads) gave good or bad news to a close friend or stranger. Time to response was recorded. The MUM effect replicated for both friends and strangers. No main effects for friend/stranger or interaction between friend/stranger and news valence were found. Data were more consistent with a self-presentation explanation. Behavioral data were also analyzed to explore communicative behavior that accompanies the sharing of good and bad news. Limitations and implications are discussed. © 2013 Copyright Central States Communication Association.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Dibble JL; Levine TR
  • Start Page

  • 431
  • End Page

  • 452
  • Volume

  • 64
  • Issue

  • 4