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Health Communication Research Measures


Edited By Do Kyun Kim and James W. Dearing

This volume presents state-of-the-art reporting on how to measure many of the key variables in health communication. While the focus is on quantitative measures, the editors argue that these measures are centrally important to the study of health communication. The chapters emphasize constructs, scales, and up-to-date reports and evidence about key social science constructs and ways of measuring them, whether your interest is in patient-provider dyadic communication, uncertainty management, self-efficacy, disclosure, social norms, social support, risk perception, health care team performance, message design and effects, health and numerical literacy, communication satisfaction, social influence and persuasion, stigma, health campaigns, reactance, or other topics. Students, researchers, and policymakers will find this book an accessible resource for planning and reviewing research studies and proposals.
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25. Uncertainty and Uncertainty Management


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25. Uncertainty and Uncertainty Management

ROXANNE PARROTT,The Pennsylvania State UniversityRACHEL A. SMITH,The Pennsylvania State University& AMY E. CHADWICK,Ohio University

Derived from uncertainty in illness theory (Mishel, 1981), uncertainty management theory (UMT; Brashers, 2001) addresses how individuals understand and experience uncertainty, which encompasses the inability to determine meaning associated with ambiguity about one’s state of health, complexity associated with treatment and care, a lack of information about diagnosis, and a lack of predictability for prognosis (Brashers, 2001). Uncertainty management includes appraisals of the situation, appraisals of uncertainty, emotional responses to uncertainty, and psychological and behavioral responses to uncertainty that include information seeking, information avoidance, and advocacy (Brashers, Goldsmith, & Hsieh, 2002; Brashers, Haas, Neidig, & Rintamaki, 2002).

According to UMT, uncertainty may be appraised as a danger, such that not knowing might lead to harm, or uncertainty can be appraised as a benefit, in which case, not knowing may help a person to maintain hope or optimism (Brashers, 2001). When uncertainty is appraised as a danger, people have a negative emotional response, feeling fear, anxiety, or worry. When uncertainty is appraised as a benefit, people have a positive emotional response, feeling hope or happiness. Uncertainty can also be appraised as neither good nor bad (neutral response), or both good and bad (combined response). Positive and negative emotional responses to uncertainty can co-occur for different aspects of the same health condition. For example, when treatment options...

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