The multivariate structure of communication avoidance

Robert A Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Communication scholars have given much attention to individual differences in communication avoidance. This interest has led to the development of numerous constructs, e.g., communication apprehension, reticence, unwillingness-to-communicate, and interaction involvement. Comparative analyses of the various constructs have typically drawn conclusions about their conceptual relatedness on the basis of statistical associations among their respective measures. This approach is plagued by widespread incongruity between the theoretical domain of constructs and their operationalizations. This study attempted to clarify the nature of communication avoidance via a structural analysis grounded in facet theory. Evidence was found for a duplex model of avoidance in which theoretical distinctions among modalities of approach-avoidance (cognitive, affective, behavioral) and context (dyadic, group, public) proved empirically relevant. Implications of these findings for the explication, treatment, and assessment of communication avoidance are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)365-375
Number of pages11
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication


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