Full Text


Lynne Kelly

Subject Communication and Development » Instructional Communication
Sociology » Social Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405131995.2008.x


Reticence is a communication problem with cognitive, affective, and behavioral dimensions and is due to the belief that one is better off remaining silent than risking appearing foolish ( Keaten & Kelly 2000 ). Reticent individuals tend to avoid communication in social and public contexts, particularly novel situations that have the potential for negative evaluation. The publication of Gerald M. Phillips's first article on reticence in 1965 was groundbreaking in that it expanded scholarly interest in communication anxiety and avoidance problems beyond fear of public speaking (→  Speech Anxiety ), spawning cognate constructs such as communication apprehension ( McCroskey 1970 ) and launching a major new line of research (→  Communication Apprehension and Social Anxiety ). Reticent individuals view themselves as incompetent communicators, and measured against norms about appropriate levels of talkativeness in social situations (→  Social Norms ), they tend to fall short. Reticence is typified by a set of faulty beliefs about communication, such as that good communicators speak spontaneously and one must be born with good communication skills. The adoption of this set of beliefs creates anxiety and feelings of helplessness. Reticent individuals fear negative evaluation and appearing foolish, and they have learned to associate anxiety with communication, which contributes to their ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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