"Allegedly...": A Test of the Theory of Motivated Information Management in the Context of Targets' Experiences with Gossip

by Jenny Rosenberg

Institution: Kent State University
Department: College of Communication and Information / School of Communication Studies
Degree: PhD
Year: 2014
Keywords: Communication; Social Psychology; gossip; emotion; information management; uncertainty; interpersonal communication; personal relationships
Record ID: 2056851
Full text PDF: http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=kent1395510465


The purpose of this dissertation is to test the Theory of Motivated Information Management (TMIM) in the context of individuals' experiences with being targets of gossip. The dissertation consists of two studies, the first of which is designed to investigate targets' experiences with gossip as an interpersonal communication phenomenon and better understand targets' perceptions of uncertainty, their emotional reactions to gossip, their information management behaviors, and relational consequences of the gossip. Informed by the first study, the second study tests TMIM's predictions in the context of targets of gossip and addresses potential advantages and challenges associated with the theoretical framework. The goals of this dissertation are (1) to extend theorizing on TMIM by applying it to a novel context and (2) systematically examining the role of emotion in targets' experiences with gossip and the theory, and (3) to fill a void in the literature on gossip by exploring targets' perspectives from an interpersonal communication lens.