Communication | Nursing


Health care in the U.S. is a dynamic and demanding field faced with many challenges such as an aging population, coupled with increases in chronic diseases and conditions (e.g., heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and arthritis). Addressing these challenges involves ongoing communication among numerous constituents comprised of health care providers (physicians, nurses, therapists), health administrators, patients, family members, and/or other caregivers. Part of managing a chronic illness, for example, is coordinating information surrounding the condition such as disclosing health information to others. The purpose of this article is twofold: First, we examine current “disclosure” research (referred to variously as sharing, information management, avoidance, holding back, withdrawal, and privacy management) in both nursing and communication scholarship. Second, we propose an agenda for expanding disclosure research in nursing contexts and for more collaborative research among nursing, communication, and other relevant disciplines (e.g., psychology, social or health psychology, medicine, and public health).