Date of Award

August 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Mike Allen

Committee Members

Erin Ruppel, Tae-Seop Lim, Nancy Burrell


Health Disclosure, Stigma


This dissertation examines the decision making process and the reasoning an individual uses when deciding how, what, and when to disclose. Results should offer a better understanding of the process an individual goes through in the when sharing information, including the motivations and reasons of what is hoped to be gained from each interaction. Results found people incorporate a variety of reasons for deciding on disclosure. Close relationships and duty to inform were the two most common reasons. Health literacy impacted disclosure as people were unable to disclose information before they had the necessary knowledge about the illness.

Methodology of the study included quantitative and qualitative analysis asking about time frame of disclosure and reasons for the timing of the disclosure. Three themes emerged from the research: people will notice, stigma surrounding Type II diabetes, and obligation to disclose/desire to educate. Timing of disclosure was dependent on perceived outcome and risk of the disclosure and its impact on the social and working relationship of the receiver. The results offer a better understanding of the process and the importance of health literacy and the ability to create a narrative about the illness.

Included in

Communication Commons