The message design logics of responses to HIV disclosures

John P. Caughlin, Dale E. Brashers, Mary E. Ramey, Kami A. Kosenko, Erin Donovan-Kicken, Jennifer J. Bute

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article uses the theory of message design logics to investigate the relative sophistication of responses to disclosure of HIV status. In Study 1, 548 college students imagined a sibling revealing an HIV-positive diagnosis. Their responses to the HIV disclosures were coded as expressive (n = 174), conventional (n = 298), or rhetorical (n = 66). Type of message produced was associated with gender and HIV aversion. In Study 2, 459 individuals living with HIV rated response messages that were taken verbatim from Study 1. Expressive messages were rated lowest in quality, and rhetorical messages were rated highest. The discussion focuses on the utility of message design logics for understanding responses to HIV disclosures and the implications for message design logics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-684
Number of pages30
JournalHuman Communication Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Linguistics and Language


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