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Bad News, Communication of

The communication of bad news, often referred to as breaking bad news, has significant effects on participants. Definitions of bad news focus on its impact on recipients. Bad news is information that has a negative effect on recipients’ expectations or perspectives regarding the future (e.g., longevity, quality of life, choices) or creates negative cognitive, behavioral, and/or emotional effects that persist beyond the transaction.

This entry discusses contexts for breaking bad news, with a focus on health care, because health care is the primary context in which communicating bad news has been investigated, and methods have been developed. Changes in health-care relationships created the need for research and practice regarding communicating bad news effectively and meeting related goals. Communicating bad news has significant effects on health-care providers ...

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