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Professor, Health and Family Communication
Senior Affiliate Faculty Member, Medical Ethics
Creating a Privacy Management Community
are interested in creating a community of individuals interested in pursing the development and understanding of the way people manage private information in their everyday life. For example, privacy management in families, interpersonal relationships, technologically, in health arenas, in business, government, in educational and political environments, and in intercultural interactions.
f you are interested in participating in conversations, developing research projects, seeking input on a research idea, and/or joining a community of people dedicated to using Communication Privacy Management Theory to comprehend privacy, please join our group
Communication Privacy Management Theory
Welcome to the paradoxical world of privacy management.
Because I have spent 30 years developing an evidence-based,
applied theory about how people manage private information, I invite you to explore a new way to understand the balance between disclosing and concealing private information in a social world. Please look at the publications and ideas found on this site that provide insights into how we make choices to tell or not to tell information we define as private.
If you are interested in learning about managing the communication of private information, including disclosure and confidentiality, please join the
Society for the Study of Communication Privacy Management
(SSCPM) (see Quick Links).
is a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis, Core Faculty in the Indiana University Center for Bioethics, IU School of Medicine and a Senior Faculty Affiliate in the Charles W. Fairbanks Center for Medical Ethics, Clarian Health Partners, Indianapolis, IN. She is also an adjunct faculty in the IU School of Nursing and the IU School of Informatics.
Originally from New York, she completed her B.A. in interdisciplinary social science from The State University of New York at Stony Brook. She received her M.A. in social psychology and a Ph.D. in communication from The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI. Professor Petronio has been a faculty member in the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Minnesota. For 14 years, she was a faculty member at Arizona State University in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication before going to Department of Communication and School of Medicine at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI in 2000. At Arizona State University, Professor Petronio was the Director of the Interdisciplinary Ph. D. program in communication and at Wayne State University she served as Director of the Speech Communication Area in the Department of Communication. Professor Petronio’s area of research is in privacy, disclosure, and confidentiality primarily in health and family contexts.
During the last 30 years, she has developed the “Communication Privacy Management” theory, publishing a book with State University of New York Press entitled, “Boundaries of Privacy: Dialectics of Disclosure” on this theory. This book has won the Gerald R. Miller Award from the National Communication Association in 2003 and the 2004 IARR book award from the International Association of Relationship Research.
She has expertise in health communication, interpersonal relations, and family communication. Professor Petronio has published five books, numerous articles in scholarly journals and book chapters, served as the first woman journal editor for the Western Journal of Communication (established in 1937) as well as editor for several special issues of Communication Research and the Journal of Applied Communication Research. In 2003 she published a book with LEA press on HIV/AIDS and disclosure with co-authors, Kathryn Greene, Val Derlega, and Gust Yep.
Notable Academic Accomplishments
In June 2005, Professor Petronio was invited by the Consortium on Social Science Associations to give a Congressional Briefing on issues of privacy in Washington, D. C. Professor Petronio has frequently presented scholarly papers at national, international, and regional conferences. She is also currently the Immediate Past President of the International Association of Relationship Research and is a Past President of the Western States Communication Association.
In 2006, she received the WSCA Distinguished Service Award for outstanding scholarship, exemplary leadership, and significant contributions to WSCA. In 2007, she was awarded the Elizabeth G. Andersch Award for scholarship from Ohio University’s Department of Communication Studies. She has also been honored with the Bernard J. Brommel Family Communication Award for outstanding scholarship and distinguished service in family communication from the National Communication Association. In addition, in 2003 she was the first recipient of the Bernard Brock Research Award bestowed by Wayne State University’s Department of Communication. In 2002, Professor Petronio and her colleagues were recognized for their presentation on informal health care advocates by the European Association for Communication in Healthcare in Warwick, England.
Teaching and Service
Professor Petronio has extensive teaching experience at the graduate and undergraduate levels, including establishing one of the country's first courses in the discipline of communication on family communication. In addition, she has mentored numerous doctoral and master’s advisees during her 29 years as a faculty member. Currently she serves as a facilitator for the Schwartz Rounds in the Indiana University Bren and Mel Simon Cancer Center and participates on the ethics consultation sub-committee for Clarian Health Partners. She has served on many academic committees and she is committed to building a sense of community. One of Professor Petronio’s missions is to help faculty learn how to translate their scholarship into practice. Though knowledge is valuable in its own right, academic research is most useful when it can be converted into useable assets in the everyday world. Consequently, since 1998, Professor Petronio has presented papers, conducted workshops, written popular articles on her research, and endeavored to persuade colleagues to embrace the practice of translating scholarship. She is currently spearheading a campus initiative, Translating Research into Practice at IUPUI.
Health Communication, Family Communication, Communication Theory, Privacy, Disclosure and Confidentiality.
Disclosure, privacy, confidentiality
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