Willingness To Communicate (WTC)


Author of Tool: 

McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P.

Key references: 

McCroskey, J. C. (1992). Reliability and validity of the willingness to communicate scale. Communication Quarterly, 40, 16-25.McCroskey, J. C., & Richmond, V. P. (1987). Willingness to communicate. In J. C. McCroskey & J. A. Daly (Eds.), Personality and interpersonal communication (pp. 119-131). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.

Primary use / Purpose: 

Willingness to communicate is the most basic orientation toward communication. Almost anyone is likely to respond to a direct question, but many will not continue or initiate interaction. This instrument measures a person’s willingness to initiate communication.


The study of various general orientations toward communication has held an important place in communication research for over a half-century. This research has been conducted under a wide variety of conceptualizations. These have included stage fright, speech anxiety, communication apprehension, shyness, reticence, unwillingness to communicate, willingness to communicate, talkativeness, verbal activity, vocal activity, and a number of others. Although these are all related constructs, there are important distinctions among them. One group of constructs relates to anxiety or apprehension about communicating (stage fright, speech anxiety, communication apprehension). Another centers on actual talking frequency (verbal activity, vocal activity, talkativeness). A third centers on the preference to approach or avoid communication (reticence, unwillingness to communicate, willingness to communicate). The Willingness To Communicate Scale (WTC) is a 20-item, probability estimate scale. The scale was designed as a direct measure of the respondent’s predisposition toward approaching or avoiding the initiation of communication.


The face validity of the instrument is strong, and results of extensive research indicate the predictive validity of the instrument. Alpha reliability estimates for this instrument have ranged from .85 to above .90. Of the 20 items on the instrument, eight are used to distract attention from the scored items. The twelve remain items generate a total score, four context-type scores, and three receiver-type scores. The sub-scores generate lower reliability estimates, but generally high enough to be used in research studies.



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