Compulsive talking (or talkaholism) is talking that goes beyond the
bounds of what is considered to be socially acceptable. The main
factors in determining if someone is a compulsive talker are talking
in a continuous manner or stopping only when the other person starts
talking, and others perceiving their talking as a problem. Personality
traits that have been positively linked to this compulsion include
assertiveness, willingness to communicate, self-perceived
communication competence, and neuroticism. Studies have shown that
most people who are talkaholics are aware of the amount of talking
they do, are unable to stop, or do not see it as a problem.
2 Talkaholic scale
2.1 Cultural similarities
3 Consequences and management
4 See also
6 Further reading
7 External links
It has been suggested, through research done by Dr. James C. McCroskey
and Dr. Virginia P. Richmond, that United States society finds
talkativeness attractive. It is something which is rewarded and
positively correlated with leadership and influence. However, those
who compulsively talk are not to be confused with those who are simply
highly verbal and vary their quantity of talk.
Compulsive talkers are
those who are highly verbal in a manner that varies greatly from the
norm and is not in the person’s best interest. Those who have
been characterized as compulsive talkers talk with a greater
frequency, dominate conversations, and are less inhibited than
others. They have also been found to be more argumentative and have
a positive attitude regarding communication. Tendencies towards
compulsive talking also are more frequently seen in the personality
structure of neurotic psychotic extraverts. It has also been found
that talkaholics are never behaviorally shy.
In 1993 James C. McCroskey and Virginia P. Richmond constructed the
Talkaholic Scale, a Likert-type model, to help identify those who are
compulsive talkers. A score of 40 or above, which indicates two
standard deviations above the norm, would signal someone to be a true
A study done in 1995 of 811 university students in the United States
found 5.2% of that population had results indicating they were
talkaholics. A similar study from the same year with students from New
Zealand found similar results, with 4.7% scoring above 40.
Consequences and management
Compulsive talking can drive people away, which in turn can leave that
person with no social support. Interrupting, another act that is
associated with talkaholics, can signal to other people a lack of
According to Elizabeth Wagele, an author of best-selling books on
personality types, there are different ways to handle compulsive
talkers. Such coping techniques include changing the focus of the
conversation, taking attention away from the talkaholic, leaving the
conversation, and creating a distraction.
^ a b c d Bostrom, Robert N.; Grant Harrington, Nancy (1999). "An
Exploratory Investigation Of Characteristics Of
Communication Education. 48 (1): 73–80.
^ a b c McCroskey, James C.; Richmond, Virginia P. (1993).
Compulsive Communicators: The Talkaholic Scale".
Communication Research Reports. 10 (2): 107–114.
^ Walther, Joseph B. (Aug 1999). "Communication Addiction Disorder:
Concern over Media, Behavior and Effects". Psych Central. Retrieved 21
^ a b McCroskey, James C.; Richmond, Virginia P. (1995). "Correlates
Compulsive Communication: Quantitative and Qualitative
Characteristics". Communican Quarterly. 43 (1): 39.
^ McCroskey, James C.; Heisel, Alan D.; Richmond, Virginia P. (2001).
"Eysenck's BIG THREE And Communication Traits: Three Correlational
Studies". Communication Monographs. 68 (4): 360.
^ Hackman, Michael Z.; Barthel-Hackman, Tam; Johnson, Craig E. (1995).
"Correlates Of Talkaholism In New Zealand: An Intracultural Analysis
Compulsive Communication Construct". Communication Research
Reports. 12 (1): 5360.
^ a b Chillot, Rick (1997). "Do you talk too much?". Prevention.
^ Wagele, Elizabeth (21 Dec 2010). "The Career Within You. Nine Ways
to Cope with Talkaholics". Sussex Publishers. Retrieved 21 Oct
Compulsive Talkers: Perceptions of Over Talkers Within the
Brians P How to overcome compulsive talking (1987)
Bostrom RN, Harrington NG An exploratory investigation of
characteristics of compulsive talkers Communication Education Volume
48 Issue 1 Pages 73–80 (1999)
Bostrom R, Grant N, Davis W Characteristics of compulsive talkers: A
preliminary investigation - Paper presented at the annual meeting of
the International Communication Association (1990)