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Full-Text Articles in Interpersonal and Small Group Communication

Getting To The Heart Of It: Examining Intergenerational Sensemaking Of Heart Disease, Sarah R. Petitte Jul 2018

Getting To The Heart Of It: Examining Intergenerational Sensemaking Of Heart Disease, Sarah R. Petitte

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Using Communicated Narrative Sense-Making Theory (Koenig Kellas, 2018), this study tested how grandchildren’s perceptions of risk and knowledge about heart disease in the family, as well as relational satisfaction, changed over the course of 3 weeks as a result of engaging in a storytelling experiment. Participants included 17 grandchild participants who interviewed their grandparents to tell stories about family heart health or discuss everyday events based on random assignment into a treatment or comparison group. Additionally, participants completed measures surrounding their knowledge of heart disease, relational satisfaction with their grandparent, and their perception of risk to develop heart disease ...


Communication And Family Identity: Toward A Conceptual Model Of Family Identity And Development Of The Family Identity Inventory, Kaitlin Elizabeth Phillips Aug 2017

Communication And Family Identity: Toward A Conceptual Model Of Family Identity And Development Of The Family Identity Inventory, Kaitlin Elizabeth Phillips

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Families serve as a primary socializing agent in the lives of individuals (Soliz & Rittenour, 2012), and the first social identity individuals have in their lives. Given the complexity and importance of identity—and family identity specifically, the goal of this study is to identify the various dimensions of family identity that scholars and practitioners should account for in their work. Through a two-study exploratory sequential mixed-method design I investigate what constructs comprise a conceptual model of family identity, and I develop a corresponding inventory of Family Identity. Through this process, I will also assess the relationships among these communicative processes ...


The Technological Factors Of Reddit: Communication And Identity On Relational Networks, Jennifer Kienzle Sep 2016

The Technological Factors Of Reddit: Communication And Identity On Relational Networks, Jennifer Kienzle

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

The relational network reddit is one of the most popular and visited websites on a global and national (United States) level. Communication on reddit lends itself to intergroup communication in that reddit users engage with audiences from ingroup, outgroup, and mixed audience compositions. Reddit’s voting system allows for negative and positive feedback to enhance or impede on one’s message. I examine how these technological factors influence a number of communicative and identity processes: (a) identity salience, (b), identity gaps, (c) group and interpersonal evaluation, and (d) accommodative language. Drawn out of intergroup contact literature and theories about group ...


Evaluating Family Caregivers' Memorable Messages Of Social Support In The Context Of Cancer, Alexis Johnson Feb 2016

Evaluating Family Caregivers' Memorable Messages Of Social Support In The Context Of Cancer, Alexis Johnson

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Caring for a loved one with cancer can be physically and emotionally difficult. Research has established that social support can improve overall mental health (Albrecht & Goldsmith, 2003; Sarason et al., 1994). To understand how caregivers make sense of the supportive messages they receive and the links between those messages and caregiver well-being (e.g. stress, depression, and affect), this study used the communicated sense-making model (CSM, Koenig Kellas & Kranstuber Horstman, 2015). Specifically, the current dissertation focuses on memorable messages, as one significant form of CSM, in order to identify the understudied nature of supportive message content and the ways in which message content relates to how caregivers feel in the context of cancer caregiving. In addition to CSM, the study of social support lends insight into how people cope with trauma. Therefore, the current dissertation investigated the links between quality of social support and message content to obtain a richer understanding of sense-making and coping for caregivers. An area of study within social support is verbal person centeredness (VPC), which focuses on characteristics of message outcomes, such as empathy. Memorable messages help to link VPC to message content because they are short, discursive messages that people recall. VPC is also linked to quality of support; therefore, this study sought to uncover the memorable message content that is most person centered. The purpose was to understand what types of message content was most effective in helping caregivers cope and contributing ...


Illness Narratives Of Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus And Family Communication: A Mixed Methods Study, Katherine M. Castle Aug 2015

Illness Narratives Of Women With Systemic Lupus Erythematosus And Family Communication: A Mixed Methods Study, Katherine M. Castle

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is a prominent, yet under-studied autoimmune condition that is both life limiting and potentially life threatening and affects more than one million Americans, primarily women. Despite this, the disease continues to go undiagnosed and unmanaged, leading to more severe outcomes of the disease process. Though there is growing recognition of the importance of social behaviors in improving health outcomes, particularly family communication and sense-making, there is a paucity of research aimed at understanding the experience of SLE and how women make sense of the disease in family contexts. This exploratory sequential mixed methods project is framed ...


How Adolescents Perceive Their Parents' Communication About Sex: Toward Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk, Amanda J. Holman Jun 2014

How Adolescents Perceive Their Parents' Communication About Sex: Toward Reducing Adolescent Sexual Risk, Amanda J. Holman

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

The “sex talk” is often one of the most challenging conversations for parents and children during adolescence. Research has established that parent-adolescent communication about sex can greatly reduce adolescents’ sexual risk (Guilamo-Ramos et al., 2012; Miller, Benson, & Galbraith, 2001). However, many parents still avoid these conversations due to uncertainty or lack of confidence in how to best educate their children on topics such as sexual health and relationships. Plus, little is known about family communication about sex from the adolescent perspective. In order to develop more comprehensive strategies for parents to engage in these challenging conversations, the present dissertation examined adolescents’ perceptions of parent-adolescent communication about sex, including what adolescents report that their parents say about sex, the degree to which these messages are perceived as effective and competent by adolescents, and how parental messages as well as the larger family environment relates to sexual risk.

One hundred and fifty-nine high school adolescents (M age = 16.66 years) completed an online survey about actual and ideal parent-child conversations about sex, as well as adolescents’ perceptions of attitudes, behaviors, and family communication climate related to sexual risk. Through inductive analyses, six parent-adolescent conversation themes emerged, including safety, underdeveloped/unsuccessful, warning/threat, no talk, comprehensive-talk, and wait. Adolescents’ perceived comprehensive-talk and safety conversations as most competent and effective compared to other conversation themes. In addition, results revealed five themes related to ways parents could have made the conversations ideal, including no change, be more specific/provide guidance, talk to me, collaborate, and appropriateness. Besides assessing these themes as separate units of information, further analyses revealed distinct patterns between the actual and ideal conversation themes. The analyses also showed that perceived parental communication competence and effectiveness were the strongest negative predictors of adolescents’ permissive sexual attitudes and sexual risk-taking; whereas peer communication frequency was a significant positive predictor in adolescents’ permissive sexual attitudes and sexual risk-taking. Overall, family communication climate (e.g. conversation orientation and conformity orientation) was unrelated to adolescents’ sexual risk. The implications for these findings are provided, as well as limitations and future recommendations for researchers and parents.

Advisor: Jody Koenig Kellas


An Examination Of The Role Of Social Support, Coping Strategies, And Individual Characteristics In Students’ Adaptation To College, Arleen Bejerano May 2014

An Examination Of The Role Of Social Support, Coping Strategies, And Individual Characteristics In Students’ Adaptation To College, Arleen Bejerano

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Adaptation, or adjustment, is a psycho-social process that occurs when an individual accepts and integrates into his or her life a transition from one situation to another situation (Schlossberg, 1981). Many individuals struggle with transitions because transitions involve changes in the environment, roles, routines, and/or ways of looking at the world. The present investigation examines the transition from high school to college, and explores the interpersonal and individual ways that students manage the changes accompanying this transition. Using Transition Theory as a framework, students’ social support networks, coping strategies, self-esteem, and depression are posited to influence students’ adaptation to ...


Examining The Role Of Family And Marital Communication In Understanding Resilience To Family-Of-Origin Adversity, Kristen Carr Aug 2012

Examining The Role Of Family And Marital Communication In Understanding Resilience To Family-Of-Origin Adversity, Kristen Carr

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Resilience, or the “successful adaptation to adversity,” is often investigated as an individual response to stressful experiences (Zautra, Hall, & Murray, 2010, p. 4). After the experience of stress or adversity, most people seek to return to some degree of normalcy, but their ability to do so varies widely. To understand this variation in individuals’ responses to adversity, most researchers have focused on resilience as a process that occurs within individuals, rather than between them. However, in the current study, resilience is positioned as an interpersonal process as well as an individual one, in that people interpret and respond to adversity ...


Changes In Narrative Sense-Making Over Time: The Role Of Mother-Daughter Communication During Conversations About Difficulty, Haley Kranstuber Horstman Aug 2012

Changes In Narrative Sense-Making Over Time: The Role Of Mother-Daughter Communication During Conversations About Difficulty, Haley Kranstuber Horstman

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

The mother-daughter relationship is one of the first and often most important sites for (effective and ineffective) social support in women’s lives. Effective mother support helps daughters to make sense of and cope with life’s stressors, which leads to improved physical and psychological health. Narrative theorizing suggests that individuals cope with and make sense of their (difficult) experiences through creating and telling stories with others. Likewise, research shows that when individuals’ sense-making increases over time, they are likely to experience higher rates of well-being (Pennebaker, 1993). Yet, although narrative meaning-making is largely an interpersonal process (Koenig Kellas, 2005 ...


Risks And Benefits Of Seeking And Receiving Emotional Support During The Divorce Process: An Examination Of Divorcee Individual Adjustment, Closeness, And Relational Satisfaction With Multiple Partners From A Social Network, Sarah E. Wilder Jan 2012

Risks And Benefits Of Seeking And Receiving Emotional Support During The Divorce Process: An Examination Of Divorcee Individual Adjustment, Closeness, And Relational Satisfaction With Multiple Partners From A Social Network, Sarah E. Wilder

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Divorce is one of the most difficult life events an individual may face. Divorce impacts not only the individual who has to adjust to new physical and psychological conditions following divorce, but also extends to the many relationships in the divorcee’s social network. Central to divorce processes and relational outcomes is communication. One aspect that may influence the quality of divorcees’ post-divorce relationships and ability to adjust following the divorce is the provision of emotional support. In the current study, I examine a social network model of adjustment to divorce by examining the role of risk in seeking, and ...


Communicatively Forming Developed Adoptive Identity: Explicating The Association Between Parental Communication, Developed Adoptive Identity, And Adoptee Adjustment, Colleen Colaner May 2011

Communicatively Forming Developed Adoptive Identity: Explicating The Association Between Parental Communication, Developed Adoptive Identity, And Adoptee Adjustment, Colleen Colaner

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

Adoptive families are inherently discursive, with communication acting as the lifeblood connecting the child to his or her adoptive parents. Adoptive families rely upon communication to create and maintain their relational bond. Communication is also the basis of our understanding of self as our identities are rooted in social interaction. Identity development for the adoptees is a unique process in which adoptees construct both a cohesive definition of the self and an understanding of what it means to be an adopted person. In the current study, I examined the communicative pathways through which adoptive identities are formed. I specifically focused ...


The Experience And Expression Of Emotion Within Stepsibling Relationships: Politeness Of Expression And Stepfamily Functioning, Emily Lamb Normand Jan 2010

The Experience And Expression Of Emotion Within Stepsibling Relationships: Politeness Of Expression And Stepfamily Functioning, Emily Lamb Normand

Communication Studies Theses, Dissertations, and Student Research

While scholars agree there are emotional challenges associated with the divorce and remarriage process, little is known about how stepsiblings interact and manage the experience and expression of emotion within their stepfamily. The current investigation examined the frequency of experience, intensity, and expression of positive, strong negative, and weak negative emotion within stepsibling relationships over time. Using Politeness Theory as a framework, the study also investigated if an association existed between stepsiblings’ use of politeness strategies during the expression of emotion and stepsiblings’ perception of the quality of their relationship and their perception of the entire stepfamily. Participants were 187 ...