Introduction: The landscape of meta-theory and theory in family communication research

Dawn O. Braithwaite, Elizabeth A. Suter, Kory Floyd

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

14 Scopus citations


We cannot look at the news, read social media, or talk with people in our lives for very long without the topic of family popping up fairly quickly. When the topic of family does emerge, it does not take long to realize that what families are, what we expect from families, and how we believe people should communicate in families are complex, ever-changing, and often contested (Floyd, Mikkelson, & Judd, 2006). Our goal for this second edition of Engaging Theories in Family Communication: Multiple Perspectives is to provide a resource for researchers, students, and those working with families who want to understand the central role of communication in the lives of family members. Rather than offer readers a summary of research findings by context or topic, as one would find in a handbook (e.g., Vangelisti, 2013), we provide an overview and concise discussion of important theories that can guide the study of family communication. We understand that theories can seem abstract, yet we see them as very practical and useful tools for understanding and addressing the challenges contemporary families face. Regarding theories as tools, we designed this book as a toolbox to help you understand and study family communication from a variety of perspectives and approaches. In this chapter, we provide a map of the landscape of family communication research and theory by presenting an overview of family communication research from 2004-2015 and offering implications for the future of family communication research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEngaging Theories in Family Communication
Subtitle of host publicationMultiple Perspectives
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781351790680
ISBN (Print)9781138700932
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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