Telling tales: Enacting family relationships in joint storytelling about difficult family experiences

April R. Trees, Jody Koenig Kellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations

Abstract

Narratives help people make sense of difficult experiences. In addition, stories provide insight into people's conceptualizations of the world, including their understanding of their family relationships. Given these two functions of storytelling, the ways in which family members tell stories about difficult experiences together should reveal or reflect relational qualities. This project focused on how the family relational context relates to jointly-enacted sense-making behaviors as families tell stories of shared difficult experiences. Findings indicate that interactional sense-making behaviors, in particular coherence and perspective-taking, predict important family relational qualities. This suggests that family qualities affect and are reflected in the likelihood that family members will engage in productive sense-making behaviors as a unit when talking about a shared difficult experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)91-111
Number of pages21
JournalWestern Journal of Communication
Volume73
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

Keywords

  • Family Functioning
  • Family Stress
  • Interactional Sense-making
  • Storytelling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication

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