The Role of Family and Marital Communication in Developing Resilience to Family-of-Origin Adversity

Kristen Carr, Jody Koenig Kellas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations

Abstract

To explain recovery from adverse experiences, researchers have focused on resilience as a process occurring within individuals. This study extends existing research by positioning resilience as an interpersonal process in which people communicatively interpret and respond to adversity. Married participants who experienced significant adversity in their family of origin (n = 193) reported on their familial and marital communication and personal characteristics. Overall, resilience was influenced by the unique and combined influences of individual, marital, and family factors. Individuals’ optimism and efficacy emerged as predictors of resilience, and communicated support from a marital partner was particularly important for those lower in optimism. People from families with a balance of cohesion and flexibility and strong communication were more resilient, regardless of the amount of adversity they experienced. In unbalanced families, supportive marital communication served in a compensatory role to promote resilience to family of origin adversity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-84
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication

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