Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

An intergroup perspective on stepchildren's communication with their nonresidential parent's family

Rebecca DiVerniero, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

Communicating and negotiating boundaries can be a challenge to family members who have experienced a divorce and remarriage. In particular, stepchildren and their nonresidential parent‘s family must manage potential changes and challenges to their communication and relationship as the stepchild transitions into stepfamily life. Centered in the interpretive paradigm and Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), the researcher interviewed 29 current and former stepchildren about their transition into stepfamily life to address six research questions: (1) What are the turning points in stepchildren‘s communication with their nonresidential parent‘s family? (2) How do stepchildren perceive and describe family identification with their nonresidential parent‘s family during each turning point? (3) How, if at all, do stepchildren accommodate their communication in interactions with their nonresidential parent‘s family members over time? (4) What are stepchildren‘s motivations for accommodating, or not, in interactions with their nonresidential parent‘s family members over time? (5) How, if at all, do stepchildren, in interactions with their nonresidential parent‘s family, perceive their family members are accommodating over time? (6) How do stepchildren, in interactions with their nonresidential parent‘s family‘s, perceive their family‘s motivations for accommodating, or not, over time? This research highlights the complexity of managing familial roles in the face of change. Findings indicated that, first, family members must negotiate new boundaries and roles as the stepchild transitions into stepfamily life. Second, a turning point analysis illustrated how and why stepchildren categorized their family members in terms of group membership over time. Third, the stepchildren used discourse management and interpersonal control to accommodate in their communication with the nonresidential parent‘s family, and the nonresidential parent‘s family used discourse management, interpersonal control, and interpretability. Fourth, the participants and the nonresidential parent‘s family used these strategies to achieve their desired social distance with each other. Implications of the findings are discussed for the study of intergroup communication, CAT, the stepchild and nonresidential parent‘s family relationship, and for practitioners. Directions for future research are also addressed. ^

Subject Area

Speech Communication|Sociology, Individual and Family Studies

Recommended Citation

DiVerniero, Rebecca, "An intergroup perspective on stepchildren's communication with their nonresidential parent's family" (2010). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3398451.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3398451

Share

COinS