Communication Studies, Department of


Date of this Version



Journal of Applied Communication Research 21:1 (February 1993), pp. 103–110

doi: 10.1080/00909889309365358


Copyright © 1993 National Communication Association; published by Taylor and Francis. Used by permission.


As the Family Communication Commission in the Speech Communication Association is off to a good start, it seems appropriate to bring attention to the contributions and challenges studying family communication has for the discipline of communication. More than a decade ago, Bochner (1976) outlined several fruitful areas of investigation. Clearly, people heeded Bochner’s persuasive arguments and produced research on family communication problems (e.g., Bochner & Eisenberg, 1987; Fitzpatrick, 1988; Noller & Fitzpatrick, 1988; Petronio, 1982; Sillars, Weisberg, Burggraff, & Wilson, 1987). But, the need to examine family communication in more depth is essential to the growth and development of the area. In addition, encouraging research in family communication may enhance our thinking in other areas of the field. There are many concerns researchers and practitioners studying family communication encounter. The treatment of these questions may ultimately contribute to a more general understanding of communication. By fostering the expansion of research in family communication, we might potentially learn about issues that could help solve problems in other areas of the field.

Obviously there is a synergy between all of the areas found in the field of communication. Rather than discussing the contributions of other areas to family communication, we turn the argument around. We outline some contributions that family communication can make to the larger field and identify challenges to traditionally held beliefs about conducting research.