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Communication for Families in Crisis

Dickson, Fran C. / Webb, Lynne M. (eds.)

Communication for Families in Crisis

Theories, Research, Strategies

Year of Publication: 2012

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2012. XVIII, 397 pp., num. tables
ISBN 978-1-4331-1102-0 pb.  (Softcover)
ISBN 978-1-4331-1101-3 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.580 kg, 1.279 lbs

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Book synopsis

In this volume, the first book-length work to address effective family communication during times of crisis, leading researchers provide in-depth discussions of communication theory vis-à-vis specific scientific analysis of families in crisis. Three general types of crises are examined: relational crises (infidelity, infertility, identity shifts, parental deployment, death of a child); health crises (mothers with breast cancer, children with disabilities, pediatric cancer, geriatric health crises); and economic crises (job loss, divorce, homelessness, post-hurricane survival).
Each chapter ends with practical advice for families on how to communicate effectively during crisis. Given its presentation of diverse theories, research methodologies, and crises, this volume can serve as a useful textbook for graduate courses in communication and family studies. In addition, the accessible writing style and engaging topics make it an ideal supplemental text for upper division undergraduate classes and a useful resource for practitioners who assist families in crisis.


Contents: John P. Caughlin: Foreword: Families in Crucibles: Toward a Communication Perspective on Helping Families in Crises – Lynne M. Webb/Fran C. Dickson: Effective Family Communication for Coping with Crises – Patricia Amason/Megan L. Wilson/Justin T. Rusinowski: Family Communication and Effectively Addressing Infertility – Allison R. Thorson: Parental Infidelity: Adult Children’s Attributions for Parents’ Extramarital Relationships – Christine Aramburu Alegría/Deborah Ballard-Reisch: And Then He Was a She: Communication Following a Gender-Identity Shift – Katheryn Maguire/Erin Sahlstein: In the Line of Fire: Family Management of Acute Stress during Wartime Deployment – Kayla B. Johnson/Lynne M. Webb: Death of a Child: Mothers’ Accounts of Interactions with Surviving Children – Heather E. Canary: Children with Invisible Disabilities: Communicating to Manage Family Contradiction – Carla L. Fisher/Jon F. Nussbaum: «Linked Lives»: Mother-Adult Daughter Communication after a Breast Cancer Diagnosis – Jennifer A. Samp/Tara J. Abbot: Women Coping with Cancer: Family Communication, Conflict, and Support – Kathleen M. Galvin/Lauren H. Grill/Paul H. Arntson/Karen E. Kinahan: Beyond the Crisis: Communication between Parents and Children Who Survived Cancer – Kandi L. Walker/Joy L. Hart/Lindsay J. Della/Mary Z. Ashlock/Anita Hoag: Mom Is No Longer Mom: Adult Children Discuss Their Parents’ Acute Health Events – Patrice M. Buzzanell/Lynn H. Turner: Effective Family Communication and Job Loss: Crafting the Narrative for Family Crisis – John H. Nicholson/Steve Duck: Sibling Alliances in Family Crises: Communication Surrounding Redefinitions of Family – Fran C. Dickson/Justin P. Borowsky/Kathryn Tiffiani Baldwin/Jennifer Kelly Corti/Daniel Johnson/Lucie Lawrence/Joseph Velasco: Communication Challenges of Parenting in Homeless Families – James M. Honeycutt/Christopher M. Mapp: Family Communication Surrounding Emotional Trauma: The Aftermath of Hurricanes.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Fran C. Dickson received her PhD from Bowling Green State University. She is Professor and Department Chair of Communication Studies at Chapman University. Her research focuses primarily on later-life adults’ communication in personal and family relationships.
Lynne M. Webb received her PhD from the University of Oregon. She is Professor of Communication at the University of Arkansas. Her research focuses primarily on young adults’ interpersonal communication in romantic and family contexts.


«With this volume, the editors have significantly improved what we know about families’ actual experiences with crises and the role communication plays in dealing with them. The research is original, engaging, useful, and highly likely to be heuristic.» (J. D. Ragsdale, Editor of ‘Southern Journal of Communication’)
«Fran C. Dickson and Lynne M. Webb have gathered together some of the top scholars in the communication discipline to examine how families experience, confront, and manage crisis in their everyday lives. The chapters are grounded in theory and research while maintaining a ‘real world’ focus on key areas such as family relationship crises, family health crises, and family economic crises. As such, this book provides both a much-needed scholarly and applied contribution to a critically important area of family communication studies.» (Glen Stamp, Professor and Chair, Department of Communication Studies, Ball State University)
«The scholars mine the depth of the communication discipline’s offerings to understand messages and discourses family members experience and employ when faced with crises.» (Dawn O. Braithwaite, Willa Cather Professor of Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln)