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Topic Expansiveness and Family Communication Patterns
Journal of Family Communication (2011)
  • Leslie M. Baxter, University of Iowa
  • Chitra Akkoor
Conversational topic largely has been studied as an individual's binary decision to engage in disclosure or avoidance. The study complements this work by examining how various topics are engaged in parent-adolescent family communication. Specifically, it examines topical differences in dialogic expansiveness, conceptualized with Bakhtin's dialogism theory as the extent to which all interactants' viewpoints are encouraged and legitimated. Operationalized through topic-specific reports about conversation orientation and conformity orientation provided independently by 122 parents and their late-adolescent children, the study reconceptualized family communication patterns from a traitlike to a state-like feature of communication. Results identified four distinct clusters of topics, two of which were dialogically contractive: the single topical domain of sexual issues and the cluster consisting of the three topics of drinking/drugs/smoking, money matters, and educational progress. Topics related to adolescent friendships and everyday things occupied a dialogic expansive cluster. Four topics emerged with nondescript patterns: adolescent dating, family relationship rules, family relationship concerns, and traditions
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Citation Information
Leslie M. Baxter and Chitra Akkoor. "Topic Expansiveness and Family Communication Patterns" Journal of Family Communication Vol. 11 Iss. 1 (2011)
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