Children’s Transitions and Relational Turbulence in Marriage: Can Transition Processing Communication Help?

Kellie St Cyr Brisini, Denise Haunani Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study engages the frameworks of relational turbulence theory and the experiencing life transitions model to shed light on the associations between parents’ relationship-focused communication and marital qualities during major transitions for their child. An online survey asked parents (N = 311) to evaluate their marital relationship experiences surrounding a period of change during their child’s life. Analyses, which focused on participants who reported a major life event (N = 235), identified 11 categories of transitions. Across the transitions, perceptions of a partner’s engagement in transition processing communication was negatively associated with partner uncertainty and interference from a partner, and positively associated with facilitation from a partner. In contrast to the hypotheses, participants’ own engagement in transition processing communication was positively associated with partner uncertainty. The discussion highlights the potential for relationship-focused communication to attenuate relational uncertainty and improve interdependence as parents navigate transitions associated with raising children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Family Communication
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019

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Marriage
Turbulence
marriage
Communication
Uncertainty
parents
communication
Parents
uncertainty
Processing
online survey
interdependence
interference
event
experience

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication

Cite this

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title = "Children’s Transitions and Relational Turbulence in Marriage: Can Transition Processing Communication Help?",
abstract = "This study engages the frameworks of relational turbulence theory and the experiencing life transitions model to shed light on the associations between parents’ relationship-focused communication and marital qualities during major transitions for their child. An online survey asked parents (N = 311) to evaluate their marital relationship experiences surrounding a period of change during their child’s life. Analyses, which focused on participants who reported a major life event (N = 235), identified 11 categories of transitions. Across the transitions, perceptions of a partner’s engagement in transition processing communication was negatively associated with partner uncertainty and interference from a partner, and positively associated with facilitation from a partner. In contrast to the hypotheses, participants’ own engagement in transition processing communication was positively associated with partner uncertainty. The discussion highlights the potential for relationship-focused communication to attenuate relational uncertainty and improve interdependence as parents navigate transitions associated with raising children.",
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