Types of communication triads perceived by young-adult stepchildren in established stepfamilies

Leslie A. Baxter, Dawn O Braithwaite, Leah E. Bryant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study was an analysis of the kinds of residential parent-stepparent-stepchild triadic communication structures expressed in interviews with 50 college-aged children from established stepfamilies. In an interpretive analysis of the interview transcripts, four communication structures were identified. In the linked triad the stepchild relied on indirect communication with the stepparent through his or her residential parent. The outsider triad was characterized by the stepchild communicating primarily with the residential parent with limited awareness of interdependence with the stepparent. In the adult-coalition triad the stepchild perceived that the residential parent and stepparent had formed a coalition, leading to cautious and distrustful communication with both adults. The complete triad featured the stepchild experiencing a “real family” with open communication with both the residential parent and the stepparent. Contributions of studying stepfamilies from the perspective of triadic communication structures versus stepfamily dyads are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)381-400
Number of pages20
JournalCommunication Studies
Volume57
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

Fingerprint

stepchild
young adult
parents
communication
Communication
coalition
interview
dyad
interdependence

Keywords

  • Family Systems Theory
  • Stepchildren
  • Stepfamily Structures
  • Triangulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication

Cite this

Types of communication triads perceived by young-adult stepchildren in established stepfamilies. / Baxter, Leslie A.; Braithwaite, Dawn O; Bryant, Leah E.

In: Communication Studies, Vol. 57, No. 4, 01.01.2006, p. 381-400.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{1e6f82a6c5d14f649d8cbc6f2770b136,
title = "Types of communication triads perceived by young-adult stepchildren in established stepfamilies",
abstract = "This study was an analysis of the kinds of residential parent-stepparent-stepchild triadic communication structures expressed in interviews with 50 college-aged children from established stepfamilies. In an interpretive analysis of the interview transcripts, four communication structures were identified. In the linked triad the stepchild relied on indirect communication with the stepparent through his or her residential parent. The outsider triad was characterized by the stepchild communicating primarily with the residential parent with limited awareness of interdependence with the stepparent. In the adult-coalition triad the stepchild perceived that the residential parent and stepparent had formed a coalition, leading to cautious and distrustful communication with both adults. The complete triad featured the stepchild experiencing a “real family” with open communication with both the residential parent and the stepparent. Contributions of studying stepfamilies from the perspective of triadic communication structures versus stepfamily dyads are discussed.",
keywords = "Family Systems Theory, Stepchildren, Stepfamily Structures, Triangulation",
author = "Baxter, {Leslie A.} and Braithwaite, {Dawn O} and Bryant, {Leah E.}",
year = "2006",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1080/10510970600945923",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "57",
pages = "381--400",
journal = "Communication Studies",
issn = "1051-0974",
publisher = "Central States Communication Association",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Types of communication triads perceived by young-adult stepchildren in established stepfamilies

AU - Baxter, Leslie A.

AU - Braithwaite, Dawn O

AU - Bryant, Leah E.

PY - 2006/1/1

Y1 - 2006/1/1

N2 - This study was an analysis of the kinds of residential parent-stepparent-stepchild triadic communication structures expressed in interviews with 50 college-aged children from established stepfamilies. In an interpretive analysis of the interview transcripts, four communication structures were identified. In the linked triad the stepchild relied on indirect communication with the stepparent through his or her residential parent. The outsider triad was characterized by the stepchild communicating primarily with the residential parent with limited awareness of interdependence with the stepparent. In the adult-coalition triad the stepchild perceived that the residential parent and stepparent had formed a coalition, leading to cautious and distrustful communication with both adults. The complete triad featured the stepchild experiencing a “real family” with open communication with both the residential parent and the stepparent. Contributions of studying stepfamilies from the perspective of triadic communication structures versus stepfamily dyads are discussed.

AB - This study was an analysis of the kinds of residential parent-stepparent-stepchild triadic communication structures expressed in interviews with 50 college-aged children from established stepfamilies. In an interpretive analysis of the interview transcripts, four communication structures were identified. In the linked triad the stepchild relied on indirect communication with the stepparent through his or her residential parent. The outsider triad was characterized by the stepchild communicating primarily with the residential parent with limited awareness of interdependence with the stepparent. In the adult-coalition triad the stepchild perceived that the residential parent and stepparent had formed a coalition, leading to cautious and distrustful communication with both adults. The complete triad featured the stepchild experiencing a “real family” with open communication with both the residential parent and the stepparent. Contributions of studying stepfamilies from the perspective of triadic communication structures versus stepfamily dyads are discussed.

KW - Family Systems Theory

KW - Stepchildren

KW - Stepfamily Structures

KW - Triangulation

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=34548296484&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=34548296484&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1080/10510970600945923

DO - 10.1080/10510970600945923

M3 - Article

VL - 57

SP - 381

EP - 400

JO - Communication Studies

JF - Communication Studies

SN - 1051-0974

IS - 4

ER -