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Families provide fundamental contexts for human growth and development, and the communication behaviors expressed within families have long interested researchers, policymakers, and laypeople. This entry describes how the field of family communication evolved, discusses three overall approaches to family communication research, and describes specific methods commonly used in family communication research.

History of Family Communication Research

Families are critically important social institutions with significant implications for those who live within them as well as those who study them and develop policies that impact them. This is undoubtedly the case because family is usually the first group to which an individual belongs. Furthermore, family is a group that often provides people with life-long membership, which makes it unique compared with any other group. In addition, family’s importance derives ...

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