The Family Communication Sourcebook provides an in-depth examination of contemporary theory and research in the area of family communication. This unique collection offers a state-of-the art approach by pairing conceptual pieces with original studies in the same general topic area. Editors Lynn H. Turner and Richard West present readers with a thoughtful and thorough exploration of the critical issues facing family communication researchers today.

“That Dear Octopus”: A Family-Based Model of Intimacy

“That Dear Octopus”: A Family-Based Model of Intimacy

“That dear octopus”: A family-based model of intimacy
Megan K.FoleyUniversity of Iowa
SteveDuckUniversity of Iowa

To the family—that dear octopus from whose tentacles we never quite escape nor, in our inmost hearts, ever quite wish to.

—Dodie Smith, 1948

Like the octopus in the epigram above, the family is one head with many hands that embrace and ensnare us. The octopus serves equally well as a metaphor for the slippery but enveloping tentacles of intimacy since this concept also has many unruly, uncoordinated, but grasping elements. Our goal here is to first clarify the slippery definition of intimacy in general and as it applies to the family. This discussion focuses on intimacy primarily in dyadic terms because research up to this point ...

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