The interpersonal area focuses on communication processes in social, personal, and family relationships, with a particular emphasis on identity construction, sense-making, management of divergent identities, and health. We examine how communication shapes, sustains, and changes individuals and relationships in families, romantic relationships, and friendships.
The interpersonal faculty are experts in a variety of methodological approaches (e.g., qualitative, quantitative, and experimental) to the study of interpersonal relationships. They are interested in topics such as emotional communication, aggression, stress, intimate violence, conflict, physiology, health, and the discursive construction of identity.
Coursework in this area focuses on interpersonal and family communication theory and research. In class, we investigate how various relational contexts affect the multiple meanings, functions, and outcomes of communicative behaviors. Through class projects and participation in outside research teams, graduate students receive training in developing and advancing relational theory and/or method. The collaborations between faculty and graduate students have often resulted in publications in national and international journals.