Researchers Focus on Parent-Child Relationships in Upcoming Lecture on Family Communication | Kent State University

Researchers Focus on Parent-Child Relationships in Upcoming Lecture on Family Communication

The Kent State University School of Communication Studies will host a research colloquium on Monday, Feb. 26 titled, “Difficult Communication and Communicating Difficulty: A Multi-Paradigmatic Approach to Studying Family Relationships.”

In Rm. 241 MACC Annex, the hour-long colloquium will feature Kristina Scharp, Ph.D., and Timothy Curran, Ph.D., assistant professors of communication studies at Utah State University. 

The researchers will focus on parent-child relationships as some of the closest relationships people have in their lifetimes. The belief that family relationships are forever pervades the cultural imaginary despite estimates suggesting family estrangement could be as common as divorce. In this research presentation, Scharp will discuss the process of family distancing, while Curran will present on intergenerational patterns of psychological distress in families and the relationship between depressive symptoms and family conflict. 

Scharp is the director of the Family Communication and Relationships Lab at Utah State University. She researches difficult family transitions and the processes by which family members cope with their distress. She has published in outlets such as Communication Research, Human Communication Research and the Journal of Family Communication. Her research on parent-child estrangement has garnered international attention from news outlets such as The New York Times, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Die Welt am Sonntag. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Curran is the associate director of the Family Communication and Relationships Lab at Utah State University. His areas of specialization include intergenerational transmissions of psychological health factors in families, relational schema, depression and family conflict and social adjustment. Curran received the Dean’s Award for his dissertation research at the University of Georgia in 2017. He has published in outlets such as Personality and Individual Differences, Journal of Family Communication and Communication Studies. 

COMM Associate Professor Jeffrey T. Child, Ph.D., is coordinating their visit.