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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Decade: 2010-2019
 Degree Discipline: Communication Studies
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Adoptive Parenthood: an Exploratory Study of the Influence of Pre-adoption Communication Satisfaction on Post-adoption Family Adjustment and Coping
There are over a million adopted children in the United States, which makes up over 2% of the population. in spite of the fact that the majority of children are adopted into loving and caring homes, early life trauma puts them at higher risk for developing behavioral and emotional problems than non-adopted children. Due to these issues, many adoptive parents encounter post-adoption stress. This stress is often linked to minimal education regarding short- and long-term challenges associated with adoption. the adoption agency is likely the best group for addressing challenges, yet few researchers have studied adoption agency communication and adoptive parent adjustment. in this study I examined pre-adoption communication satisfaction, post-adoption adjustment (life change and parental adjustment), and coping strategies. Hypothesis 1 questioned the relationship between adoptive parents’ pre-adoption communication satisfaction with their social workers and post-adoption family adjustment; this hypothesis was supported only for problems related to home and work life adjustment. Hypothesis 2 predicted coping strategies would mediate the relationship between communication satisfaction and family adjustment. H2 was not supported for both life change and parental adjustment. Research Questions 1a and 1b inquired about the coping strategy that had an impact on life change and parental adjustment; escape-avoidance coping was most common for problems related to parental difficulty adjustment. a second research question was added post hoc; it questioned if special needs adopted children had an impact on family adjustment. Results indicated the special needs designation is related to home and work life adjustment. After discussing the theoretical and practical implications of this study, I offer limitations and directions for future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115154/
Beyond Suzie Wong? An Analysis of Sandra Oh’s Portrayal in Grey’s Anatomy
In my study, I examine if and how Sandra Oh’s portrayal of Dr. Cristina Yang in Grey’s Anatomy, a primetime network drama, reifies or resists U.S. mediated stereotypes of Asian American females. I situate my intercultural study in an interpretive paradigm because I am want to explore how the evolving characteristics of existing the Asian American female mediated stereotype as they influence Asian American female identity. Additionally, I trace the historical development of Asian and Asian American stereotypes yellow peril to the model minority; and from Dragon Lady, Lotus Blossom, Geisha, and Suzie Wong. From my textual analysis, I suggest that when portrayals simultaneously reify and resist characteristics of existing Asian American stereotypes, they may help to breakdown perceived binaries of existing Asian and Asian American stereotypes. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84229/
Booty Calls, Rage, and Racialized/sexualized Subjects: Tmz's Coverage of Rihanna and Chris Brown
Internet-based celebrity gossip blog site, TMZ, is a growing cultural force. Employing critical rhetorical analytics, the author examines the TMZ coverage of Chris Brown's assault on his then-girlfriend, Rihanna. This project explicates TMZ's enthymematic invocation of dominant cultural ideologies surrounding race, sex, and domestic violence. Chapter 1 demonstrates the theoretical importance of both celebrities and gossip blogs, signaling the ideological importance of each. Chapter 2 critiques TMZ's reliance on historic myths regarding sex and race in their reporting on this case. Chapter 3 analyzes TMZ's humorous and affective strategies that bolster broader investments in colorblind ideologies. Chapter 4 concludes by examining the interplay of formal rhetorical elements that inform the project's findings. This research reveals that TMZ utilizes affective, enthymematic strategies that camouflage broader racist and sexist ideological impulses that perpetuate domestic violence myths. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177250/
Connecting the Circuit: Analyzing Jurors' Cognitive Gaps and Damage Awards in Patent Infringement Trials
Patent litigation is notorious for the technicality of evidence and the rhetoric of experts. Citizens selected to serve on the jury have no specialized training and have rarely been exposed to the technology or the patent process. This study provides insight into the field of jury decision-making in complex patent cases by analyzing the cognitive gaps and the tactics used by jurors to minimize them. Additionally, the study examines the justifications for the damage awards jurors provide. This analysis focused on jurors engaged in mock trial patent deliberations. The story model and sensemaking theory serve as the theoretical framework of this research and provide a structure for support and a lens for analysis. The results indicate that jurors rely on three distinct and dichotomous topologies when navigating cognitive gaps. Searching for answers either individually or as a group, relying on lists or stories, and turning to facts or emotions, jurors navigate through their uncertainty. Through the line-by-line analysis of mock jury transcriptions, three continuums regarding damage justifications emerged. Jury members found themselves navigating uncertainty versus certainty, rationality versus irrationality, and facts versus emotions. The theoretical implications broaden the story model to include cognitive gaps in all phases and increase the model's efficacy in patent litigation through the addition of a fourth phase. This study also confirms and enhances the use of sensemaking to describe the jury decision-making process. The results of this study should be applied practically to the field of patent litigation. Results should be used to create a user-friendly environment where the high stakes of litigation demand increased juror understanding and are critical to justice. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271808/
Diversity Revealed: Photovoice Methodology as a Means for Understanding How Teens Construct Diversity
Through the partnership of standpoint theory and photovoice method, the present study looked at how teenagers, attending a multicultural education camp, define diversity, as well as what the participants considered to be the benefits and limitations of diversity. Standpoint theory gives the theoretical perspective to understand the marginalized voice of teenagers, while photovoice provides the tools to better capture and understand their marginalized voice. This study was situated in a professionally-developed camp, Camp CommUNITY, that emphasizes multicultural awareness amongst teens. Nine participants and 46 pictures were analyzed. Resulting from open coding, 11 categories and 6 themes were identified. Each theme and definitions of diversity are approached with a dialectical perspective, yielding to the model of dialectical dimensions of diversity. To answer Research Question 2, participants identified both benefits and limitations for photovoice method. Additional theoretical, practical, and methodological implications, limitations, and directions for future research are addressed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc68040/
Family Sex Talk: Analyzing the Influence of Family Communication Patterns on Parent and Late Adolescent's Sex Conversations
Family communication has the potential to affect a variety of youth behavioral outcomes including adolescent sexual risk behavior. Within chapter 1, I present past literature on adolescent sexual risk behaviors, family communication patterns, and the gaps associated with those areas. In chapter 2, I review previous literature on adolescent sexual risk behavior, parent-child communication and family communication patterns. In chapter 3, I present the method which includes a description of the participants, procedures, measures, and data analysis used. In Chapter 4, I present the results of the study. According to the results of the study, father-child communication is not a better predictor of adolescent sexual risk behavior. A higher quantity of parent-child communication does not lead to less adolescent sexual risk behavior. Participants with a pluralistic family type do significantly differ from laissez-faire and protective family types in regards to levels of parent-child communication. Participants with a consensual family type do have significantly higher levels of parent-child communication in comparison to laissez-faire family types, but not protective family types. Finally, in chapter 5, I present the discussion with a review of previous research (consistent or inconsistent with the current findings), limitations and conclusions for the current study. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30431/
"He's a Human, You're a Mermaid": Narrative Performance in Disney's The Little Mermaid
Disney animation represents a powerful source of economic and cultural production. However, following the death of Walt Disney, the animation division found itself struggling to survive. It was not until the 1989 release of the hugely successful animated film The Little Mermaid that Disney would reclaim its domination among children's cultural producers. Additionally, The Little Mermaid inaugurated a shift in Disney's portrayals of gender as the company replaced the docile passive princess characteristic of its previous animated films with a physically active and strong willed ambitious heroine. Grounded in an understanding of Disney's cultural significance as dominant storyteller, the present study explores gender in The Little Mermaid by means of narrative performativity. Specifically, I analyze the film's songs "Part of Your World," "Under the Sea," and "Poor Unfortunate Souls" as metonymic narrative performances of gender that are (1) embodied, (2) materially situated, (3) discursively embedded and (4) capable of legitimating and critiquing existing power relations. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30429/
Incorporating Flow for a Comic [Book] Corrective of Rhetcon
In this essay, I examined the significance of graphic novels as polyvalent texts that hold the potential for creating an aesthetic sense of flow for readers and consumers. In building a justification for the rhetorical examination of comic book culture, I looked at Kenneth Burke's critique of art under capitalism in order to explore the dimensions between comic book creation, distribution, consumption, and reaction from fandom. I also examined Victor Turner's theoretical scope of flow, as an aesthetic related to ritual, communitas, and the liminoid. I analyzed the graphic novels Green Lantern: Rebirth and Y: The Last Man as case studies toward the rhetorical significance of retroactive continuity and the somatic potential of comic books to serve as equipment for living. These conclusions lay groundwork for multiple directions of future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28405/
"The Long Goodbye": Uncertainty Management in Alzheimer's Caregivers
Caregivers for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease (AD) shoulder a remarkably complex burden as compared to other caregivers of elderly individuals. For long distance caregivers, geographical separation further compounds the problems experienced by AD caregivers, as they are isolated from family members and support networks. Both on-site and long-distance AD caregivers experience uncertainty; the findings from this study illustrate how AD caregivers manage the uncertainty of the disease and primary care, as well as how uncertainty differs between on-site and long-distance caregivers. AD caregiver (N = 13) interviews were transcribed and qualitatively analyzed using uncertainty management theory as a thematic lens. The analysis revealed that AD caregivers experience overwhelming feelings of burden, guilt, and doubt; however, these feelings manifest differently depending on caregiver type. The findings of this study demonstrate that sources for obtaining information regarding AD and caregiving were useful for on-site caregivers; however, the sources did not account for the needs of long-distance caregivers or the psychosocial needs of on-site caregivers. Furthermore, AD caregivers did not seek support or information about AD and caregiving from health care professionals. Implications for future research regarding long-distance and on-site AD caregiving are discussed. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67947/
The Myth of Emmetropia: Perception in Rhetorical Studies
This thesis sets up the problem of sight in a visual society, with the aim to answer how the visual makes itself known. The conversation starts on visuality, and where there are gaps in understanding. The first of two case studies examines the absence of sight, or blindness, both literal and figurative. Through a study of blind photographers and their work, this chapter examines the nature of perception, and how biological blindness may influence and inform our understanding of figurative blindness. The second case study examines what the improvement of damaged sight has to say about the rhetorical nature of images. This chapter examines various means of improving sight, using literal improvements to sight to understand figurative improvements in vision and perception. The fourth and final chapter seeks to sum up what has been discovered about the rhetorical nature of sight through the ends of the spectrum of sight. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149616/
Re-Branding Palliative Care: Assessing Effects of a Name Change on Physician Communicative Processes During Referrals
Although provision of palliative care on the United States is growing, referrals to the service are often late or non-existent. The simultaneous care model provides a blueprint for the most progressive form of palliative care, which is palliation and disease-oriented treatments delivered concurrently. Research indicates the existence of a widespread misconception that associates palliative care with imminent death, and some organizations have chosen to re-brand their palliative care services to influence this perception. The goal of this study was to assess the effects of a name change from palliative care to supportive care on the communicative process during referrals to the service. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67964/
The Relationships Among Whistle-blowing, Retaliation, and Identity: a Narrative Analysis
Existing whistle-blower research has found that retaliation affects the whistle-blowing process. However, there is little literature focusing on the personal and emotional effects that retaliation can have on the whistle-blower’s life. Furthermore, while whistle-blowing has been studied in various organizational contexts, both public and private, virtually no research exists on whistle-blowing in the context of the public school system. This study examines the effects of the whistle-blowing process, specifically the effects of retaliation, on the life of the whistle-blower through a narrative identity construct in the context of the Texas Public School System. This study utilizes narrative analysis to understand the relationship between retaliation and the whistle-blowers’ narrative identity. the analysis reveals that whistle-blowers’ decisions to disclose instances of wrong-doing are motivated by their desired narrative identities. Furthermore, this study shows that retaliation has the greatest effect when it directly attacks the whistle-blowers’ identities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115087/
Speaking up: Applying the Theory of Planned Behavior to Bystander Intervention in Racism
Because racism remains a significant issue in society, and many victims of racism do not speak up for themselves when faced with racism, it is important to explore how witnesses to racist events may react and intervene upon observing racism toward others. Thus, the current study explored how participants (bystanders) reacted verbally to racist comments made by a confederate during a partner activity, as well as how participants discussed their reactions in post-interviews. Forty college students participated in the study, and three of the participants verbally intervened upon hearing the racist statements. Ajzen's theory of planned behavior was utilized as a framework, and examination of the results indicated that components of the theory as well as social constructions of racism and appropriateness of intervention behaviors affect intervention outcomes. Theoretical, methodological, and practical implications, as well as suggestions for future research are included. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc28425/
Staying Connected: Technology Use in Grandparent-grandchild Relationships
Despite the distance that often separates grandparents from their young adult grandchildren, the abundance of new technologies provides numerous means of connection for the grandparent-grandchild (GP-GC) dyad. The purpose of this study was to understand how grandparents use technology, namely text messaging and Facebook, in relationships with their young adult grandchildren. Specifically, the aim was to understand grandparents' purposes for using these technologies with their grandchildren, their motivations for using these technologies, and their perceptions of these technologies. Qualitative interviews were conducted with 23 grandparent participants and analyzed according to the procedures delineated in grounded theory analysis. Both text messaging and Facebook emerged as important tools for connection, as text messaging encourages more frequent communication and Facebook helps grandparents "fill in the gaps" about their grandchildren's lives. Furthermore, results indicated that grandparents' uses of text messaging, and to a lesser extent Facebook, are acts of accommodation to their grandchildren. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc177236/
Teaching Past the Test: a Pedagogy of Critical Pragmatism
Existent scholarship in communication studies has failed to adequately address the particular pedagogical context of current public secondary education within the United States. While communication studies has produced a great deal of scholarship centered within the framework of critical pedagogy, these efforts fail to offer public high school teachers in the U.S. a tenable alternative to standardized constructs of educational communication. This thesis addresses the need for a workable, critical pedagogy in this particular educational context as a specific question of educational communication. a theorization of pedagogical action drawing from critical pedagogy, pragmatism, and communication studies termed “critical pragmatism” is offered as an effective, critical counter point to current neoliberal classroom practices in U.S. public secondary schools. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc115103/
This Isn't About Me: Communication Privacy Management Theory and Public Confession
Individuals at the DFW Church publicly confess intensely personal information, such as drug and alcohol addiction, spousal and child abuse, stripping, and sexual abuse. Using communication privacy management theory (CPM), I examined the way individuals at the DFW Church manage their private information, how they make disclosure decisions, and how they manage boundaries around their private information. I interviewed 13 individuals who participated in public confession, and coded their responses to identify the common themes and tactics for making disclosure decisions. Through this process, I pioneer the application of CPM to examine public disclosure events, rather than dyadic or small group disclosures. I also expand our current understanding of motivations for disclosure; rather than focusing on selfish or therapeutic motivations, participants want to encourage others through their disclosure. In terms of boundary management, individuals at the DFW Church believe that God owns part, or all, of their information; thus, disclosing their pasts is "not about them." Participants construct a new identity through their testimony narrative, effectively putting the old person in the past and presenting a new, Christian identity to the church body for group approval. In this context, confessing a negative behavior becomes a way to build a positive image by showing the drastic reformation that has taken place in that person's life. Lastly, I propose the public disclosure model—which involves boundary testing, audience analysis, and choice of disclosure path—to be tested for use in future research. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271929/
To Tell or not to Tell? An Examination of Stepparents' Communication Privacy Management
This study examined stepparents' privacy boundary management when engaging in communicative interactions with stepchildren. I utilized Petronio's communication privacy management theory to investigate stepparents' motivations of disclosing or concealing from stepchildren as well as how stepparents' gender influences such motivations. Moreover, present research also explored types of privacy dilemma within stepfamily households from stepparent perspectives. Fifteen stepfathers and 15 stepmothers received in-depth interviews about their self-disclosing and concealment experiences with stepchildren. I identified confidant dilemma and accidental dilemma in stepfamily households from stepparents' perspectives, as well as stepparents' gender differences in self-disclosing and concealing motivations. Findings also suggest that stepparents reveal and conceal from stepchildren out of same motivations: establishing good relationships, viewing stepchildren as own children, helping stepchildren with problems resulting from the divorce and viewing stepchildren as "others." The result also indicates that stepparents experienced dialectical tensions between closedness and openness during the decision of revealing or concealing from stepchildren. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc30470/
"Where Do We Go From Here?" Teaching a Generation of Nclb Students in College Classrooms
Since the passing of No Child Left Behind Act in 2001, the United States' secondary education system has undergone significant changes. In this study, I discuss the ways in which the law has encouraged the normalization of standardized testing and aim to answer two primary research questions. RQ1: What do college students and their instructors identify as the key challenges that arise as students educated under NCLB begin college coursework, and how does each group address these challenges? RQ2: What strategies do the actors and spect-actors in a Forum Theatre production arrive at for addressing the challenges faced by college instructors and their students who have completed their secondary education under No Child Left Behind? To answer the initial research question, I conducted focus group interviews with instructors and students at the University of North Texas to understand the challenges each faces in the classroom. To answer the second research question, I compiled narratives from the focus group interviews along with other materials into a performance script that concluded with scenarios based in Augusto Boal's Forum Theatre techniques. In live performance events audience members rehearsed strategies for addressing the challenges that instructors and students face in classrooms through performance. Following descriptions of the performances, I analyze the scenarios through theories of Michel Foucault and Paulo Freire, to understand the productive power of the banking model reflected in the suggestions from the audience. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc271859/
Who Knows Their Bedroom Secrets? Communication Privacy Management in Couples Who Swing
Swinging is a lifestyle choice where members of a couple seek out other couples or sometimes singles, with whom to engage in sexual activity. Swinging is a lifestyle associated with the 1960s and 1970s, but Americans still engage in swinging activities today. Because of stigmas associated with this practice, swinging couples often keep their lifestyle concealed from family and friends. These couples have a unique lifestyle that requires strong communication and boundary management styles. Scholars use communication privacy management theory to examine how individuals or couples disclose private information and how this private information is then co-owned by both parties. The purpose of this study was to understand whom swinging couples disclose their lifestyle to, and what risks the couple experienced from the disclosures. The swingers disclosed to friends in most cases and were concerned about risks of stigma, privacy, and relationship termination. In this exploratory study I showed that swingers’ privacy management seems to align with the components of CPM in concealing or revealing their lifestyle to others. However the findings also indicate that swingers utilize self-disclosure for recruitment into the lifestyle, and that the disclosures seem to be more spontaneous then strategic. Future research should look further into the privacy management of swingers, as well as other ways in which they manage their stigmatized identities. digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc149665/