Family Communication Patterns Predict Anticipatory Resilience and the Enactment of Resilience Processes

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The communication theory of resilience (CTR; Buzzanell, 2010, 2019) proposes that resilience is cultivated via interactions and enacted through five processes. When individuals encounter times of disruption, they draw from anticipatory resilience – discursive and material resources cultivated over time – to enact resilience processes. Hopeful memorable messages (MMs) that offer a sense of positivity and efficacy about getting through future hardships can constitute one form of communication that builds anticipatory resilience. These recalled MMs can be influenced by one’s familial environment growing up. This study tested associations between family communication patterns (FCP), the positivity/efficacy of MMs about getting through hard times, and CTR resilience processes. Findings suggest conversation and conformity orientations were positively associated with memorable message (MM) positivity/efficacy, which predicted enactment of resilience processes during a recent disruption. Furthermore, MM positivity/efficacy mediated the relationships between FCP and resilience processes. Theoretical implications for CTR are discussed.

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Journal of Family Communication, v. 23, issue 1, p. 22-40