Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication Studies


Marie Haverfield; Shawn Spano ; Jennifer Bevan


This thesis investigated the ways in which adult children of harmful parental alcohol use manifest resilience through the lens of the Communication Theory of Resilience (CTR). The CTR presents five communication processes by which resilience, which is the ability to overcome hardship, is demonstrated. Serial arguments, the repeated and unresolved conflicts that occur between romantic partners, were utilized as the context to study resilience. Interviews were conducted to learn about perceptions of serial argument resolvability and the ways and frequencies in which resilience manifested. A pre-interview survey gathered information pertaining to relationship satisfaction and perceptions of resilience. A thematic analysis identified all five CTR processes were present, and additional theme of adaptive communication arose as a related process that demonstrates resilience. Findings support and extend applications of CTR and extends the idea that resilience manifests in simple, everyday stressful events, like serial arguments. Future directions include a focus on translating theory into practice in the form of teaching resilience processes to adult children of harmful parental alcohol use.

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Communication Commons