Long-distance mother-daughter communication: Identifying changes and maintenance behaviors when daughters leave home
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The mother-daughter relationship goes through many transitions and changes as the daughter grows up. In particular, when the daughter transitions out of the home and geographical distance is increased between mother and daughter. How a mother and daughter dyad adapt to the changes that happen in their relationship during this transition are crucial to the effectiveness of their adjustment. The current study answers how mothers and daughters describe their experiences with long distance communication with one another after the daughter has transitioned out of the home. The results shed light on three specific adjustments to internal relational dialectics that the mother-daughter relationship and mother-daughter communication go through once the daughter has transitioned out of the home. The three adjustments to internal relational dialectics are connection vs. autonomy, openness vs. closedness, and certainty vs. uncertainty. Long distance mother-daughter communication is affected by how a mother-daughter dyad approaches these three adjustments. By examining the data based on the adjustments to internal relational dialectics certain themes emerged from the data set to further support Baxter and Montgomery’s (1988) notions of relational dialectics and therefore contribute to the field of communication. There are ways in which the findings of this study can not only add to the wealth of knowledge in the world of academe but also can be applied and implemented in everyday life.