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Communication Surrounding Estrangement: Stereotypes, Attitudes, and (Non)Accommodation Strategies

Department of Communication Studies, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA
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Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(10), 96; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8100096
Received: 24 August 2018 / Revised: 9 October 2018 / Accepted: 16 October 2018 / Published: 20 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Family Estrangement)
To address Americans’ general attitudes and behavioral intentions toward adult children who are estranged from their parents, the current study employed online survey data from 151 Americans recruited through Amazon MTurk. Their responses revealed negative stereotypes (e.g., childish, ungrateful) and positive stereotypes (e.g., independent, strong) of the adult child who is estranged, as well as negative assessments of the parent who is estranged. Generally, participants perceived the adult children as more competent than warm. Compared to other participants in this sample, those participants who were estrangers or estrangees themselves held more positive attitudes overall, including more positive perceptions of estranged children’s warmth and competence. In response to open-ended survey questions asking participants how they would communicate with someone they knew to be estranged, common responses were avoidance of family-related topics, (heightened) physical distance, and accommodation to the needs of the person who is estranged. Implications are discussed surrounding the lack of warmth associated with those experiencing estrangement. View Full-Text
Keywords: stereotypes; estrangement; contact hypothesis; stereotype content model; parent‒child; communication accommodation theory stereotypes; estrangement; contact hypothesis; stereotype content model; parent‒child; communication accommodation theory
MDPI and ACS Style

Rittenour, C.; Kromka, S.; Pitts, S.; Thorwart, M.; Vickers, J.; Whyte, K. Communication Surrounding Estrangement: Stereotypes, Attitudes, and (Non)Accommodation Strategies. Behav. Sci. 2018, 8, 96.

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