Setting the Agenda: Finding Fathers in Family Communication Scholarship

Vincent R. Waldron, Thomas J. Socha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite its consequential role, fatherhood is relatively underrepresented in recent family communication scholarship. We use Brofenbrenner’ssocio/bio/ecological model to synthesize existing studies and identify research opportunities. Much existing work has occurred at the level of microsystem, where research makes clear that father-offspring communication has short-term term effects on the relational satisfaction of family members and long-term influences on the relational communication practices of offspring. Although promising work has begun, much more research is needed on the ways in which institutions, emerging media, and cultural discourses shape the experiences of “nontraditional” fathers and those who play fathering roles. In providing conceptual guidance for future research, we encourage family communication scholars to consider the historical development of fatherhood, its evolution over the lifespan, and the unique generative contributions of fathers and “fatherspeak” to family development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-85
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Family Communication
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Communication


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