Speaking the unspeakable: adult children's revelations of unwed pregnancy to parents Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Cronin, Jennifer Lynne
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Communication
  • Revealing difficult information to family members is inevitable and can pose significant risks to the health and well-being of those involved if not managed constructively. In order to understand better the conditions that impinge on effective and appropriate revealing of difficult information to family members, this study focused on one type of difficult disclosure: revealing unwed pregnancy to parents. Of primary interest to the investigation was the relationship between an adult unmarried mother's disclosure decisions and her parents' interpretations of those choices. Also of interest were the process through which an unmarried mother made sense of her pregnancy and how her experience shaped her disclosure to her parents. Using Ting-Toomey's (2005) face negotiation theory as a theoretical framework and Glaser and Strauss's (1967) constant comparative method for data analysis, 32 unmarried mothers and 20 parents (n = 52) were asked to tell their story to shed light on how family member expectancies shape the negotiation of difficult disclosures. Results highlight the conditions that impinge on appropriate and effective delivery of high-risk information like unwed pregnancy to parents, laying the groundwork for future research that can enable adult children to better predict parental reactions and choose disclosure strategies that may result in more positive outcomes.
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  • In Copyright
  • Rosenfeld, Lawrence B.
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2014

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