Destined For Their Future?: An Analysis of the Role of Modeling as it Relates to the Conceptions of Marriage

by Katelyn Croker
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

Effective communication skills are learned through observation of parental communication (Crockett & Randall, 2006). Parental relationships have a dramatic impact on childrens’ romantic relationships. Research supports that we are likely to model our parents’ relationship (Segrin, Taylor, & Altman, 2005), and given the relevance and duration of parental modeling, it is understandable that children learn through observation a number of attitudes and behaviors concerning marital relations. This study will examine the role of modeling in the context of marriage and how it affects childrens’ future relationships and conceptions of marriage. The role of modeling as it relates to marital relations will be analyzed by applying three communication theories: Bandura’s Social Learning Theory, Baxter & Montgomery’s Relational Dialectics Theory, and Watzlawick’s Interactional View. By using these theories, this study will attempt to explain the influence of parental modeling on childrens’ conceptions of marriage.