The Communication Between Father-Daughter After Losing a Mother: A Case Study

by Jennifer Kunz
Communication Studies
Faculty advisor: Dr. Elizabeth Lamoureux

Losing a mother is never easy. “…the critical factor that determines later distress is not mother loss per se but instead the availability of consistent, loving, and supportive care afterward. A child who can attach to another adult after losing a mother has the best chance of developing without serious ongoing difficulties” (Edelman, 2006, p. 39). Everyone has a parent or set of parents, but not everyone has a stable relationship with their parents. For those who have a stable relationship with one or more of their parents, this can be beneficial to their life. Looking at one father and daughter relationship, this study will explore the closeness that developed between a father and his daughter. Using theory to help illuminate the role of communication in this case study, Von Bertalanffy’s Systems Theory and Bowman’s Attachment Theory will explore how the loss created interdependence and emotional bonding between the father-daughter subsystem, while Altman and Taylor’s Social Penetration Theory will look at how ongoing disclosure and reciprocity have continued to enhance this father-daughter relationship.