Insights about Health from Family Communication Theories
Families and how they communicate matter in health communication. Making sense of the ways in which families matter is complicated and at times overwhelming because many studies focus on a particular illness, family structure, or stage in life. While each of these approaches is valuable and informative, they do not present the complex and multifaceted relationship that exists in family-health scholarship. Thus, in an attempt to provide a more holistic understanding of the symbiotic relationship between family communication and health communication, we thought about the role of family theories in helping to understand family dynamics and how those theories provide a framework for examining this important body of family-health scholarship. As a consequence, the goal of this chapter is not to provide an exhaustive review of the family-health scholarship; instead, we hope to highlight the important role that family plays in health processes; as well as off er insights into health communication that arise when family communication theories are used to examine these dynamics.