chapter  18
Multiple Goals Theories
Motivations for Family Interactions and Relationships
BySteven R. Wilson, John P. Caughlin
Pages 11

In this chapter, we discuss three specific multiple goal theories that offer insights about family communication: (a) Dillard's Goals-Plans-Action model, Caughlin's Multiple Goals Theory of Personal Relationships, and Goldsmith's Normative Theory. Although these theories were created to answer broader questions about communication, they have special relevance to families for two reasons. First, family members are interdependent, and hence often can facilitate and/or interfere with one another's goals. Second, family members sometimes adopt one another's goals as their own—in ways that may be helpful (e.g., when an individual diagnosed with cancer asks his/her spouse to share health updates with their larger network) or dysfunctional (e.g., when "helicopter parents" define their own success based on their children's goals). In addition to highlighting how perceived goals shape the meaning of messages, the Multiple Goals Theory of Personal Relationships (MGPR) notes that this particular encounter occurs within a history of encounters between the mother and daughter.