Rita Daniels

Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Christine E Rittenour

Committee Co-Chair

Alan K Goodboy

Committee Member

Matthew M Martin

Committee Member

Scott A Myers

Committee Member

Ann M Oberhauser


Employing adult daughters' (N = 254) perspectives of their communication, relational quality, and identities with and surrounding their relationships with parents, I bridge organizational and family communication's scholarship realms to address family socialization regarding work/career and family. Specifically, I examine: (a) the content and context of memorable messages about work and/or family; (b) the connection between daughters' closeness to parents and daughters' likelihood to transmit these messages; and (c) the impact of mothers' socialization messages about work/career and family on daughters' personal, relational, and enacted identities (identity layers within the Communication Theory of Identity (CTI; Hecht (1993)). Using both online and paper surveys, participants responded to opened-and closed-ended questions directed at either their mother or father who are biological or non-biological and alive or deceased. Quantitative responses were analyzed through regressions using SPSS and qualitative data was coded with Nvivo to examine memorable messages that young adult daughters receive from parents regarding work/career and family. Themes of work enjoyment and marriage prevailed across memorable messages about work and family respectively. Regarding memorable messages on work, fathers communicated messages about having priorities and work input whereas mothers communicated messages about attitudes towards work (i.e., working hard, not missing work, and treating people well), the value of work (i.e., education and financial empowerment), perseverance, and offered encouragement. Regarding memorable messages on family, mothers communicated messages about marriage/relationship (i.e., prioritization of work over family, readiness for marriage/family, and premarital rules), family responsibility, and support/love/unity whereas fathers communicated messages about the importance of family (i.e., family is everything, family is first), marriage, and father responsibility. Most messages were communicated in a private and informal/unplanned conversations. Results of the study indicated no significant difference between daughters and their target parent (i.e., mother or father) in terms of daughters' likelihood to transmit memorable messages and to engage in respectful accommodation, interpersonal closeness, and relational satisfaction. However, daughters reporting on fathers had greater self-disclosing than those targeting mothers. Daughters and parents' engagement in respectful accommodation and self-disclosure positively predicted daughters' relational satisfaction. When daughters were relationally satisfied, they were likely to transmit parents' memorable messages. Daughters' receipt of mixed messages about work/family from parents was related positively to daughters' personal-relational and personal-enacted identity gaps which were in turn negatively related to daughters' life satisfaction. Generally, the findings provide additional content on memorable messages about work/family that parents communicate to their children and extend CTI by testing identity gaps in the context of an intersection of organizational and family communication while further examining the cause of identity gaps within a familial and personal relationship (among parents and young adult daughters).