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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Jon F. Schamber

First Committee Member

Qingwen Dong

Second Committee Member

Alan Ray


This study aimed to identify the family communication patterns that were typical of Mexican immigrant'schildhood and parenthood, along with the influence that resources and the distribution of power and dependency have within the family structure. In doing so, this study demonstrated how a change in the family communication pattern occurs after migration to the United States. Moreover, this study uncovered some of the reasons behind the change in communication.

Fifteen conversational interviews were conducted in the homes of Mexican immigrants to address the following three research questions: (1) How do parents of Mexican immigrant families describe the family communication patterns that typified their communication with their parents, in terms of (a) socio-orientation versus concept orientation, (b) resources, and (c) power dependency? (2) How do parents of Mexican immigrant families describe the family communication patterns that typify their communication with their children, in terms of(a) socio-orientation versus concept orientation, (b) resources, and (c) power dependency? And (3) what suggestions do the parents of Mexican immigrant families have for improving family communication with their children?

The answers provided by the participants elicited thirteen key themes that provided interesting insights about this wide and critical population. The thirteen themes indicated that Mexican immigrant parents of pre adolescent children have constructed a hybrid communication pattern, which combines traditional characteristics with open and expressive characteristics. Mexican immigrant parents of young adult and adult children have developed an open and expressive communication pattern. This study also found that resources, acquired by U.S. born children, did not affect the distribution of relational power and dependency within their families nor did they create a shift in their family's communication power. A resource that did influence both relational power and the family's communication pattern was peer dependency.



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