Date on Honors Thesis

Spring 5-10-2023


Organizational Communication


Journalism Mass Communications

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Brian Perna, Advisor

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Geoff Luurs, Committee Member

Examining Committee Member

Dr. Eric Umstead, Committee Member


Eating disorders persist as one of the most prominent psychological and physiological illnesses among young adults and adolescents. Nonetheless, most research in the field focuses on external factors that influence the development of these disorders such (i.e., social media and an idolized body image). There is less research to investigate the role of an individual’s environment, more specifically the family dyad and communication related to such eating disorders. The family unit remains, often, the primary means of socialization for individuals during developing years, thus, this study seeks to expand on how current family communication and family climate contribute to eating disorders by examining the relationship between family communication patterns and conflict strategies in the context of eating disorders/disordered eating behaviors utilizing grounded theory, more specifically, selective and axial coding, to determine this relationship as the phenomenon and its conditions to determine 4 emerging themes told through participant exemplars. The qualitative study entails interviewing and surveying participants in order to assess themes between specific family communication patterns and conflict strategies as well as deep "heart-of-the matter" contextual interview data, to construct a deep understanding/narratives of how eating disorders are communicated in interactions and to construct themes that may be helpful, going forwards, in the eating disorder context.