Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School

Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Jennifer Anderson


communication theory of identity, family communication, identity gaps, identity negotiation, substance use disorder


Guided by the communication theory of identity (CTI), the current study explores identity negotiations among family members who have experience with substance use disorder. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 9 participants. Personalenacted, enacted-relational, and personal-relational identity gaps guide the scope and use of CTI. Findings mirrored 3 major themes in consideration of these identity gaps: (1) participants embraced or rejected SUD as a central aspect of personal identity, (2) participants experienced turbulence in relational identities due to SUD, and (3) personalrelational identity gaps and alignment surface in multiple contexts where interpersonal communication occurs.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Substance abuse.
Identity (Psychology)
Communication in families.
Interpersonal communication.
Substance abuse -- Patients -- Family relationships.

Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright