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date: 23 June 2017

Family, Culture, and Communication

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Communication. Please check back later for the full article.

Cultures vary in their values and their behaviors. For instance, the Thai culture has been shown to have different values from the American culture. Roogrensuke and Chansuthus discovered that Thai children are expected to give their parents a high amount of respect. Moreover, Thai children are not allowed to freely express their opinions or feelings to their parents, because the Thai family authority structure is so rigid. It is considered very improper for Thai children to criticize or condemn their parents. Even when the Thai children become young adults, these individuals will maintain respectful communication behaviors with their parents.

Past research concerning cross-cultural issues in communication studies has shown that there are several unique characteristics between the United States and other countries. Initial studies of cross-cultural issues tried to focus on the differences or similarities between the different cultures. Gudykunst suggests that cross-cultural research should be grounded in theory to obtain more detailed research.

With regard to family context, Tulananda and Roopnarine note that more attention has been given to the cultural differences among parent-child behaviors and interactions. They believe that looking at cultural parent-child interactions is important because it can help others understand children’s capacity to socialize and deal with life’s challenges. This article will look at specific cultural and communication behaviors in family relationships.