The Efficacy of a Family Communication Skills Training Program
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Most theories and models of family functioning consider communication to have a significant effect on family relationships. Communication between members of the family system allows for the system to remain dynamic; it enables the family to adapt to change while still adhering to family rules and roles. Effective family communication helps children develop more secure attachments and undergo healthier social development, affects adolescent identity formation and behavioral choices, and promotes greater marital satisfaction. Because research has shown good communication to be associated with healthy family functioning, there is a need to educate people about how to communicate effectively with family members and why it is important to do so. A study was proposed to assess the effects of a communication skills training program on family functioning, to see if such an educational program would be effective. Participants were 100 families from North-Central Indiana consisting of two parents and one adolescent aged 12 to 17; 50 families attended the program once a week for 4 weeks whereas the other 50 families served as a control group and did not attend the communication skills program. The program included lessons on constructive communication behaviors, relational standards, and the effect of communication at the parental level and on adolescent development. It was predicted that families who attended the program would report better family communication and family functioning after the program than families who did not attend.