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Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media

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Edited By Carol J. Bruess

Family Communication in the Age of Digital and Social Media is an innovative collection of contemporary data-driven research and theorizing about how digital and social media are affecting and changing nearly every aspect of family interaction over the lifespan. The research and thinking featured in the book reflects the intense growth of interest in families in the digital age. Chapters explore communication among couples, families, parents, adolescents, and emerging adults as their realities are created, impacted, changed, structured, improved, influenced and/or inhibited by cell phones, smartphones, personal desktop and laptop computers, MP3 players, e-tablets, e-readers, email, Facebook, photo sharing, Skype, Twitter, SnapChat, blogs, Instagram, and other emerging technologies. Each chapter significantly advances thinking about how digital media have become deeply embedded in the lives of families and couples, as well as how they are affecting the very ways we as twenty-first-century communicators see ourselves and, by extension, conceive of and behave in our most intimate and longest-lasting relationships.
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9. Staying Connected: Supportive Communication During the College Transition

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← 183 | 184 → Staying Connected

Supportive CommunicationDuring the College Transition

MADELINE E. SMITH

Northwestern University

AUTHOR NOTE: This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-0824162. The author thanks Jeremy Birnholtz and Kathleen Galvin for supporting and advising this work, and the anonymous participants for sharing their stories.

Introduction

While it is typical for students in the United States to live with their families in high school, many move out of their family homes to attend college (Pryor et al., 2012). This chapter focuses on the transition to college, a major life change for students who move away from their family homes (Holmes & Rahe, 1967). When they arrive on campus, first-year students often experience a dramatically new environment, one in which they are expected to simultaneously perform academically, form new relationships, and become independent adults. This transition can be extremely stressful, plagued by homesickness, peer pressure, loneliness, and depression (Dyson & Renk, 2006). While many students are able to overcome these challenges and succeed, more than 40% of students who begin bachelors degree programs fail to graduate from those programs within 6 years (Kena et al., 2014), and depression is a significant predictor of dropping out (Eisenberg, Golberstein, & Hunt, 2009). Reducing stress during the transition ← 184 | 185 → to college might help reduce experiences of depression and, in doing so, support emerging adults successfully journey...

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