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Moral Talk Across the Lifespan

Creating Good Relationships


Edited By Vince Waldron and Douglas Kelley

Grounded in path-breaking research but written in an accessible, engaging style Moral Talk Across the Lifespan explores how our most fundamental moral commitments are shaped by crucial conversations with family members, romantic partners, and friends. Taking a lifespan approach, the authors demonstrate that moral growth is a continual process, one stimulated by transitions (e.g., leaving home for university) and disruptive events (serious illness). With chapters penned by leading relationship scholars, the volume contributes original thinking, data, and innovative theoretical pathways for researchers. For instructors it explores pressing moral questions encountered by students in their own relationships with romantic partners, friends, parents, and other family members. When is revealing a secret the right thing to do? Is revenge ever a worthy response to an insult or sleight? Why are young adults persuaded to accept some of their parents’ values but not others? Is there a right (or wrong) way to support a parent facing a terminal illness?
Moral Talk Across the Lifespan offers a stimulating blend of social science research and moral reflection. It is a key text for courses in Relational Communication, Family Communication, Interpersonal Communication, and Communication Ethics.
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Series Editor’s Preface


Moral Talk Across the Lifespan: Creating Good Relationships

THOMAS J. SOCHA Old Dominon University

Moral Talk Across the Lifespan: Creating Good Relationships, edited by the prominent interpersonal communication scholars, Vincent Waldron & Douglas Kelley represents a significant and long overdue addition about a timeless, yet understudied, topic in lifespan communication research in the ever-evolving communication of contemporary personal and social relationships. Our messages certainly have something to do with defining, creating, and maintaining “good” relationships, and are also something that we learn from early childhood and build on across the human lifespan. This volume takes significant theoretical and methodological steps forward as it fuses communication theories and theories of morality within a lifespan developmental framework.

Like this volume, the book series, Lifespan Communication: Children, Families and Aging invites communication scholars to view communication through a panoramic lens—from first words to final conversations—a comprehensive communication vista that brings all children, adolescents, adults, and those in later life as well as lifespan groups such as the family into focus. By viewing communication panoramically it is my hope that communication scholars and educators will incorporate into their work, the widely-accepted idea that communication develops, that is, it has a starting point and a developmental arc; changing as we change over time. And further, that developmental communication arcs are historically contextualized. As infants we begin our communication education in unique historical and familial contexts that shape our early communication learning as well...

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