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Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity

Thesis - Boise State University Access Only

Degree Title

Master of Arts in Communication



Major Advisor

John McClellan, Ph.D.


Heidi Reeder, Ph.D.


erin d. mcclellan, Ph.D.


This research project focused on Mother-in-law/Daughter-in-law (MIL/DIL) relationship satisfaction and how communicative behavior relates to satisfaction/dissatisfaction. The MIL/DIL relationship is unique and challenging; with multiple forces working on those involved. Communication in families is different from other relationships because families typically have higher levels of intimacy and commitment created through enactments of roles, rules, performance of functions, and sustaining behavior patterns. This study revealed that many MILs/DILs want to have a good, satisfying relationship and they identified communicative behavior patterns that shape their relationship satisfaction. The MILs/DILs reported that expressions of affection, exercising silence, third party influence, and experienced or perceived judgment affected their relationship satisfaction. Most of the MILs and DILs were seeking higher intimacy and commitment in their relationships and asked for deeper, richer communication as a way to create more satisfying relationships.