Interpersonal Communication and Relationships
Dr. Kate Magsamen-Conrad (PhD, Rutgers University, 2012) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at The University of Iowa. Her scholarship is at the intersection of health and interpersonal communication, and it prioritizes partnerships with community groups to improve lives. Her program of research draws on traditions in interpersonal and health/risk communication, relationships, and psychology, and relies on mixed methods to answer questions. Among her community-engaged projects are a project funded by the Cancer Research UK to work with low-income urban mothers to improve physical activity, and an intergroup communication intervention that partners emerging, middle-aged, and older adults to improve the well-being of aging communities. Her research also examines how technology can be both a facilitator and barrier to health management, and many projects utilize technology in the intervention process.
Dr. Rachel McLaren studies interpersonal communication, social cognition, and hurtful messages. Her research seeks to clarify the interplay of communication, cognition, and emotion in response to significant experiences, such as hurtful interactions, within personal relationships. She also examines how relationship and situational characteristics influence people’s ability to process relational messages. Her recent work focuses on how relational turbulence influences a couple’s ability to coordinate relational inferences about past hurtful events. Her other interests include examining how interactions within close relationships affect people’s global conceptions of the relationship and, in turn, how those conceptions influence their experiences of particular communication events. Dr. McLaren teaches courses on the dark side of communication and relationships as well as communication and conflict.
Dr. Sylvia L. Mikucki-Enyart studies interpersonal and family communication. Broadly, her work examines how relational partners and families communicate during times of transition—both normative (e.g., transition to in-law bonds) and non-normative (e.g., late-life parental divorce and stepfamily formation). More specifically, Dr. Mikucki-Enyart’s work examines how experiences of relational uncertainty influence interaction goals (one’s own and perceptions of others), which in turn shape message production and message processing as well as relational perceptions. Her current research examines (a) uncertainty/information management, including message features that are associated with successful uncertainty management and positive relational outcomes, and (b) the “bright” side of family bonds during periods of upheaval.