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Running head: LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS 1
Living with Chronic Illnesses 2
Living with chronic illnesses: How are those with a chronic
illness treated by their families since their diagnosis?
Maura K. Little
University of West Florida
Abstract
This study aims to figure out what the relationship and meaning
of the ways that a family treats a family member with a chronic
mental or physical illness. The exploration of the way those
with a chronic illness are treated since their diagnosis is
important to understand the perceptions, behaviors, and
communication that surrounds illness. Chronic mental illness
will be analyzed against chronic physical illness to assess
similarities and differences in family behaviors. Participants
included individuals selected from local support groups based
on their illness as well as family structure. An ethnographic
study would be used to compare both the verbal and nonverbal
relationship between the ill family member and the rest of the
family.
Introduction
This study aimed to focus on both physical chronic illnesses and
mental chronic illnesses and their effects on family
communication, particularly surrounding the diagnosis of the
illnesses.
Family has a large impact on the perceptions of illness. In
recent times, the publicity around individuals with chronic
illnesses, both mental and physical, has increased dramatically
in the media. From the production of films about those with
physical chronic illnesses to celebrity diagnosis of a mental
illness, illness is something our society is beginning to talk
about more frequently. However there are certain stigmas
attached to these illnesses that make it harder for patients and
their families to cope with their situation. Most often because of
the portrayals of chronic illness that romanticize illnesses and
do not necessarily show all of the effects of these illnesses on
the patient or their family.
Both mental and physical chronic illnesses are much more
complex than how they are portrayed in the media. These
illnesses often produce copious amounts of side effects that
bring a whole new level of challenges to the patient's struggle
through their daily life and readjustment after diagnosis. One
effect that is often not publicized as much as others is the
relationships that exist between the patient and their family.
These family relationships may change drastically with the
diagnosis of and grappling with a chronic illness, changing how
family members perceive one another, how they act, and even
how they communicate. All of these things depend upon the
nature of the family, and the illness and produce different
changes. However, through all different types of families and
illnesses, communication in situations like these is essential to
understanding one another. According to Rosland (2009),
several interviews and focus groups showed that family
members lowered stress, and are central to patient success. In
most instances, the family is the primary caregiver to someone
with a mental or physical chronic illness, and the family
relationship is important in the healing process due to proximity
and the support received from family members. The diagnosis of
a chronic illness has the potential to change the fabric of the
family dynamic to help accommodate to the family member who
is ill.
While it is clear that families often change to accommodate, it
is unclear how family members communication changes since
the diagnosis of a chronic illness, if change is present at all.
Which begs the question: How are those with a chronic illness
treated by their families since their diagnosis? Little research
exists regarding the potential changes associated with the new
found illness. Answering this question will help to make those
in a family with one or more person who is chronically ill more
aware of their own behavior, and will also shed light on the
patients perception of their illness, and how that has been
influenced by the family’s communication about the illness.
This study is essential to the communication field, particularly
health communication, because it adds to the ongoing
conversation about how to understand people who are
chronically ill and treat them in a world where in 2012, 117
million people had one or more chronic health issues (Ward et
al., 2014). This study will explore both chronic physical and
mental illness in the context of the family, focusing on
marriage, parent-child relationships, and the use of narratives.
This will help assess the problems that come with illness, and
find out what happens to family communication when a family
member gets diagnosed with a chronic illness.
Literature Review
Chronic physical illness and chronic mental illnesses are
reviewed separately here due to the tremendous differences in
the two. In this study they will be compared against one another
to cross analyze the differences and similarities in how the
family member is treated depending upon their type of illness.
Chronic Physical Illness
Chronic physical illnesses vary in types and intensity, but have
one characteristic in common: they recur throughout time,
usually at random intervals. The uncertainty that comes along
with a diagnosis along these lines can greatly effect family
communication and relationships.
Marriage. Marriage is the basis of most families in many
cultures. Keeping the marital bond strong could be very
difficult in the face of a chronic physical illness. A chronic
physical illness could potentially change the daily lives and
interactions of the entire marital relationship. It is important to
discuss the communication that occurs around theses illnesses
in order to understand how those who have one have been
treated since their diagnosis based on research already
conducted around similar communication processes. Badr and
Acitelli (2005) found that in couples that used relationship talk,
or talking about the nature and direction of the relationship,
chronically ill couples had more benefit than a couple that did
not include someone who had a chronic physical illness did.
This literature proves that in a situation where a spouse is
chronically ill, it is important to use communication to make
one another aware of certain things such as how one felt about a
situation, or what one needs or expects from their partners.
Talking about the state of the relationship can be helpful for
chronically ill people to express fears in relation to their illness
and the marriage. Berg and Upchurch (2007) suggested that
collaborative talk is the type of communication that is
commonly correlated with positive results. This shows that it is
important for married couples to talk about their situation
together to keep their relationship strong since these tactics
have been proven to be helpful for the couple. Shuff and Sims
(2013) add on to this by stating that couples that are aware of
their partner’s expectations of communication in the marriage
are more successful in supporting one another. Being aware of
the partner’s desires and being able to fill them is central to
satisfaction in the relationships’ functioning. Marital coping
and sharing is not limited to relationship talk though. Another
powerful way of sharing within the family is through narrative.
Narratives. Something that is strongly recognized and praised
throughout literature on chronic physical illnesses is narratives.
Several studies (Freeman & Couchonnal, 2006; Ott Anderson &
Geist Martin, 2003; Walker & Dickson, 2004) stress the
importance of narratives for the family healing process.
Narratives are beneficial because they allow research to capture
personal accounts of illness, and let the ill person be a
gatekeeper to their own information about their illness. Ott
Anderson and Geist Martin (2003) state that those with a
chronic physical illness are more likely to actively share if their
feelings and perceptions are confirmed by other people,
especially friends and family. Some chronic illnesses have a
negative social stigma to them, and confirmation that people
will be respectful is important to getting the patient to open up
about their experiences. Narratives and storytelling help
families to communicate about changes that have taken place.
Ott Anderson and Geist Martin (2003) conclude that the ever
changing identity in the face of illness never stops, it is an
endless development. Sharing through narrative in cases of
chronic physical illness has the potential to better family
communication because the patient is able to clearly and
concisely explain what is happening to them from their personal
point of view. This can help the family identify what the patient
has gone through, as well as understand new emerging
identities. However, Lorde (1980) points out an important
paradox where sometimes patients may be empowered by giving
a narrative account of their story, while others may feel anxiety
from reliving those moments of their life. According to
Grotcher and Edwards (1990), when participants used
communication to reduce their fear of their illness, they were
likely to communicate about their illness more often. Walker
and Dickson (2004) show that narratives are important in
understanding and meeting the expectations of the family
members when they are chronically ill. Often times people will
have expectations for their family members without verbally
expressing them, leaving family members more often than not
confused about what direction to take. However, a narrative or
forms of storytelling in the case of a chronic physical illness
may reflect some of the patients unfulfilled needs, and help
family members to identify them.
Chronic Mental Illness
A chronicmental illness can be extremely hard for families to
cope with given the negative social stigmas that exist about the
illness in most societies around the world today. A chronic
mental illness in a family member could lead to almost constant
care and monitoring, depending upon the illness and the
intensity. Families may find it difficult to cope with or come to
terms with a family member’s diagnosis of a chronic mental
illness due to the many challenges it presents. Much of the
literature surrounding mental illness in the family is psychology
based, and there is a strong need for communication based
studies to better understand these unique families.
Marriage. An important aspect of the family dynamic is
marriage. It is the foundation of most families, and gives people
feelings of stability. Communication is essential to marriage,
but little literature exists exploring the communication around a
diagnosis of a mental illness. However, much literature exists
on its effects on marriage. Perry (2014) focused on social
networks and stigma in relation to those with a serious mental
illness. A spouse is a very prominent and strong part of a
married person’s social network. If someone is entering or
exiting a marriage, their social network changes in many
different ways. Perry (2014) found that the stigma of a mental
illness had contact with the social network and the relationship
between the two works ambiguously together. Meaning that the
social network responded to the mental illness through their
own thinking, and proving that spouses typically control family
conversations. Spouses decide the climate of the family views
and values towards different topics as they raise their offspring,
if they choose to have any. Segrin (2006) shows that there is a
strong call for communication scholars to explore the way that
families interact, especially about mental illness, and that a
positive or a negative attitude can set a precedent for what
future family communication will be like based off of how
spouses interact. The different communication processes that
couples partake in set examples for children to interact based
on. Adding mental illness to the mixture, Schmaling and
Jacobson (1990) show that wives that are depressed are more
likely to make an aggressive comment to their husbands than
wives that are not depressed would, and depressed wives have
less positive discussions than their counterparts. These
aggressive statements could likely become a stressor for the
marriage or produce a negative schemata of marriage for
children or adolescents in the family. Segrin (2006) offers that
depression has a large impact on the family, and usually just
creates more problems that tends to result in fueling depression.
However this assertion could also be true of the communication
patterns surrounding may other types of mental illnesses in the
family.
Parent-Child. Looking at the parent-child relationship in
reference to mental illnesses, it is known that parents are the
primary caregivers to children and adolescents with chronic
mental illnesses. Literature mainly focuses on the illness from
the parents’ perspective, rather than the child’s, suggesting that
little is known about children’s perceptions of their parents’
mental illnesses. Richardson, Cobham, McDermott, and Murray
(2013) explained that parent’s feelings of loss about an adult
child with a mental illness focuses on grieving about ambiguous
losses, like the child’s loss of self or identity. This loss and
grieving process has the potential to shape the families
behaviors and patterns of communications. Since there are
usually no tangible effects of a mental illness, parents may
often find it hard to cope with a diagnosis and come to terms
with it. Even harder for families to process is the fact that in
most cultures and societies in the world, there is a negative
social stigma to having a mental illness. Richardson et al.
(2013) also noted that parental grief over the child’s mental
illness was not socially acceptable. Several studies (Richardson
et al., 2013; Chadda, 2014) discussed this notion that parents
felt as though the illness or their own grief should be hidden
because it is not socially acceptable. Most of the struggles that
parents in this situation face are with the topics of self-concepts
and identities, with variance to whether it is their own, or their
child’s’. Richardson et al. (2013) found that the child’s illness
changed the parents own identity. Since the identity and self are
such fluid concepts, it is important to understand the self and
different identities as well as the changes that occur with the
two in accordance to both the parents, and the children. There is
little literature in regards to mental health’s effects on self-
concepts and identities. Aside from the self, another important
factor to contend when discussing mental illness between the
parents and children is parenting styles effects on these children
with mental illnesses. Hamond and Schrodt (2012) explored the
effects of the different parenting styles on children’s mental
health and concluded that there was no statistically significant
evidence that the different styles had an effect on mental health.
However Hamond and Schrodt (2012) continued by noting that
findings indicated that acts of affection and authority make
limited, but important, improvements to the child’s mental
health. When it is the parent in the relationship who is mentally
ill, the communication process is entirely different. As found in
Van Loon, Van de Ven, Van Doesum, Witteman, and Hosman
(2014), where adolescents internalizing and externalizing
behaviors were correlated to parents mental illness. Parents with
mental illnesses were found to have a negative effect on the
adolescent or child, the whole family, and even the parent and
child’s interactions (Van Loon et al., 2014). This literature
exemplifies that parental mental illness controls more channels
of communication than a child or adolescent’s mental illness
does. While much literature exists about families and mental
illness, unfortunately very few scholars focus on the talk that
occurs about the family member with the illness, and the
communication around this topic.
Reviewing the literature leads back to the question: how are
those with a chronic illness treated by their families since their
diagnosis? Analyzing both mental and physical illnesses and the
family communication processes around them are essential to
furthering the conversation that communication scholars are
creating to understand these unique families.
Methodology
To answer the given research question, qualitative methods
would be most appropriate to find an answer. Literature on
related topics suggests that qualitative methods are most
appropriate (Badr & Acitelli, 2005; Berg & Upchurch, 2007;
Chadda, 2014; Freeman & Couchonnal, 2006; Hamond &
Schrodt, 2012; Ott Anderson & Geist Martin, 2003; Richardson
et al., 2013). An ethnographic study should be used because as
Keyton (2011) states, it “…allows the researcher to observe and
understand how communication is generated and responded to in
a particular context” (p. 300). This would aim to aid
researchers’ in their quest to understand the relationship of
participants who are ill in relation to their family members.
This would involve a nonrandom sampling strategy to get the
combination of characteristics needed for the study.
Specifically, purposive sampling, to be able to get close and
personal enough with the participants to have them share details
about their personal lives.
This purposive sample depends upon researchers knowing
what is typical and atypical of the populations they are
studying. A sampling frame of an exhaustive list of chronic
physical and mental illnesses will be created, and participants
will be selected based on whether or not they, or someone in
their immediate family, has one of the listed illnesses. The
sample will be selected by going to local support groups for
individuals with both mental and physical illnesses. A wide
array of illnesses will be selected, and age will be as varied as
possible. Participants who are selected will be contacted via e-
mail or phone call to ask them to participate in the study.
Once participants respond and confirm their consent to
take part in the study, the researcher will begin to go into the
family home and talk to family members. Since ethnography is
similar to a participant observation study, the researcher needs
to build a relationship with the families being studied,
especially with those who have the mental or physical illness, if
possible, to assess the changes that have occurred in behavior
since the diagnosis. Once trust is established, the researcher can
come in and begin recording the conversations about the
diagnosis time, and how participants felt. This data will be
compared to stories from before the diagnosis period, for both
mental and physical illness affected families. A list of
operationalized concepts such as: love, affirmation, avoidance,
and fear, will be created to classify the nonverbal actions
towards the ill family member. Collecting both verbal and
nonverbal accounts can give a better representation of the true
behaviors of family members’ actions, both verbally and
nonverbally towards the chronically ill family member. An
analysis of the responses in relation to the stories around the
diagnosis and before the diagnosis will be compared to the
observed actions of the families in relation to the ill family
member. Once this has been done for both chronic mental
illness and chronic physical illness, the results will be cross
analyzed to compare and contrast the different verbal and
nonverbal communication styles. Using ethnography will allow
for an in depth and lengthy analysis of these different families,
and the effects of mental illnesses and physical illnesses on
family communication.
References
Badr, H., & Acitelli, L. K., (2005). Dyadic adjustment in
chronic illness: Does relationship talk matter? Journal of Family
Psychology.19(3), 465-469. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.19.3.465
Berg, C. A., & Upchurch, R., (2007). A developmental-
contextual model of couples coping with chronic illness across
the adult lifespan. Psychological Bulletin.133(6), 920-954.
Chadda, R. K., (2014). Caring for the family caregivers of
persons with mental illness. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 56(3),
221-227. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.140616
Freeman, E. M., & Couchonnal, G., (2006). Narratives and
culturally based approaches in practices with families. The
Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 43(3), 198-208.
Grotcher, J. M., & Edwards, R., (1990). Coping strategies of
cancer patients: Actual communication and imagined
interactions. Health Communication.2, 255-266.
Hamond, J. D., & Schrodt, P., (2012). Do parental styles
moderate the association between family conformity orientation
and young adults’ mental well-being?. TheJournal of Family
Communication.12, 151-166. doi:
10.1080/15267431.2011.561149
Keyton, J., (2011). Communication research asking questions,
finding answers.New York: McGraw Hill.
Lorde, A., (1980). The cancer journals. San Francisco: Sheba.
Ott Anderson, J., & Geist Martin, P., (2003). Narratives and
healing: Exploring one family’s stories of cancer survivorship.
Health Communication.15(2), 133-143.
Perry, B. L., (2013). Symptoms, stigma, or secondary social
disruption: three mechanisms of network dynamics in severe
mental illness. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships.31(1), 32-53. doi: 10.1177/0265407513484632
Richardson, M., Cobham, V., McDermott, B., & Murray, J.,
(2013). Youth mental illness and the family: parents’ loss and
grief. Journal of Child and Family Studies.22, 719-736. doi:
10.1007/s10826-012-9625-x
Rosland, A., (2009). Sharing the care: the role of family in
chronic illness. California Healthcare Foundation, 1-27.
Retrieved from
http://www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/P
DF/F/PDF%20FamilyInvolvement_Final.pdf
Schmaling, K. B., & Jacobson, N. S., (1990). Marital interaction
and depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 99, 229-236.
Segrin, C., (2006). Family interactions and well-being:
integrative perspectives. The Journal of Family
Communication.6(1), 3-21.
Shuff, J., & Sims, J. D., (2013). Communication Perceptions
Related to Life-Threatening Illness in a Relationship: A Q
Methodology Study. Florida Communication Journal, 41(2), 81-
96.
Van Loon, L. M. A., Van de Ven, M. O. M., Van Doesum, K. T.
M., Witteman, C. L. M., & Hosman, Clemens M. H., (2014).
The relation between parental mental illness and adolescent
mental health: the role of family factors. Journal of Child and
Family Studies. 23, 1201-1214. doi: 10.1007/s10826-013-9781-
7
Walker, K. L., & Dickson F. C., (2004). An exploration of
illness-related narratives in marriage: The identification of
illness-identity scripts. Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships.21(4), 527-544. doi: 10.1177/0265407504044846
Ward, B. W., Schiller, J. S., & Goodman, R. A. (2014). Multiple
chronic conditions among U.S. adults: A 2012 update.
Preventing Chronic Disease.11.
RUNNING HEAD: Why Do Blacks Generally Vote Democrat?
Holmes 0
Why Do Blacks Generally Vote Democrat?
Ariel Holmes
Savannah State University
Senior Seminar
Professor Bongang
In discussion of Ethnic Voting, a dubious issue is whether
African American residents are such faithful casting a ballot
democrat, or will increasingly African Americans vote
Republican. While some argue that African American democrats
have very little to almost nothing religiously in common with
white Democrats. Others battle that the religious conduct of
African American democrats is firmly adjusted even more so
with White Republicans. This is not to say that; the 2020
election will have more democratic votes than the 2016
election. As you continue reading I will describe the evolution
of African-American political participation.
On January 28, 1828 in Washington D.C. under the authority of
President Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren the democratic
party was established. At this point in time, Congress went to
chip away at the fourteenth Amendment they endorsed thirty-
nine years after the party’s establishment in the year of 1867.
The revision disallowed "states from abridging equality before
the law." Part two of the United States Amendment cautioned
that if this was not upheld and the liberated slaves permitted to
cast a ballot, insulting states would lose congressional
representation.
By surprise the Republicans succeeded in helping blacks gain a
voice in government. In the South, defeat was not acknowledged
benevolently. Vile gathering groups like the White League, the
Red Shirts, Ku Klux Klan and other mystery social orders
battled back with lethal brutality to clear out the gains and
reestablish racial domination in the South. It wasn't until the
Great Depression that blacks made the huge move to the
Democratic Party. Studies demonstrate that, since the 1972 race,
the Republican competitor won just around 10 percent of the
African American vote, the Democrat candidate averaged 87
percent.
As we desert some imperative information about the past, the
inquiry that is yet within reach is if the 2020 race will have any
beneficial outcome on the democratic votes more so than the
2016 race. In the 2016 United States presidential election
President Donald Trump defeated Hilary Clinton by basically
out numbering Clinton with his Electoral College votes. Despite
the fact, Clinton won the popular vote of the race by nearly 3
million more votes than Trump.
It is stated, blacks by and large vote democrat since blacks’
trust in their country’s government, While Republicans trust the
direct inverse. Blacks have a background marked by states
shortening their rights, hindering their advancement and
neglecting to protect them. According to Thomas P. Edsall the
Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent agreed that
“racial discrimination is the main reason why many black
people can’t get ahead these days.” Therefore, Voters associated
with a specific ethnic group are bound to vote in favor of
candidates having a place with a similar ethnic background.
That my mate would be called ethnic voting. All voters belong
to an ethnic group. In spite of the fact that casting a vote isn't
an American Citizen requirement, I trust all citizens ought to
use their voices that were given to them. Something their
ancestors shed blood, sweat, and tears for, while the word hard-
work being an understatement for them.
References
1. Edsall, Thomas P. “The Democrats' Left Turn Is Not an
Illusion.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Oct.
2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/democrat-
electorate-left-turn.html. This article discusses how the
Democratic electorate has moved consistently to the left, as
liberals have displaced moderates.
2. March 20, 2016 at 5:00 am |. “Republicans Freed the Slaves,
so Why Do African-Americans Vote Democrat?” The Coeur
D'Alene Press - Local News, 19 Mar. 2016,
www.cdapress.com/archive/article-f2468660-efc2-11e5-9b74-
ef2b7eee8454.html. This article questions how republicans freed
African Americans, so why would they vote democrat.
3. Houle, Christian, et al. “The Structure of Ethnic Inequality
and Ethnic Voting.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 81, no. 1,
2019, pp. 187–200., doi:10.1086/700200. This article is about
why some individuals vote along the lines of ethnicity, while
some don't.

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  • 1. Running head: LIVING WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS 1 Living with Chronic Illnesses 2 Living with chronic illnesses: How are those with a chronic illness treated by their families since their diagnosis? Maura K. Little University of West Florida Abstract This study aims to figure out what the relationship and meaning of the ways that a family treats a family member with a chronic mental or physical illness. The exploration of the way those with a chronic illness are treated since their diagnosis is important to understand the perceptions, behaviors, and communication that surrounds illness. Chronic mental illness will be analyzed against chronic physical illness to assess similarities and differences in family behaviors. Participants included individuals selected from local support groups based on their illness as well as family structure. An ethnographic study would be used to compare both the verbal and nonverbal relationship between the ill family member and the rest of the family.
  • 2. Introduction This study aimed to focus on both physical chronic illnesses and mental chronic illnesses and their effects on family communication, particularly surrounding the diagnosis of the illnesses. Family has a large impact on the perceptions of illness. In recent times, the publicity around individuals with chronic illnesses, both mental and physical, has increased dramatically in the media. From the production of films about those with physical chronic illnesses to celebrity diagnosis of a mental illness, illness is something our society is beginning to talk about more frequently. However there are certain stigmas attached to these illnesses that make it harder for patients and their families to cope with their situation. Most often because of the portrayals of chronic illness that romanticize illnesses and do not necessarily show all of the effects of these illnesses on the patient or their family. Both mental and physical chronic illnesses are much more complex than how they are portrayed in the media. These illnesses often produce copious amounts of side effects that bring a whole new level of challenges to the patient's struggle through their daily life and readjustment after diagnosis. One effect that is often not publicized as much as others is the relationships that exist between the patient and their family.
  • 3. These family relationships may change drastically with the diagnosis of and grappling with a chronic illness, changing how family members perceive one another, how they act, and even how they communicate. All of these things depend upon the nature of the family, and the illness and produce different changes. However, through all different types of families and illnesses, communication in situations like these is essential to understanding one another. According to Rosland (2009), several interviews and focus groups showed that family members lowered stress, and are central to patient success. In most instances, the family is the primary caregiver to someone with a mental or physical chronic illness, and the family relationship is important in the healing process due to proximity and the support received from family members. The diagnosis of a chronic illness has the potential to change the fabric of the family dynamic to help accommodate to the family member who is ill. While it is clear that families often change to accommodate, it is unclear how family members communication changes since the diagnosis of a chronic illness, if change is present at all. Which begs the question: How are those with a chronic illness treated by their families since their diagnosis? Little research exists regarding the potential changes associated with the new found illness. Answering this question will help to make those in a family with one or more person who is chronically ill more aware of their own behavior, and will also shed light on the patients perception of their illness, and how that has been influenced by the family’s communication about the illness. This study is essential to the communication field, particularly health communication, because it adds to the ongoing conversation about how to understand people who are chronically ill and treat them in a world where in 2012, 117 million people had one or more chronic health issues (Ward et al., 2014). This study will explore both chronic physical and mental illness in the context of the family, focusing on marriage, parent-child relationships, and the use of narratives.
  • 4. This will help assess the problems that come with illness, and find out what happens to family communication when a family member gets diagnosed with a chronic illness. Literature Review Chronic physical illness and chronic mental illnesses are reviewed separately here due to the tremendous differences in the two. In this study they will be compared against one another to cross analyze the differences and similarities in how the family member is treated depending upon their type of illness. Chronic Physical Illness Chronic physical illnesses vary in types and intensity, but have one characteristic in common: they recur throughout time, usually at random intervals. The uncertainty that comes along with a diagnosis along these lines can greatly effect family communication and relationships. Marriage. Marriage is the basis of most families in many cultures. Keeping the marital bond strong could be very difficult in the face of a chronic physical illness. A chronic physical illness could potentially change the daily lives and interactions of the entire marital relationship. It is important to discuss the communication that occurs around theses illnesses in order to understand how those who have one have been treated since their diagnosis based on research already conducted around similar communication processes. Badr and Acitelli (2005) found that in couples that used relationship talk, or talking about the nature and direction of the relationship, chronically ill couples had more benefit than a couple that did not include someone who had a chronic physical illness did. This literature proves that in a situation where a spouse is chronically ill, it is important to use communication to make one another aware of certain things such as how one felt about a situation, or what one needs or expects from their partners. Talking about the state of the relationship can be helpful for chronically ill people to express fears in relation to their illness and the marriage. Berg and Upchurch (2007) suggested that collaborative talk is the type of communication that is
  • 5. commonly correlated with positive results. This shows that it is important for married couples to talk about their situation together to keep their relationship strong since these tactics have been proven to be helpful for the couple. Shuff and Sims (2013) add on to this by stating that couples that are aware of their partner’s expectations of communication in the marriage are more successful in supporting one another. Being aware of the partner’s desires and being able to fill them is central to satisfaction in the relationships’ functioning. Marital coping and sharing is not limited to relationship talk though. Another powerful way of sharing within the family is through narrative. Narratives. Something that is strongly recognized and praised throughout literature on chronic physical illnesses is narratives. Several studies (Freeman & Couchonnal, 2006; Ott Anderson & Geist Martin, 2003; Walker & Dickson, 2004) stress the importance of narratives for the family healing process. Narratives are beneficial because they allow research to capture personal accounts of illness, and let the ill person be a gatekeeper to their own information about their illness. Ott Anderson and Geist Martin (2003) state that those with a chronic physical illness are more likely to actively share if their feelings and perceptions are confirmed by other people, especially friends and family. Some chronic illnesses have a negative social stigma to them, and confirmation that people will be respectful is important to getting the patient to open up about their experiences. Narratives and storytelling help families to communicate about changes that have taken place. Ott Anderson and Geist Martin (2003) conclude that the ever changing identity in the face of illness never stops, it is an endless development. Sharing through narrative in cases of chronic physical illness has the potential to better family communication because the patient is able to clearly and concisely explain what is happening to them from their personal point of view. This can help the family identify what the patient has gone through, as well as understand new emerging identities. However, Lorde (1980) points out an important
  • 6. paradox where sometimes patients may be empowered by giving a narrative account of their story, while others may feel anxiety from reliving those moments of their life. According to Grotcher and Edwards (1990), when participants used communication to reduce their fear of their illness, they were likely to communicate about their illness more often. Walker and Dickson (2004) show that narratives are important in understanding and meeting the expectations of the family members when they are chronically ill. Often times people will have expectations for their family members without verbally expressing them, leaving family members more often than not confused about what direction to take. However, a narrative or forms of storytelling in the case of a chronic physical illness may reflect some of the patients unfulfilled needs, and help family members to identify them. Chronic Mental Illness A chronicmental illness can be extremely hard for families to cope with given the negative social stigmas that exist about the illness in most societies around the world today. A chronic mental illness in a family member could lead to almost constant care and monitoring, depending upon the illness and the intensity. Families may find it difficult to cope with or come to terms with a family member’s diagnosis of a chronic mental illness due to the many challenges it presents. Much of the literature surrounding mental illness in the family is psychology based, and there is a strong need for communication based studies to better understand these unique families. Marriage. An important aspect of the family dynamic is marriage. It is the foundation of most families, and gives people feelings of stability. Communication is essential to marriage, but little literature exists exploring the communication around a diagnosis of a mental illness. However, much literature exists on its effects on marriage. Perry (2014) focused on social networks and stigma in relation to those with a serious mental illness. A spouse is a very prominent and strong part of a married person’s social network. If someone is entering or
  • 7. exiting a marriage, their social network changes in many different ways. Perry (2014) found that the stigma of a mental illness had contact with the social network and the relationship between the two works ambiguously together. Meaning that the social network responded to the mental illness through their own thinking, and proving that spouses typically control family conversations. Spouses decide the climate of the family views and values towards different topics as they raise their offspring, if they choose to have any. Segrin (2006) shows that there is a strong call for communication scholars to explore the way that families interact, especially about mental illness, and that a positive or a negative attitude can set a precedent for what future family communication will be like based off of how spouses interact. The different communication processes that couples partake in set examples for children to interact based on. Adding mental illness to the mixture, Schmaling and Jacobson (1990) show that wives that are depressed are more likely to make an aggressive comment to their husbands than wives that are not depressed would, and depressed wives have less positive discussions than their counterparts. These aggressive statements could likely become a stressor for the marriage or produce a negative schemata of marriage for children or adolescents in the family. Segrin (2006) offers that depression has a large impact on the family, and usually just creates more problems that tends to result in fueling depression. However this assertion could also be true of the communication patterns surrounding may other types of mental illnesses in the family. Parent-Child. Looking at the parent-child relationship in reference to mental illnesses, it is known that parents are the primary caregivers to children and adolescents with chronic mental illnesses. Literature mainly focuses on the illness from the parents’ perspective, rather than the child’s, suggesting that little is known about children’s perceptions of their parents’ mental illnesses. Richardson, Cobham, McDermott, and Murray (2013) explained that parent’s feelings of loss about an adult
  • 8. child with a mental illness focuses on grieving about ambiguous losses, like the child’s loss of self or identity. This loss and grieving process has the potential to shape the families behaviors and patterns of communications. Since there are usually no tangible effects of a mental illness, parents may often find it hard to cope with a diagnosis and come to terms with it. Even harder for families to process is the fact that in most cultures and societies in the world, there is a negative social stigma to having a mental illness. Richardson et al. (2013) also noted that parental grief over the child’s mental illness was not socially acceptable. Several studies (Richardson et al., 2013; Chadda, 2014) discussed this notion that parents felt as though the illness or their own grief should be hidden because it is not socially acceptable. Most of the struggles that parents in this situation face are with the topics of self-concepts and identities, with variance to whether it is their own, or their child’s’. Richardson et al. (2013) found that the child’s illness changed the parents own identity. Since the identity and self are such fluid concepts, it is important to understand the self and different identities as well as the changes that occur with the two in accordance to both the parents, and the children. There is little literature in regards to mental health’s effects on self- concepts and identities. Aside from the self, another important factor to contend when discussing mental illness between the parents and children is parenting styles effects on these children with mental illnesses. Hamond and Schrodt (2012) explored the effects of the different parenting styles on children’s mental health and concluded that there was no statistically significant evidence that the different styles had an effect on mental health. However Hamond and Schrodt (2012) continued by noting that findings indicated that acts of affection and authority make limited, but important, improvements to the child’s mental health. When it is the parent in the relationship who is mentally ill, the communication process is entirely different. As found in Van Loon, Van de Ven, Van Doesum, Witteman, and Hosman (2014), where adolescents internalizing and externalizing
  • 9. behaviors were correlated to parents mental illness. Parents with mental illnesses were found to have a negative effect on the adolescent or child, the whole family, and even the parent and child’s interactions (Van Loon et al., 2014). This literature exemplifies that parental mental illness controls more channels of communication than a child or adolescent’s mental illness does. While much literature exists about families and mental illness, unfortunately very few scholars focus on the talk that occurs about the family member with the illness, and the communication around this topic. Reviewing the literature leads back to the question: how are those with a chronic illness treated by their families since their diagnosis? Analyzing both mental and physical illnesses and the family communication processes around them are essential to furthering the conversation that communication scholars are creating to understand these unique families. Methodology To answer the given research question, qualitative methods would be most appropriate to find an answer. Literature on related topics suggests that qualitative methods are most appropriate (Badr & Acitelli, 2005; Berg & Upchurch, 2007; Chadda, 2014; Freeman & Couchonnal, 2006; Hamond & Schrodt, 2012; Ott Anderson & Geist Martin, 2003; Richardson et al., 2013). An ethnographic study should be used because as Keyton (2011) states, it “…allows the researcher to observe and understand how communication is generated and responded to in a particular context” (p. 300). This would aim to aid researchers’ in their quest to understand the relationship of participants who are ill in relation to their family members. This would involve a nonrandom sampling strategy to get the combination of characteristics needed for the study. Specifically, purposive sampling, to be able to get close and personal enough with the participants to have them share details about their personal lives. This purposive sample depends upon researchers knowing what is typical and atypical of the populations they are
  • 10. studying. A sampling frame of an exhaustive list of chronic physical and mental illnesses will be created, and participants will be selected based on whether or not they, or someone in their immediate family, has one of the listed illnesses. The sample will be selected by going to local support groups for individuals with both mental and physical illnesses. A wide array of illnesses will be selected, and age will be as varied as possible. Participants who are selected will be contacted via e- mail or phone call to ask them to participate in the study. Once participants respond and confirm their consent to take part in the study, the researcher will begin to go into the family home and talk to family members. Since ethnography is similar to a participant observation study, the researcher needs to build a relationship with the families being studied, especially with those who have the mental or physical illness, if possible, to assess the changes that have occurred in behavior since the diagnosis. Once trust is established, the researcher can come in and begin recording the conversations about the diagnosis time, and how participants felt. This data will be compared to stories from before the diagnosis period, for both mental and physical illness affected families. A list of operationalized concepts such as: love, affirmation, avoidance, and fear, will be created to classify the nonverbal actions towards the ill family member. Collecting both verbal and nonverbal accounts can give a better representation of the true behaviors of family members’ actions, both verbally and nonverbally towards the chronically ill family member. An analysis of the responses in relation to the stories around the diagnosis and before the diagnosis will be compared to the observed actions of the families in relation to the ill family member. Once this has been done for both chronic mental illness and chronic physical illness, the results will be cross analyzed to compare and contrast the different verbal and nonverbal communication styles. Using ethnography will allow for an in depth and lengthy analysis of these different families, and the effects of mental illnesses and physical illnesses on
  • 11. family communication. References Badr, H., & Acitelli, L. K., (2005). Dyadic adjustment in chronic illness: Does relationship talk matter? Journal of Family Psychology.19(3), 465-469. doi: 10.1037/0893-3200.19.3.465 Berg, C. A., & Upchurch, R., (2007). A developmental- contextual model of couples coping with chronic illness across the adult lifespan. Psychological Bulletin.133(6), 920-954. Chadda, R. K., (2014). Caring for the family caregivers of persons with mental illness. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 56(3), 221-227. doi: 10.4103/0019-5545.140616 Freeman, E. M., & Couchonnal, G., (2006). Narratives and culturally based approaches in practices with families. The Journal of Contemporary Social Services. 43(3), 198-208. Grotcher, J. M., & Edwards, R., (1990). Coping strategies of cancer patients: Actual communication and imagined interactions. Health Communication.2, 255-266.
  • 12. Hamond, J. D., & Schrodt, P., (2012). Do parental styles moderate the association between family conformity orientation and young adults’ mental well-being?. TheJournal of Family Communication.12, 151-166. doi: 10.1080/15267431.2011.561149 Keyton, J., (2011). Communication research asking questions, finding answers.New York: McGraw Hill. Lorde, A., (1980). The cancer journals. San Francisco: Sheba. Ott Anderson, J., & Geist Martin, P., (2003). Narratives and healing: Exploring one family’s stories of cancer survivorship. Health Communication.15(2), 133-143. Perry, B. L., (2013). Symptoms, stigma, or secondary social disruption: three mechanisms of network dynamics in severe mental illness. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.31(1), 32-53. doi: 10.1177/0265407513484632 Richardson, M., Cobham, V., McDermott, B., & Murray, J., (2013). Youth mental illness and the family: parents’ loss and grief. Journal of Child and Family Studies.22, 719-736. doi: 10.1007/s10826-012-9625-x Rosland, A., (2009). Sharing the care: the role of family in chronic illness. California Healthcare Foundation, 1-27. Retrieved from http://www.chcf.org/~/media/MEDIA%20LIBRARY%20Files/P DF/F/PDF%20FamilyInvolvement_Final.pdf Schmaling, K. B., & Jacobson, N. S., (1990). Marital interaction and depression. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 99, 229-236. Segrin, C., (2006). Family interactions and well-being: integrative perspectives. The Journal of Family Communication.6(1), 3-21. Shuff, J., & Sims, J. D., (2013). Communication Perceptions Related to Life-Threatening Illness in a Relationship: A Q Methodology Study. Florida Communication Journal, 41(2), 81- 96. Van Loon, L. M. A., Van de Ven, M. O. M., Van Doesum, K. T. M., Witteman, C. L. M., & Hosman, Clemens M. H., (2014). The relation between parental mental illness and adolescent
  • 13. mental health: the role of family factors. Journal of Child and Family Studies. 23, 1201-1214. doi: 10.1007/s10826-013-9781- 7 Walker, K. L., & Dickson F. C., (2004). An exploration of illness-related narratives in marriage: The identification of illness-identity scripts. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.21(4), 527-544. doi: 10.1177/0265407504044846 Ward, B. W., Schiller, J. S., & Goodman, R. A. (2014). Multiple chronic conditions among U.S. adults: A 2012 update. Preventing Chronic Disease.11. RUNNING HEAD: Why Do Blacks Generally Vote Democrat? Holmes 0 Why Do Blacks Generally Vote Democrat? Ariel Holmes Savannah State University
  • 14. Senior Seminar Professor Bongang In discussion of Ethnic Voting, a dubious issue is whether African American residents are such faithful casting a ballot democrat, or will increasingly African Americans vote Republican. While some argue that African American democrats have very little to almost nothing religiously in common with white Democrats. Others battle that the religious conduct of African American democrats is firmly adjusted even more so with White Republicans. This is not to say that; the 2020 election will have more democratic votes than the 2016 election. As you continue reading I will describe the evolution of African-American political participation. On January 28, 1828 in Washington D.C. under the authority of President Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren the democratic party was established. At this point in time, Congress went to chip away at the fourteenth Amendment they endorsed thirty- nine years after the party’s establishment in the year of 1867. The revision disallowed "states from abridging equality before the law." Part two of the United States Amendment cautioned that if this was not upheld and the liberated slaves permitted to cast a ballot, insulting states would lose congressional representation. By surprise the Republicans succeeded in helping blacks gain a voice in government. In the South, defeat was not acknowledged benevolently. Vile gathering groups like the White League, the Red Shirts, Ku Klux Klan and other mystery social orders battled back with lethal brutality to clear out the gains and reestablish racial domination in the South. It wasn't until the Great Depression that blacks made the huge move to the Democratic Party. Studies demonstrate that, since the 1972 race,
  • 15. the Republican competitor won just around 10 percent of the African American vote, the Democrat candidate averaged 87 percent. As we desert some imperative information about the past, the inquiry that is yet within reach is if the 2020 race will have any beneficial outcome on the democratic votes more so than the 2016 race. In the 2016 United States presidential election President Donald Trump defeated Hilary Clinton by basically out numbering Clinton with his Electoral College votes. Despite the fact, Clinton won the popular vote of the race by nearly 3 million more votes than Trump. It is stated, blacks by and large vote democrat since blacks’ trust in their country’s government, While Republicans trust the direct inverse. Blacks have a background marked by states shortening their rights, hindering their advancement and neglecting to protect them. According to Thomas P. Edsall the Pew survey data collected in 2017, 79.2 percent agreed that “racial discrimination is the main reason why many black people can’t get ahead these days.” Therefore, Voters associated with a specific ethnic group are bound to vote in favor of candidates having a place with a similar ethnic background. That my mate would be called ethnic voting. All voters belong to an ethnic group. In spite of the fact that casting a vote isn't an American Citizen requirement, I trust all citizens ought to use their voices that were given to them. Something their ancestors shed blood, sweat, and tears for, while the word hard- work being an understatement for them. References 1. Edsall, Thomas P. “The Democrats' Left Turn Is Not an
  • 16. Illusion.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 18 Oct. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/democrat- electorate-left-turn.html. This article discusses how the Democratic electorate has moved consistently to the left, as liberals have displaced moderates. 2. March 20, 2016 at 5:00 am |. “Republicans Freed the Slaves, so Why Do African-Americans Vote Democrat?” The Coeur D'Alene Press - Local News, 19 Mar. 2016, www.cdapress.com/archive/article-f2468660-efc2-11e5-9b74- ef2b7eee8454.html. This article questions how republicans freed African Americans, so why would they vote democrat. 3. Houle, Christian, et al. “The Structure of Ethnic Inequality and Ethnic Voting.” The Journal of Politics, vol. 81, no. 1, 2019, pp. 187–200., doi:10.1086/700200. This article is about why some individuals vote along the lines of ethnicity, while some don't.