Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Communication Studies

First Advisor

Kristine Munoz


This mixed-methods dissertation study examined how divorced, nonresidential fathers enact their identities as fathers with their nonresidential children via various communication modalities through the lens of Hecht's (1993) Communication Theory of Identity. After a pilot study, data was collected in two phases. In Phase I, fathers responded to an online survey. The results of this phase were analyzed using SPSS. The results indicated that, although there was a large degree of variability in these fathers' use of various modes of communication, several men utilized multiple modalities to interact with their nonresidential children. The results of Phase I also call attention to the enabling and constraining features of various modes of communication as they facilitated and/or restricted certain types of conversations.

Phase II consisted of exploring two case studies in which fathers shared redacted transcripts of actual mediated interaction with their children. The transcripts were expanded using Labov and Fanshel's (1977) cross-sectional analysis and the interactions were then thematically analyzed and compared to a typology of fathering roles identified by previous research. The case studies provided two different perspectives of the same issue. Albeit in different ways both case studies demonstrated the inherent link between interaction and identity enactment. That is, one cannot enact his or her identity apart from interaction with others--and in these particular cases, with specific others.

The dissertation concludes with a synthesis of the results of Phases I and II in light of several unsolicited emails I received from of my participants. Ultimately, this dissertation study highlights the inseparable connection between interpersonal communication and the means by which communication is mediated.


Communication, Divorce, Fathering, Identity, Social Media


xiv, 234 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 224-234).


Copyright 2012 Curtis Bricker Livesay

Included in

Communication Commons