Dawn O. Braithwaite
Professor Emerita, Interpersonal and Family Communication Communication Studies

Communication Matters Blog via Psychology Today

Dr. Braithwaite studies how people in personal and family relationships communicate and negotiate family change and challenges. Her research centers on communication in understudied and changing families, communication rituals, and dialectics of relating in stepfamilies and among voluntary (fictive) kin. 

Dr. Braithwaite has authored over 150 articles and is co-author or co-editor of six books including Family Communication: Cohesion and Change and Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication. She is a Distinguished Scholar and Past President of the National Communication Association and the Western States Communication Association.


  • James O'Hanlon Academic Leader Award, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Distinguished Scholar, National Communication Association
  • Dawn O. Braithwaite Distinguished Book Award, Family Communication Division, National Communication Association (book award renamed)
  • National Communication Association's Brommel Award for Outstanding Contributions in Family Communication
  • National Communication Association's Becker Distinguished Service Award for scholarship, mentoring, and service
  • Distinguished Scholar, Western States Communication Association
  • Outstanding book awards from the NCA Family Communication Division and Interpersonal Communication Division
  • UNL College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Research in Social Science


Representative Publications

Oliver, B., Braithwaite, D. O. Waldron, V., Hall, R., Hackenburg, L., & Worman, B. (2022). Protector and friend: Turning points and discursive construction of the stepparent role. Family Relations.

Waldron, V., Braithwaite, D. O., Oliver-Blackburn, B., & Avalos, B. (2022). Paths to positivity: Relational trajectories and interaction in positive stepparent-stepchild dyads. Journal of Family Communication.

Bach, B.W., Braithwaite, D.O., & Ganesh, S. (Eds.) (2022). By degrees: Resilience, relationships and success in communication graduate studies. Cognella.

Braithwaite, D. O. & Schrodt P. (Eds.). (2022). Engaging theories in interpersonal communication: Multiple perspectives (3nd ed.).

Braithwaite, D. O., & Suter, E. (in press). Family communication. In K. Adamsons, A. L. Few-Demo, C. M. Proulx, & K. Roy (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methodologies: A dynamic approach (pp. 531-548). Springer.

Braithwaite, D. O., Waldron, V. R., Allen, J., Bergquist, G., Marsh, J., Oliver, B., Storck, K., Swords, N., & Tschampl-Diesing, C. (2018). "Feeling warmth and close to her": Communication and resilience reflected in turning points in positive adult stepchild-stepparent relationships. Journal of Family Communication, 18, 92-109.


Ph.D., University of Minnesota