Dawn O. Braithwaite

Dawn O Braithwaite
Department Chair & Willa Cather Professor, Interpersonal & Family Communication Communication Studies

Ph.D., University of Minnesota

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DR. DAWN O. BRAITHWAITE, WILLA CATHER PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT CHAIR, studies how people in personal and family relationships communicate and manage 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 125 articles and is co-author or co-editor of five books including Family Communication: Cohesion and Change and Engaging Theories in Interpersonal Communication. She received the National Communication Association's Brommel Award for Outstanding Contributions in Family Communication, the Family Communication Division's Book Award, the UNL College of Arts and Sciences Award for Outstanding Research in Social Science. Dr. Braithwaite was named the Western States Communication Association Distinguished Scholar in 2014.  She is currently a Senior Fellow with the Council on Contemporary Families. Dr. Braithwaite is a Past President of the Western States Communication Association and received the Distinguished Service Award. She is a Past President of the National Communication Association.


Braithwaite, D. O., Suter, E. A., & Floyd, K. (Eds.). (2018). Engaging theories in family communication: Multiple perspectives. (2nd ed.) New York, NY: Routledge.

Metts, S., Schrodt, P., & Braithwaite, D. O. (2017). Stepchildren’s communicative and emotional journey from divorce to remarriage: predictors of stepfamily satisfaction. Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 58, 29-43.    

Braithwaite, D.O., Marsh, J., Tschampl-Diesing, C., & Leach, M. (2017). “Love needs to be exchanged”: A diary study of interaction and enactment of the family kinkeeper role. Western Journal of Communication, 81 (5), 1-19.  

Braithwaite D. O., Moore, J, & Stephenson Abetz, J. (2014). "I need numbers before I will buy it": Reading and writing qualitative scholarships on personal relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31, 490-496.

Braithwaite, D. O. Stephenson Abetz, J., Moore, J., & Brockhage, K. (2016). Communication structures of supplemental voluntary kin relationshipsFamily Relations, 65, 616-630.