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

Ph.D., University of Minnesota

See Dr. Braithwaite's Message from the Department Chair



DR. DAWN O. BRAITHWAITE, WILLA CATHER PROFESSOR AND DEPARTMENT CHAIR, 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 120 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 NCA Family Communication Division Book Award and the Interpersonal Communication Miller 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 and received NCA’s Becker Distinguished Service Award.


Galvin, K., Braithwaite, D. O., Schrodt, P., & Bylund, C. (2019). Family communication:  Cohesion and change (10th ed.).  New York, NY: Routledge.

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 Communication18, 92-109.

Braithwaite, D. O., Suter, E. A., & Floyd, K. (Eds.). (2018). Engaging theories in family communicationMultiple 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 Remarriage58, 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 Communication81 (5), 1-19.  

 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.