Year of Award


Document Type


Degree Type

Master of Arts (MA)

Degree Name

Communication Studies

Department or School/College

Department of Communication Studies

Committee Chair

Christina G. Yoshimura

Commitee Members

Jennifer R. Considine, Kathy J. Kuipers


family, friends, young adults, fictive kin, symbolic interaction


University of Montana


Current research on fictive kin primarily focuses on the assignment of the fictive kin relationship, and does not focus on how acceptance of an individual as fictive kin is communicatively constructed. This research offers a look into how young adults communicate acceptance in their fictive kin relationships. Four focus groups and seven semi-structured interviews were conducted with young adults regarding their interactions that co-constructed meaning in their fictive kin relationships and how acceptance as fictive kin was communicatively constructed. A grounded theory constant comparison method is used to analyze the focus groups and interviews. The data were used to develop themes and extend the current research on fictive kin. The findings of this study illustrates how individuals are accepted into fictive kin relationships as expressed in term of events that co-construct meaning such as activities with fictive kin, the themes of stories about and rituals with fictive kin, and messages of acceptance. Additionally, this study finds that fictive kin relationships among young adults are structured in two ways, with their family of origin or separate from the family of origin. Suggestions are made for future research focusing on longitudinal studies of fictive kin among single adults as well as the structure of fictive kin relationships.



© Copyright 2007 Kimberly Anne Clinger