The Influences of Family Communication Patterns on Undergraduate-Family Contacts


Going to college leads to a natural separation for individuals from their families. This is a period when students adjust themselves to meet the academic, social and personal-emotional needs and become more mature both physically and psychologically. And family communication patterns have been proved to affect ones’ college adaptation. On the one hand, Those from high communication-oriented families perform better than others contingent on their stronger communication competence; on the other hand, suitable family attachment with emotional support is also helpful. And this study aims to examine the relationship between family communication patterns and undergraduates’ family contact.

The survey was administered twice, once in December, 2019 and the second in February, 2020. I collected 52 questionnaires for the former study and 198 questionnaires for the latter one. With the inventory of Revised Family Communication Patterns (RFCP), both studies require participants to measure their family communication patterns before and during college, as well as the frequency to contact their family. While the former one includes the members living together and the latter one includes the frequency of returning home, the results of the two are consistent.

One of the main findings is that while communication orientation relates to family contacts significantly, conformity orientation has little relationship with family connection in college. Two studies reveal that a higher level of communication-oriented environment contributes to more family contacts and more use of long-distance communication methods, such as cellphone and Wechat. However, the negative correlation between conformity orientation and contact is significant only in the second study at the confidence level of 90%. Besides, the family communication patterns during college are equal to the ones before college.

Generally, this paper concludes that undergraduates’ contacts with their families are related to ones’ family communication patterns, especially to the communication orientation. The conclusion also emphasizes the differences between communication orientation and conformity orientation, which indicates that different from communication orientation the influences of conformity orientation would reduce after leaving home to college. And thus, it is recommended that future research takes care of the conformity orientation especially when it comes to the change of life stage, physical distance and personal socialization.