University of Nebraska experts can share insights in how families communicate in times of illness and stress. They can explain what happens when a family gets involved in the legal system. They can discuss parental responsibility, juvenile justice and elder care. They can even can offer tips on how to survive holiday gatherings when Uncle Ed and cousin Emily just have to talk politics.
Dawn Braithwaite studies how people in personal and family relationships communicate and manage family change and challenges. An award-winning scholar, she has examined communication in changing families, stepfamilies and “voluntary kin” – the families people create with people who may not be their blood relatives. She also is a thoughtful source on how to communicate during those sometimes difficult holiday dinners with extended family, when awkward or divisive topics seem to rise up.
Jody Kellas studies interpersonal, family and health communication. She studies how families use narratives, storytelling and related techniques to cope with difficulty and illness.
Brank holds a law degree and doctorate from UNL’s law-psychology program. Her research focuses primarily on the way the law intervenes and sometimes interferes in family and personal decision making. In particular she studies the public support, implementation and effectiveness of parental responsibility laws associated with the juvenile justice system. She also studies the legal requirements for elder care giving.