Enacted Goal Attention in Family Conversations about End-of-life Health Decisions

Allison M. Scott, John P. Caughlin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Most extant research on end-of-life communication in families has been based on the assumption that more communication is better communication. We used a multiple goals theoretical perspective to demonstrate that the quality of communication about end-of-life decisions matters. Members of 121 older parent/adult child dyads (N = 242) engaged in an elicited conversation about end-of-life health choices and reported their assessments of the conversation. Using multilevel linear modeling, we found that outside ratings of a person's communication quality (i.e., attention to task, identity, and relational goals) as well as outside ratings of the partner's communication quality were positively associated with the person's reported conversational satisfaction and hopefulness and negatively associated with the person's hurt feelings and relational distancing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-284
Number of pages24
JournalCommunication Monographs
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Decision-making
  • End of Life
  • Family
  • Goals
  • Health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics


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