Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Whitworth professor’s article on sibling relationships named Article of the Year


Last November, an article by Whitworth Associate Professor of Communication Studies Alan Mikkelson, '00, was chosen as Journal of Family Communication’s Article of the Year. The article, “Different Solicitudes of Social Support in Different Types of Adult Sibling Relationships,” overcame the journal’s rejection rate of more than 90 percent to be published in the journal’s volume 11 issue four last fall.

“Having my article named article of the year encouraged me more than anything,” says Mikkelson. “Getting the article published was a difficult process. Many of the ideas in the paper are controversial, so winning the award was a bit of vindication, too.”

Mikkelson’s article is based upon his dissertation and focuses on the amount of social support communicated between different types of adult siblings — such as identical twins, full siblings and adopted siblings. His results indicate that the amount of genetic similarity plays a role in how much social support siblings communicate. Siblings who are more genetically related generate more social support than siblings who are less genetically related.

“I started this work because of my interest in brothers particularly,” says Mikkelson, who has one brother. “The fact is that there is little research that explores communication between siblings, especially after they move from adolescence to adulthood.”

Mikkelson was presented with the Article of the Year certificate at the National Communication Association’s Family Communication Division business meeting on Nov. 17.

Mikkelson says receiving this award among fellow Family Communication Division members was a fantastic experience. He works alongside many of the members of that division and knows the valuable contributions they make to the study of family communication.

Mikkelson joined the Whitworth faculty in 2005. His areas of specialization include family, relational and nonverbal communication as well as religion and communication. He is also an editorial board member of Journal of Family Communication.

Journal of Family Communication publishes original empirical and theoretical papers that advance the reader’s understanding of communication processes within or about families. It is also committed to publishing manuscripts that address issues related to the intersection between families, communication and social systems such as mass media, education, healthcare, and law & policy.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.