Communicating about heart healthy lifestyle changes: Challenges and strategies among couples coping with a cardiac event

daena goldsmith_Scheidel 07Dr. Daena Goldsmith
Associate Professor of Communication
Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Lecture: 3:30 p.m.
Reception: 5:00 to 6:00 p.m.
Communications 126
RSVP to vsprang@u.washington.edu

“Communicating about heart healthy lifestyle changes: Challenges and strategies among couples coping with a cardiac event”

Persons who experience a heart attack or bypass surgery are frequently advised to make lifestyle changes (e.g., diet, exercise, smoking cessation, stress management). Spouses/partners can play a pivotal role in encouraging patient lifestyle change and this often occurs through communication. However, talking about these issues may be complicated by multiple meanings patients and partners attribute to their conversations. Talking can implicate closeness, caring, responsibility, and empowerment but can also imply control, obligation, conflict, and loss. Professor Goldsmith will discuss findings of a study on the challenges couples face and some of the strategies they use as they talk about lifestyle change in the first year following a cardiac event. Studying communication in this context has implications for communication theory and for interventions aimed at supporting lifestyle change among cardiac patients and their partners. Daena Goldsmith’s research addresses how relational partners manage multiple goals in their communication about health-related issues. Current projects focus on couples coping with heart disease or cancer and she is co-investigator on an NIH-funded project to investigate the effects of social support for persons with HIV/AIDS. She has authored a book, Communicating Social Support (2004, Cambridge University Press) and recent articles have appeared in Social Science and Medicine, Communication Yearbook 31, Health Communication, and Communication Monographs. She teaches courses in relational communication, health communication, gender, and culture. She received her MA (’88), and her PhD in (’90) from the Department of Speech Communication at the University of Washington.

Bio: Daena Goldsmith is Associate Professor of Communication at Lewis and Clark College, Portland, OR. Her research addresses how relational partners manage multiple goals in their communication about health-related issues. Current projects focus on couples coping with heart disease or cancer and she is co-investigator on an NIH-funded project to investigate the effects of  social support for persons with HIV/AIDS. She has authored a book, Communicating Social Support (2004, Cambridge University Press) and recent articles have appeared in Social Science and Medicine, Communication Yearbook 31, Health Communication, and Communication Monographs. She teaches courses in  relational communication, health communication, gender, and culture.