Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Mary Claire Morr Serewicz, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Fran Dickson

Third Advisor

Elizabeth A. Suter

Fourth Advisor

Chip Reichardt


Family communication, Grounded theory, Long distance, Relationship maintenance, Thai student


Although a growing amount of research in relational maintenance has began to focus intensively on long-distance relationships (LDRs), especially marital, dating, and friendship relationships, little attention has focus on the process of maintaining LDRs in non-Western families. The objective of this study was, first, to explore the experience of Thai adult students who maintain LDRs with their parents. Second, this study identified Thai students’ specific relational maintenance behaviors and examined the channels of mediated communication used among Thai adult students and their family members.

This study utilized a qualitative method framed by a grounded theory approach to uncover the experience of LDR maintenance of 38 Thai students living in the state of Colorado. Through a constant comparative method of analysis, four underlying categories were identified from the transcriptions of semi-structured interviews: the contact, the medium, the talk, and the motive. This study found that these four categories represented the feelings and behaviors that were interrelated and, when integrated, defined the process of parent-child LDR maintenance. In addition, the process of maintaining a state of distal interaction through main channels (i.e., cell phone) benefited familial relationship maintenance.

This LDR maintenance process involved dynamic activities during a conditional separation period between Thai students and their parents. This study extended the literature on maintaining long-distance familial relationships and provided a pattern of action and activities of Thai adult students’ LDR maintenance behaviors.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Thammaphong Isarabhakdi


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

146 p.