Jenna Abetz, PH.D.

Associate Professor


B.A., James Madison University 
M.A., San Diego State University 
Ph.D., University of Nebraska-Lincoln  

Research Interests 

Communication within and about interpersonal and family relationships. Specifically, I explore how individuals construct, make sense of, and negotiate identity during periods of relational transition.  This work has included analyses of emerging adulthood, LBGTQ families, parent-child estrangement, motherhood, learning disabilities, dual-career couples, and financial uncertainty.   

Courses Taught 

COMM 215: Communication, Identity, & Community 
COMM 315: Ethical Dimensions of Interpersonal Communication 
COMM 336: Addressing Problems in Interpersonal Communication  
COMM 410: Family Communication 
COMM 480/481: Capstone [Narrative, Identity & Relationships] 
COMM 561: Identity and Impression Management  


Selected Publications 

Abetz, J. S., Romo, L. K., & Marr, C. (2023).  Defining and exploring frenemy relationships.  Southern Communication Journal, 88, 172-184.  

Abetz, J. S. (2022). “I have fought this system since the moment he stepped into school”: Exploring sources of uncertainty for mothers of children with dyslexia. American Journal of Qualitative Research, 6(3), 212-228. 

Abetz, J. S., & Romo, L. K. (2021).  A normative approach to understanding how “boomerang kids” communicatively negotiate moving back home.  Emerging Adulthood, 10, 1095-1197.  

Tyler, T. R., & Abetz, J. S. (2020). Relational turningpoints in the parent and LGBTQ child coming out process. Journal of Family Studies, 28, 858-878. 

Abetz, J. S.  (2019). I want to be both, but is that possible?”: Communicating mother-scholar uncertainty during doctoral candidacy.  Journal of Women and Gender in Higher Education, 12, 70-87. 

Moore, J., & Abetz, J. S. (2019).  What do parents regret? Regrets surrounding having children and regretting having children.  Journal of Family Issues, 40, 390-412. 

Abetz, J. S., & Moore, J. (2018).  “Welcome to the mommy wars, ladies”: Making sense of the ideology of combative mothering in mommy blogs.  Communication, Culture & Critique, 11, 265-281. 

Abetz, J. S., & Wang, T. R. (2017). “Were they ever really happy the way that I remember?”: Exploring sources of uncertainty for adult children of divorce.  Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, 58, 194-211. 

Abetz, J. S. (2016).  “You can be anything but you can’t have it all”: Discursive struggles of career ambition during doctoral candidacy.  Western Journal of Communication, 80, 539-558. 

Moore, J., & Abetz, J. S. (2016).  “Uh oh. Cue the [new] mommy wars”: The ideology of combative mothering in popular US newspapers articles about attachment parenting.  Southern Communication Journal, 81, 49-62.  


Press & Media  


Lucas, J. (2023, June 27).  The doll mommies are fighting.  Cosmopolitan. 


Travers, M. (2023, April 12). Psychologists define what the term ‘frenemy’ really means.  Forbes. 


Kantor, A. (2022, July 12).  Housing costs drive more people to move back in with their parents.  Bloomberg. 


North, A. (2021, May 19).  The real reason American parents hate each other: A lack of support splits parents into warring factions.  Here’s what we could do to stop the fighting.  Vox. 


Mehta, V. (2019, September 16).  What parents regret about having children: New research explores a taboo topic.  Psychology Today.