Streaming Media


Pamela Ferris-Olson is a 2013 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Below: Dr. Ferris-Olson [center] at her Dissertation Defense with Dissertation Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Holloway [left] and one of the Dissertation Committee members, Dr. Teresa Thompson [right]


narrative inquiry, mothers, daughters, grandmothers, women's leadership, intergenerational communication, positive communication, interracial communication, relational practice, storytelling, connection, talking circle, womens studies, motherwork

Document Type


Publication Date



Narrative inquiry was used to understand how women’s experiences with their mothers, grandmothers, and daughters and as mothers, grandmothers, and daughters contribute to their meaning making of communication and connectedness with unrelated women. A purposeful sample of nine women aged 31-69 from a small Midwestern city was studied. Six African American and three white women were chosen for their membership in a group that has regularly engaged in positive intergenerational communication for nearly two years. The women’s narratives of personal communicative experiences within their families and with the other women were recorded and interpreted to gain a deeper understanding of how past experiences shape present communicative interactions and feelings of connectedness. Some of the findings validated previous research. Three concepts—sistership, play, and storytelling—distinguished the current study. These three emergent themes are noteworthy for their importance in building and maintaining connection and for the promotion of positive communication across generations and race. The electronic version of this dissertation is available in the open-access OhioLink ETD Center,