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Haley Horstman


Education: PhD, University of Nebraska-Lincoln (2012)

Dr. Haley Kranstuber Horstman researches communicated sense-making in the context of family adversity and diversity. She grounds much of her work in narrative theorizing and methodology. Haley often studies diverse families as a context ripe with sense-making. Currently, she is working on several grant-funded projects studying communicated sense-making in the contexts of miscarriage, open adoptive families, and mother-daughter relationships. Her work has been published in top-ranked peer-reviewed journals such as Communication Monographs, Health Communication, Journal of Applied Communication Research, Journal of Family Communication, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, and Personal Relationships.

Haley has been awarded fourteen Top Paper and Top Panel Awards for her work at international, national, and regional conferences. At MU, she has been awarded the Advisor of the Year Award in the Communication Department. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, she was awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award, Phyllis Japp Scholar Award, and Centennial Fellowship. Haley was recently granted the MU South Africa Exchange Program Grant, which funded her research in Cape Town, South Africa on parent-child communicated sense-making about apartheid.

Haley has been the program director and assistant program director for the Communication and Culture study abroad program, located in Siena, Italy (

Along with Dr. Colleen Colaner, Haley is a founder and co-director of the Institute of Family Diversity and Communication (, an interdisciplinary working group of researcher examining issues facing modern families.

Frequently Taught Courses
COMMUN 3561 – Relational Communication
COMMUN 3422 – Communication Research Methods
COMMUN 9330 – Special Topics in Interpersonal Communication – Narratives in and about Personal Relationships
COMMUN 9330 – Seminar in Family Communication

Selected Recent Publications
*Indicates graduate student author

Horstman, H. K. (2018). Young adult women’s narrative resilience in relation to mother-daughter communicated narrative sense-making and well-being. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. [online publication first] doi:10.1177/0123456789123456

Horstman, H. K., Schrodt, P., Warner, B., Koerner, A., *Maliski, R., *Hays, A., & Colaner, C. W. (2018). Expanding the conceptual and empirical boundaries of family communication patterns: The development and validation of an expanded conformity orientation scale. Communication Monographs, 65, 157-180. doi:10.1080/03637751.2018.1428354

Horstman, H.K., Colaner, C.W., *Nelson, L.R., *Bish, A., & *Hays, A. (2018). Communicatively constructing the birth parent relationship in open adoptive families: Naming, connecting, and relational functioning. Journal of Family Communication, 18, 183-152. doi:10.1080/15267431.2018.1429444

Colaner, C. W., Horstman, H.K., & Rittenour, C. R. (2018). Negotiating adoptive and birth shared family identity: A social identity complexity approach. Western Journal of Communication, 82, 393-415. doi:10.1080/10570314.2017.1384564

Horstman, H.K., & Holman, A. (2017). Communicated sense-making after miscarriage: A dyadic analysis of husband and wife communicated perspective-taking, affect, and parenting role salience. Health Communication, 33, 1317-1326. doi:10.1080/10410236.2017.1351852

Horstman, H.K., *Butauski, M., *Johnsen, L., & Colaner, C. W. (2017). The communication privacy management of adopted individuals in their social networks: Disclosure decisions in light of the discourse of biological normativity. Communication Studies, 68, 293-313. doi:10.1080/10510974.2017.1324890

Koenig Kellas, J., Carr, K, Horstman, H.K., & DiLillo, D. (2017). Communicated perspective-taking in marriage: Developing the CPT Observational Rating Scheme and testing actor and partner effects on marital satisfaction and mental health. Personal Relationships, 78, 326-351. doi:10.1111/pere.12177

*Nelson, L., & Horstman, H.K. (2017). Communicated meaning-making in foster families: Relationships between foster parents’ entrance narratives and foster child well-being. Communication Quarterly, 65, 144-166. doi:10.1080/01463373.2016.1215337

Horstman, H. K., Anderson, J., & Kuehl, R. A. (2017). Making sense of the role of a doula in childbirth: Implications for the U.S. master birth narrative. Health Communication, 32, 1510-1519. doi:10.1080/10410236.2016.1234537

Thorson, A. R., & Horstman, H.K. (2016). Unpacking the consumer socialization model: Emerging adults, family communication patterns, and financial socialization. Western Journal of Communication, 81, 483-506. doi:10.1080/10570314.2016.1263361

Horstman, H.K., Colaner, C.W., & Rittenour, C. (2016). Contributing factors of adult adoptees’ identity work and self-esteem: Family communication patterns and adoption-specific communication. Journal of Family Communication, 16, 263-276. doi:10.1080/15267431.2016.1181069

*Hays, A., & Horstman, H.K., Colaner, C. W., & *Nelson, L.R. (2016). “She chose us to be your parents”: Exploring the content and process of adoption entrance narratives told in families formed through open adoption. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 33, 917-937. doi:10.1177/0265407515611494

Horstman, H.K., *Maliski, R., *Hays, A., *Cox, J., *Enderle, A., & *Nelson, L.R. (2016). Unfolding narrative meaning over time: The cognitive and communicative components of narrative sense-making and well-being in mother-daughter conversations of difficulty. Communication Monographs, 83, 326-348. doi:10.1080/03637751.2015.1068945