Allison Thorson

Allison Thorson

Associate Professor

Program Director • Full-Time Faculty

(415) 422-5703 Kalmanovitz Hall 332


Allison Thorson joined the faculty at USF in 2009. She is a committee member on the Interdisciplinary Minor in Aging and Gerontology and Chair of the Communication Studies Assessment Committee. Professor Thorson's research focuses on interpersonal and family communication with an emphasis on how individuals and families communicatively manage and maintain individual and relational well-being following unexpected, hurtful, or non-normative events — often deemed taboo. Her current research projects center on the ripple effect of parental infidelity on family communication, consumer socialization, relationship maintenance, privacy, and family communication patterns. Her work has been published in outlets such as The Journal of Marriage and Family, Journal of Family Communication, Communication Studies, Qualitative Communication Research, Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, and Communication Research, and cited by the Huffington Post. She was the recipient of the 2016 Milton Dickens Award for Exemplary Empirical Research.

Program Director, Child and Youth Studies minor
Program Director, Gerontology minor
Chair, Interdisciplinary Committee on Aging
PhD, Communication Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
MA, Missouri State University
BA, University of Northern Iowa
Interpersonal communication
Family communication
Parent-child communication
Communication privacy management theory
Family communication patterns theory
Relationship maintenance
Shared family identity
Communication accommodation theory
Topic avoidance

Thorson, A. R. (under review). Communication and parental infidelity: Coping in a topic avoidant environment.

Thorson, A. R. & Horstman, H. K. (under review). Family communication patterns and emerging adult consumer outcomes: Revisiting the consumer socialization model.

Foster J. & Thorson, A. R. (under review). “I’m too stressed to ‘like’ your post!”: Facebook relational maintenance, stress, and closeness.

Thorson, A. R. (2015). Investigating adult children’s experiences with privacy turbulence following the discovery of parental infidelity. Journal of Family Communication, 15, 1-17. doi:10.1080/15267431.2014.980824.

Thorson, A. R. (2014). Feeling caught: Adult children’s experiences with parental infidelity. Qualitative Research Reports in Communication, 15, 78-86. doi:10.1080/17459435.2014.955595.

Thorson, A. R. & Kranstuber Horstman, H. A. (2014). Buy now, pay later: Family communication patterns theory, parental financial support, and emerging adults’ openness about credit card behaviors. Journal of Family Communication, 14, 53-71. doi:10.1080/15267431.2013.857324.

Thorson, A. R., Rittenour, C. E., Koenig Kellas, J., & Trees, A. R. (2013). Quality interactions and family storytelling. Communication Reports, 26 (2), 88-100. doi:10.1080/08934215.2013.797482.

Thorson, A. R. (2013). Adult children’s discovery of their parents’ infidelity. Qualitative Communication Research, 2(1), 61-80. doi: 10.1525/qcr.2013.2.1.61.

Thorson, A. R. (2012). Parental infidelity: Adult children’s attributions for parents’ extramarital relationships. In L. M. Webb & F. C. Dickson (Eds.), Communication for Families in Crisis: Theories, Methods, Strategies. (pp. 55-75). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc.

Soliz, J., Thorson, A. R., & Rittenour, C. E (November, 2009). Communicative correlates of satisfaction, family identity, and group salience in multiracial/ethnic families. Journal of Marriage and Family, 71, 819 - 832. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2009.00637.x.

Thorson, A. R. (2009). Adult children’s experiences with their parent’s infidelity: Communicative protection and access rules in the absence of divorce. Communication Studies, 60(1), 32-48. doi: 10.1080/10510970802623591.