Texas Tech University

Jenna LaFreniere

Associate Professor & COMS Graduate Advisor
Communication Studies

Email: jenna.lafreniere@ttu.edu

Phone: +1.806.834.2808

Research: Interpersonal, Family communication


Ph.D. University of Denver
M.S. Texas Christian University
B.A. University of North Texas

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Jenna LaFreniere


Originally from Dallas, Texas, I attended the University of North Texas, Texas Christian University, and the University of Denver for my degrees in Communication Studies. 


My research is in interpersonal and family communication, with a focus on conflict and its many impacts.


  • Survey

Research Areas

  • Interpersonal communication
  • Family communication

Selected Publications

  • LaFreniere, J. R., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2021). How parental confirmation is associated with family quality: Applying the theory of resilience and relational load to parent-child relationships. Western Journal of Communication.

  • LaFreniere, J. R. (2020). A closer look at young adult-parent relationships: Examining demand/withdraw patterns and communication competence. Communication Reports, 33(3), 161-173. 

  • Punyanunt-Carter, N. M., LaFreniere, J. R., Norman, M. S., & Colwell, M. J. (2019). Analyzing college students from divorced and intact families and their family communication patterns and interpersonal communication motives. Southern Communication Journal, 84, 219-232. 

  • Shimkowski, J. R. (2018). Investigating the effects of parents' inappropriate disclosures on young adults' emotion regulation and rumination. Southern Communication Journal, 83, 283-292. 
  • Shimkowski, J. R., & Ledbetter, A. M. (2018). Parental divorce disclosures, young adults' emotion regulation strategies, and feeling caught. Journal of Family Communication, 18, 185-201. 
  • Shimkowski, J. R., Schrodt, P., & Willer, E. K. (2017). Difficulties in regulating emotions as moderators of interparental conflict and young adult children's mental well-being. Communication Reports, 30, 116-128. 
  • Schrodt, P., & Shimkowski, J. R., (2017). Family communication patterns and perceptions of coparental communication. Communication Reports, 30, 39-50. 
  • Shimkowski, J. R. (2016). Consuming to cope: Investigating college students' expressive suppression as an indirect effect of family communication and drinking context. Communication Studies, 67, 419-437.
  • Schrodt, P., Witt, P. L., & Shimkowski, J. R. (2014). A meta-analytical review of demand/withdraw patterns and their associations with relational and personal well-being. Communication Monographs, 81, 28-58. 
  • Schrodt, P., & Shimkowski, J. R. (2013). Feeling caught as a mediator of coparental communication and young adult children's mental health and relational satisfaction with parents. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 30, 977-999. 
  • Shimkowski, J. R., & Schrodt, P. (2012). Coparental communication as a mediator of interparental conflict and young adult children's mental well-being. Communication Monographs, 79, 48-71. 

Research Featured

  • LaFreniere, J. R. (November 15, 2019). For article by C. Dampier, "Meghan and Harry are skipping the family holidays. Maybe you should try it too." Chicago Tribune
  • Schrodt, P., Witt, P. L., & Shimkowski, J. R. (June 16, 2014). For the article by E. Bernstein, “How and why to ban the silent treatment from your relationship”. Wall Street Journal.

Teaching Focus

  • Communication in Relationships (COMS 3333)
  • Communication Theory (COMS 3301)
  • Speaking for Business (COMS 2358)
  • Communication in Nursing (COMS 2320)
  • Graduate Quantitative Research Methods (COMS 5305)
  • Graduate Seminar in Interpersonal Communication (COMS 6302)

Leadership & Awards

  • Texas Tech University Teaching Academy member (2020 - present)

  • Texas Tech Mortar Board - Apple Polishing Mentor Recognition Luncheon (2019)

  • TTU faculty advisor for Lambda Pi Eta, the National Communication Association's official honor society (2018 - present)
  • Texas Tech Alumni Association New Faculty Award (2018)
  • Texas Tech Inclusive Excellence Fellowship member (2016-2017) 

Top Paper Awards

  • Top Four Papers, Interpersonal and Family Communication Division, Central States Communication Association, 2020
  • Top Four Paper, Interpersonal Communication Division, Westerns States Communication Association, 2017
  • Top Three Paper, Family Communication Division, Central States Communication Association, 2016
  • Top Paper, Interpersonal Communication Division, National Communication Association, 2013
  • Top Four Paper, Family Communication Division, National Communication Association, 2012