Shardé Davis, PhD

Assistant Professor, Communication (Affiliate)


Research Overview

My primary area of specialization is interpersonal communication, with emphases in race, gender, identity, intergroup communication, and supportive communication. I blend post-positivist, feminist, and critical perspectives to conduct research that better captures under-represented minority perspectives and communication patterns. My specific line of research explores how Black women’s complex identities—and the power-laden social structures that create them—influence the way they communicate with close others. These interests are represented in my new theory called The Strong Black Woman Collective (SBWC; Davis, 2015). The theory explicates how Black women use their communication during group-level interactions with other Black women to collectively manage their marginal position in U.S. society. Research on the theory connects Black women’s culturally nuanced behavior to important outcomes such as self-reported mental health, well-being, stress and anxiety, relational closeness, and group solidarity and esteem. While my primary line of research focuses on communication among Black women groups, a secondary interest involves investigating communication behavior of other marginalized groups, like elderly in the U.S., people of color, and low income families. My prior work has used a variety of methods to address these inquiries, including blood draws to test cholesterol, saliva tests to analyze stress hormones like cortisol and alpha amylase, weekly diaries to examine daily stress and means of seeking and receiving support, as well as in-depth interviews to assess life stress and self-reported health.

Education

2010 BA Communication and Feminist Studies, University of California Santa Barbara
2012 MA Communication, University of California Santa Barbara
2016 PhD Communication (certificate in Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies), University of Iowa

Featured Publications

Afifi, T. D., Merrill, A., Davis, S. M., & Denes, A., & Coveleski, S. (in press). The impact of a need for closure and support quality on verbal and cognitive brooding. Communication Research.

Davis, S. M. (in press). Publication style guides. In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of communication research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Davis, S. M. (in press) Research reports, subjective. In M. Allen (Ed.), The SAGE encyclopedia of communication research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Davis, S. M., & Afifi, T. D. (in press). Complicating the darkside of family communication through post-positivist, interpretivist, and critical perspectives. In L. Olson & M. Fine (Eds.), Examining the darkness of family communication: The harmful, the morally suspect, and the socially inappropriate. New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Afifi, T. D., Coveleski, S., Davis, S. M., & Merrill, A. (in press). Interparental conflict in divorced and non-divorced families. In J. Samp (Ed.), Communicating interpersonal conflict in close relationships: Contexts, challenges, and opportunities. New York, NY: Routledge Publishing.

Davis, S. M. (2015). The “strong Black woman collective”: A developing theoretical framework for understanding collective communication practices of Black women. Women’s Studies in Communication, 38(1), 20-35. DOI:10.1080/07491409.2014.953714.

Afifi, T. D., Davis, S. M., & Denes, A. (2015). Evolutionary theories: Explaining the links between biology and interpersonal communication. In D. Braithwaite & P. Schrodt (Eds.), Engaging theories in interpersonal communication (2nd ed; pp. 51-62). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Afifi, T. D., Davis, S. M., Merrill, A., Coveleski, S., Denes, A., & Afifi, W. (2015). In the wake of the great recession: Economic uncertainty, communication, and physiological stress responses in families. Human Communication Research, 41(2), 268-302. DOI: 10.1111/hcre.12048.

Davis, S. M., & Afifi, T. D. (2014). Harming the relationship while helping the friend: The outcomes of seeking social support about a romantic partner from women friend groups. Journal of Friendship Studies, 2(1), 18-44.

Afifi, T. D., Davis, S. M., & Merrill, A. (2014). Single parent families: Creating a sense of family from within. In L. E. Baxter (Ed.), Remaking “family” communicatively (pp. 69-84). New York, NY: Peter Lang Publishing.

Afifi, T. D., Merrill, A., & Davis, S. M. (2014). Examining family secrets from a communication perspective. In L. Turner & R. West (Eds.), The SAGE handbook of family communication (pp. 169-183). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Afifi, T. D., Davis, S. M., Denes, A., & Merrill, A. (2013). Analyzing divorce from cultural and network approaches. Journal of Family Studies, 19(3), 240-253. DOI: 10.5172/jfs.2013.19.3.240.

Afifi, T. D., Afifi, W., Merrill, A., Denes, A., & Davis, S. M. (2013). “You need to stop talking about this!”: Verbal rumination and the costs of social support. Human Communication Research, 39(4), 395-421. DOI: 10.1111/hcre.12012.

Giles, H., Davis, S. M., Gasiorek, J., & Giles, J. (2013). Successful aging: A communication guide to empowerment. Barcelona, Spain: Aresta Publications.

Afifi, T. D., Merrill, A., & Davis, S. M. (2013). Widening the understanding of post-divorce families. In K. Floyd & M. Morman (Eds.), Widening the family circle: New research on family communication (2nd ed; pp. 151-170). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Contact Information
Emailsharde.davis@uconn.edu
Phone860.486.6734
Mailing AddressDepartment of Communication
337 Mansfield Road, Unit 1259
Storrs, CT 06269-1259
Office LocationArjona Building, 2nd Floor