Throughout the ages, the pursuit to understand the self has fascinated minds from every corner of the globe. This invisible tapestry, woven from the threads of our experiences, beliefs, and interactions, shapes who we are and how we perceive the world around us. Yet, one of the most profound influences on this intricate construct remains the environment closest to us: our families. Within the familial realm, the very foundation of our identity is laid, influenced by the silent conversations, the spoken words, and the unspoken bonds that tether us to those we call kin. It is here, in the crucible of family life, that we begin the lifelong journey of self-discovery, learning to navigate the waters of individuality and belonging. This exploration into the heart of self-development sheds light on how our earliest social interactions, particularly within the family, set the stage for the person we are to become, inviting us to ponder the profound impact of our familial roots on the blossom of our identity.

In the intricate journey of identity formation, the impact of family communication patterns emerges as a defining force, shaping the contours of our self-perception and social interactions. Dr. Ömer Erdoğan from Kastamonu University delves deep into this subject, revealing the profound influence of family dynamics on the evolution of the self from childhood through adolescence. His research, published in *Heliyon*, unravels how the essence of family conversations and the orientation towards conformity or dialogue within the family unit mold individuals’ identities, emotional well-being, and their ability to forge meaningful relationships.

Dr. Erdoğan’s research categorizes family communication into two primary orientations: conversation and conformity. He uncovers that individuals hailing from conversation-oriented families, where open dialogue and individual expression are encouraged, report a stronger sense of belonging and a more positive self-image. Dr. Erdoğan explains, “In conversation-oriented families…individuals reported a more positive self-image and a stronger sense of belonging…These families cultivate an environment where each member’s voice is nurtured.”

Conversely, the research highlights the struggles faced by individuals from conformity-oriented families, where adherence to collective norms often suppresses individual expression. “In conformity-oriented families, where uniformity is prized over individual expression, participants recounted a more tumultuous journey of self-discovery,” Dr. Erdoğan observes. This environment, he notes, challenges personal growth and self-exploration, leading to issues of self-esteem and isolation.

As adolescence ushers in a period of significant transformation and self-questioning, Erdoğan’s findings shed light on how early family dynamics influence this critical phase. Adolescents from conversation-oriented backgrounds navigate this tumultuous period with a robust sense of self and social network, adept at articulating their identity and establishing meaningful friendships. Dr. Erdoğan emphasizes, “Adolescents from conversation-oriented families seemed to navigate these waters with a sturdier sense of self,” highlighting the resilience these individuals exhibit in the face of adolescence’s inherent challenges.

The research also brings to the fore the challenges encountered by adolescents from conformity-oriented backgrounds, who often grapple with heightened issues of self-esteem and social belonging. “These adolescents often faced greater challenges, grappling with issues of self-esteem and social belonging,” says Dr. Erdoğan, pointing to the heightened struggle in carving out an identity amidst societal pressures.

In bringing this enlightening study to life, Dr. Erdoğan employed a meticulous qualitative approach known as Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis. This method, chosen for its depth and introspective nature, allowed for a nuanced exploration of individuals’ lived experiences. Through in-depth interviews with young adults, Dr. Erdoğan ventured into the complex tapestry of family dynamics, capturing the essence of how familial conversations and orientations shape one’s journey through childhood and adolescence. The choice of IPA facilitated a deep, empathetic understanding of the participants’ personal narratives, providing rich insights into the intertwined relationship between family communication and identity formation.

Through the lens of this comprehensive research, Dr. Erdoğan provides invaluable insights into the critical role of family communication in shaping the individual. The research not only enhances our understanding of self-development but also reflects on the nuanced ways family dynamics sculpt the individuals we become. It underscores the importance of nurturing an environment of open dialogue within families to foster the growth of confident, self-assured individuals capable of thriving in a complex social landscape. In conclusion, Dr. Ömer Erdoğan’s exploration into the impact of family communication patterns on identity formation offers a compelling narrative on the transformative power of conversation and conformity within the family unit. It serves as a testament to the indelible impact of our formative social interactions, inviting reflection on the foundational role of family dynamics in the ongoing narrative of our lives.


Ömer Erdoğan, “A system approach to the self: Interpretive phenomenological analysis,” Heliyon, 2024.



Ömer Erdoğan received his undergraduate degree in Psychology from Ege University in 2003. He received his doctorate in interpersonal communication from Marmara University in 2018, and his graduation thesis was titled “An analysis of family communication patterns in the development of communication anxiety and the effect of paradoxical (double bind) communication.” After working as a student counselor at Kastamonu University between 2007 and 2018, he continues to work as a lecturer in the psychology department of the same university. His research interests include communication psychology, social cognition, self, and addiction.