Faculty and Staff

Alan Sillars

Alan Sillars


Office: Liberal Arts 345
Email: alan.sillars@mso.umt.edu
Office Hours:



Curriculum Vitae


Argumentation (COMM 242)

Communication and Conflict--Writing (COMM 413)

Communication Research Methods (COMM 460)

Survey of Interpersonal Communication (COMM 511)

Seminar in Interpersonal Conflict (COMM 512)

Personal Summary

Alan Sillars teaches and writes about interpersonal communication and communication in human conflict.  His research is concerned with conflict and interpersonal perception, particularly within interpersonal relationships and families. Much of this research investigates the inferences that family members make during communication and how inferential processes contribute to understanding/misunderstanding among family members.

Alan also plays clawhammer banjo and enjoys outdoor sports, especially whitewater canoeing and other river sports, biking, hiking, and backcountry/cross-country skiing.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1980
M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1977
B.A., Humboldt State University, 1974

Selected Publications

Sillars, A. & Vangelisti, A. L. (in press).  Communication: Basic properties and their relevance to relationship research. In A. L. Vangelisti & D. Perlman (Eds.), The Cambridge handbook of personal relationships (2nd Ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Sillars, A., & Overall, N. C. (2016). Coding observed interaction (pp. 199-216). In C. A. VanLear & D. J. Canary (Eds.), Researching communication interaction behavior: A sourcebook of methods and measures. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 

Cho, M. K., & Sillars, A. (2015). Face threat and facework strategies when family (health) secrets are revealed: A comparison of South Korea and the United States.  Journal of Communication, 65, 535-557.doi: 10.1111/jcom.12161

McLaren, R. M. & Sillars, A. L. (2014). Hurtful episodes in parent–adolescent relationships: How accounts and attributions contribute to the difficulty of talking about hurt. Communication Monographs, advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03637751.2014.933244

Sillars, A., Holman, A., Richards, A., Jacobs, K., Koerner, A., & Reynolds-Dyk, A. (2014). Conversation and conformity orientations as predictors of observed conflict tactics in parent-adolescent discussions.  Journal of Family Communication. 14, 16-31. doi: 10.1080/15267431.2013.857327

Roggensack, K., & Sillars, A. (2014).  Agreement and understanding about honesty and deception rules in romantic relationships.  Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 31, 178-199. doi: 10.1177/0265407513489914

Richards, A., & Sillars, A. (2014).  Imagined interactions as predictors of secret revelation and health.  Communication Research, 41, 236-256. doi: 10.1177/0093650212438392

Holman, A. J., & Sillars, A. (2012). Talk about “hooking up”: The influence of college student social networks on non-relationship sex. Health Communication, 27, 205-216.

Jacobs, K., & Sillars, A. (2012). Sibling support during post-divorce adjustment: An idiographic analysis of support forms, functions, and relationship types. Journal of Family Communication, 12, 167-187.

Sillars, A., & Canary, D. J. (2013). Conflict and relational quality in families. In A. L. Vangelisti (Ed.), Routledge handbook of family communication (2nd ed.) (pp. 338-357). New York: Routledge.

Sillars, A. (2011).  Motivated misunderstanding in family conflict discussions.  In Smith, J. L., Ickes, W., Hall, J., & Hodges, S. (Eds.), Managing interpersonal sensitivity: Knowing when—and when not—to understand others (pp. 193-213). Hauppauge, NY:  Nova Science Publishers.    

Sillars, A.L., Smith, T., and Koerner, A. (2010). Misattributions contributing to empathic (in)accuracy during parent-adolescent conflict discussions. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 27, 727-747.

Sillars, A. L. (2009).  Interpersonal Conflict.  In C. Berger, M. Roloff, & D. R. Roskos-Ewoldsen (Eds.). Handbook of communication science (2nd ed.)(pp. 273-289). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.