Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Communication, MA

First Advisor

Desrene Vernon-Brebnor

Second Advisor

T. Lynn Caldwell


This thesis documents an explorative study into the effect of water from various Berrien Springs water sources on the multiethnic hair texture of Andrews University students/faculty. Participants were living in the area for at least five months, whether originally from the United States or other countries of the world. The theory informing this study is the Expectancy Violations Theory (EVT) by Burgoon (1976). EVT is a communication theory that examines the reaction to behaviors within nonverbal communication that are expected or unexpected in a positive or negative light. In this context EVT has not been used to examine nonverbal communication, but the response to beliefs held and inconsistencies experienced by persons moving from an underdeveloped or developing country to a developed one. This issue is personal to the researcher who is from the Caribbean, has very long natural hair (locs), and is now living in Berrien Springs and seeking to better understand the impact of the local water on differing hair types. This study has been informed by participants from across the world and their hair experiences based on a 14-question interview protocol. The data was analyzed for commonality in themes to ascertain if the water is believed by the participants, to be a contributing factor to hair challenges like breakage and thinning. The results of this study suggest a connection between water sources and healthy hair. This relationship is one of correlation rather than causation as it is not yet known how other factors not examined in this research affect hair health. There are some recommendations for how this situation can be addressed.

Subject Area

Hair--Effect of water quality on; Water--Michigan--Berrien Springs--Analysis


Included in

Communication Commons