Family Interaction

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  • Edition: 3rd
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-01-01
  • Publisher: Allyn & Bacon
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Family Interaction offers a comprehensive overview of the major conceptual models that are used to understand the patterns and interactional dynamics that operate in families. The book provides readers with an overview of the basic tasks that all families must execute regardless of their particular composition or living situation. At the same time, it offers readers an appreciation of the variety and uniqueness in the ways in which each family develops its patterns of interaction. Its emphasis is on integration, particularly an integration of family systems, family development, and intergenerational perspectives. For family psychologists and therapists, or those involved in social work.

Table of Contents

All chapters begin with “Chapter Overview” and conclude with “Conclusions” and “Key Terms.”



1. The Family as a System.
The Family as a System.
The Difficulty of Defining the Family.
The Characteristics of Family Systems.
Structural Properties of Families.
Strategies and Rules.
The Tasks That Families Must Execute.
The Politics of the Family.

2. Family Strategies.
Family Strategies.
Identity Strategies.
Boundary Strategies.
Maintenance Strategies.
Strategies for Managing the Family's Emotional Environment.
Strategies for Managing Stress: Adaptability as a Second-Order Task.


3. Structural Models.
Structural Models of Family Functioning.
The Structural Model.
Mapping the Family Structure.

4. Intergenerational Models.
Intergenerational Models of Family Functioning.
Core Concepts Within the Bowen Model.
Managing Unresolved Issues with the Family of Origin.
The Genogram: Insight into Intergenerational Processes.

5. Contextual Models: Family Diversity.
A Metaperspective on Cultural Diversity.
The Broader Racial and Ethnic Context.
Class, Socioeconomic Status, and Family Diversity.
Poverty, Racism, and Family Life.
Acculturation and Family Diversity.
Ethnicity, Race, and Family Strategies.


Section I: Early Adulthood and Marriage.

6. The Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood.
The Transition from Adolescence to Adulthood.
The Individuation Process.
The Individuation Process and Subsequent Development and Adjustment.
Individuation Difficulties and the Problems of Youth.
Problems of Forced Individuation.

7. Mate Selection and Family Development.
Mate Selection and Family Development.
Selecting a Lifetime Companion.
Comparison Levels: The Uniqueness of Our Filters.
The Impact of Family of Origin Experiences on Mate Selection.
Mate Selection and Relationship Dynamics.

8. The Transition to Marriage: The New Marital System.
The Transition to Marriage: The New Marital System.
The Tasks of the Newly Married Couple.

9. Communication and Intimacy.
Communication and Intimacy.
Defining Communication.
Conversational Styles.
Communication and Intimacy Within Marriage.

10. Conflict in Marriage.
Conflict in Marriage.
Areas of Conflict.
The Underlying Sources of Conflict in Marriage.
The Dynamics of Managing Conflict.
Marital Violence.

Section II: The Parenting Years.

11. Families with Young Children: The Transition to Parenthood.
Parenthood as Just One Developmental Pathway.
The Changing Context of Parenthood.
The Structural Diversity Found Within Families with Children.
The Challenges Confronted by the Family with Young Children.

12. The Parent-Child Relationship System.
The Parent-Child Relationship System.
Dimensions of Parenting Style.
Determinants of Parenting Style.
Gender and Parenting Styles.
Ethnic and Minority Parenting.
The Effectiveness of Parenting Styles: Child Abuse and Neglect.

Section III: The Middle and Later Years of Family Development.

13. Family Tasks During Middle Adulthood.
Family Tasks During Middle Adulthood.
The Marriage Relationship During the Middle-Adult Years.
Parent-Child Dynamics During Middle Adulthood.
The Demands of Being in the Middle.

14. The Family in Later Life.
The Family in Later Life.
Marriage During the Later-Adult Years.
Intergenerational Dynamics During the Later Years.
Family System Dynamics and the Caregiving/Care-Receiving Relationship.


15. Death, Loss, and Bereavement.
Death, Loss, and Bereavement.
Death Within the Family System.
Factors Mediating the Family System's Response to Death.
A Multigenerational, Developmental Perspective on Death.
Unresolved Grief and Family Strategies.

16. Divorce.
Divorce as a Family Process.
Adaptation Following Divorce.

17. The Single-Parent Household.
The Single-Parent Household.
Diversity Within Single-Parent Systems.
Single-Parent Family Systems: Prevalence and Challenges.
Challenges in Meeting Basic Tasks Within Single-Parent Systems.
Adaptation to Single-Parenthood: Sources of Social Support.

18. Remarriage and Step-Parenting.
Remarriage and Step-Parenting.
A Developmental Model for Remarried Family Systems.
Problematic Family System Dynamics in Remarried Step-Families.


Name Index.

Subject Index.

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