Family Process (FAM PROCESS )

Publisher: Mental Research Institute; Family Institute; Nathan W. Ackerman Family Institute, Blackwell Publishing


Family Process is an international, multidisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal committed to publishing original articles, including theory and practice, philosophical underpinnings, qualitative and quantitative clinical research, and training in couple and family therapy, family interaction, and family relationships with networks and larger systems.

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  • Website
    Family Process website
  • Other titles
    Family process
  • ISSN
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  • Material type
    Periodical, Internet resource
  • Document type
    Journal / Magazine / Newspaper, Internet Resource

Publisher details

Blackwell Publishing

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    • See Wiley-Blackwell entry for articles after February 2007
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    • Articles in some journals can be made Open Access on payment of additional charge
    • 'Blackwell Publishing' is an imprint of 'Wiley'
  • Classification
    ​ yellow

Publications in this journal

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The integration of the U.S. and Mexican culture is an important process associated with Mexican-origin youths' adjustment and family dynamics. The current study examined the reciprocal associations in parents' and two offspring's cultural values (i.e., familism and respect) in 246 Mexican-origin families. Overall, mothers' values were associated with increases in youths' values 5 years later. In contrast, youths' familism values were associated with increases in fathers' familism values 5 years later. In addition, developmental differences emerged where parent-to-offspring effects were more consistent for youth transitioning from early to late adolescence than for youth transitioning from middle adolescence to emerging adulthood. Finally, moderation by immigrant status revealed a youth-to-parent effect for mother-youth immigrant dyads, but not for dyads where youth were U.S.-raised. Our findings highlight the reciprocal nature of parent-youth value socialization and provide a nuanced understanding of these processes through the consideration of familism and respect values. As Mexican-origin youth represent a large and rapidly growing segment of the U.S. population, research that advances our understanding of how these youth develop values that foster family cohesion and support is crucial. © 2014 Family Process Institute.
    Family Process 12/2014;
  • Family Process 12/2014; 53(4):577-9.
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    ABSTRACT: The desire to understand relationships is a passion shared by professionals in research, clinical, and educational settings. Questionnaires are frequently used in each of these settings for a multitude of purposes-such as screening, assessment, program evaluation, or establishing therapeutic effectiveness. However, clinical issues arise when a couple's answers on questionnaires do not match clinical judgment or lack clinical utility, while statistical problems arise when data from both partners are put into analyses. This article introduces the use of geospatial statistics to analyze couple data plotted on a two-dimensional "relational map." Relationship maps can increase assessment sensitivity, track treatment progress, and remove statistical issues typically associated with couple data. This article briefly introduces core assumptions of spatial models, illustrates the use of spatial models in creating a relational landscape of divorce, offers suggestions for the use of relational maps in a clinical setting, and explores future research ideas.
    Family Process 08/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The need for parenting and relationship strengthening programs is important among low-income minority parents where the burden of relational and parental stressors contributes to relationship dissolution. We examine these stressors among young parents. Data were collected from four focus groups (N = 35) with young parents. Data were audio-recorded and transcribed. Inductive coding was used to generate themes and codes, and analysis was completed using NVivo. Relationship and parenting challenges, values, and areas of need were the three major themes that emerged. Women's relationship challenges were family interference and unbalanced parenting, and men reported feeling disrespected and having limited finances. Common relationship challenges for women and men were family interference and unbalanced parenting. Both genders valued trust, communication, and honesty in relationships. Areas of need for women and men included: improving communication and understanding the impact of negative relationships on current relationships. Parenting challenges for women were unbalanced parenting, child safety, and feeling unprepared to parent; men reported limited finances. Both genders valued quality time with child to instill family morals. Areas of need for women and men included learning child discipline techniques and increasing knowledge about child development. Finally, women and men have relationship and parenting similarities and differences. Young parents are interested in learning how to improve relationships and co-parent to reduce relationship distress, which could reduce risk behaviors and improve child outcomes.
    Family Process 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In the initial interviews of family therapy sessions, the therapist faces the challenge of obtaining and organizing the information that is most relevant toward understanding the essential concerns that families and couples bring to therapy. This article describes the process of clinical interviewing and case conceptualization used in training family therapists at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. This approach helps the therapist bring forward, and organize, specific information into relational hypotheses, or systemic-relational conceptualizations, that allow both family members and the therapist to understand presenting problems within their relational contexts. While always provisional, relational hypotheses help anchor the therapist in a systemic-relational frame and provide a conceptual through-line to guide the ongoing work of the therapy. The process of interviewing and the construction of clear and complex conceptualizations of presenting problems are illustrated through case examples.
    Family Process 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Science has always been a central part of family therapy. Research by early pioneers focused on studying the efficacy of both couple and family interventions from a systemic perspective. Today we know more now than ever before about the processes of diverse families and the therapeutic outcomes of family therapy practices. Despite the acknowledged importance of family therapy research, there are still questions about its impact on "real life" practice. Despite all the flaws of each, research and practice are critical interacting elements of a dialectic relationship: High-quality practice combines reliable scientific knowledge with individual clinical judgment made by family therapists in the context of their dynamic transactions with a family or couple. Future research can help uncover the mechanisms we have yet to know and test the ones we have identified while the dynamic interaction of research and practice that can lead to further innovations and developments central to the future of family therapy.
    Family Process 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: In this article, we examine the field of family therapy by drawing a distinction between two forms of practice: Whole Family Therapy (WFT), defined as treating the whole family, and Relational Family Therapy (RFT), defined as working with a subsystem of the family or an individual while retaining a systemic lens. Our thesis is that the practice of WFT has been in decline for some time and steps must be taken to keep it from becoming a defunct practice. We consider the trajectory of WFT and RFT throughout the development of family therapy through reference to the people, the literature, training, and practice patterns associated with family therapy. We remind the reader of the many benefits of WFT and suggest that today WFT is likely to be practiced in conjunction with RFT and individual therapy. Since training of family therapists today is largely located in degree-granting programs, we identify constraints to including WFT in such programs. We conclude by offering suggestions that can enhance a program's ability to train students in WFT.
    Family Process 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The current study set out to describe family functioning scores of a contemporary community sample, using the Family Assessment Device (FAD), and to compare this to a currently help-seeking sample. The community sample consisted of 151 families who completed the FAD. The help-seeking sample consisted of 46 families who completed the FAD at their first family therapy appointment as part of their standard care at an outpatient family therapy clinic at an urban hospital. Findings suggest that FAD means from the contemporary community sample indicate satisfaction with family functioning, while FAD scores from the help-seeking sample indicate dissatisfaction with family functioning. In addition, the General Functioning scale of the FAD continues to correlate highly with all other FAD scales, except Behavior Control. The cut-off scores for the FAD indicating satisfaction or dissatisfaction by family members with their family functioning continue to be relevant and the FAD continues to be a useful tool to assess family functioning in both clinical and research contexts.
    Family Process 06/2014;
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Social cybernetic (systemic) ideas from the early Family Process era, though emanating from qualitative clinical observation, have underappreciated heuristic potential for guiding quantitative empirical research on problem maintenance and change. The old conceptual wines we have attempted to repackage in new, science-friendly bottles include ironic processes (when "solutions" maintain problems), symptom-system fit (when problems stabilize relationships), and communal coping (when we-ness helps people change). Both self-report and observational quantitative methods have been useful in tracking these phenomena, and together the three constructs inform a team-based family consultation approach to working with difficult health and behavior problems. In addition, a large-scale, quantitatively focused effectiveness trial of family therapy for adolescent drug abuse highlights the importance of treatment fidelity and qualitative approaches to examining it. In this sense, echoing the history of family therapy research, our experience with juxtaposing quantitative and qualitative methods has gone full circle-from qualitative to quantitative observation and back again.
    Family Process 06/2014;
  • Family Process 06/2014; 53(2):175-8.
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    ABSTRACT: Assessing couple relationships across diverse languages and cultures has important implications for both clinical intervention and prevention. This is especially true for nontraditional relationships potentially subject to various expressions of negative societal evaluation or bias. Few empirically validated measures of relationship functioning have been developed for cross-cultural applications, and none have been examined for their psychometric sufficiency for evaluating same-sex couples across different languages and cultures. The current study examined the psychometric properties of an Italian translation of the Marital Satisfaction Inventory - Revised (MSI-R), a 150-item 13-scale measure of couple relationship functioning, for its use in assessing the intimate relationships of gay and lesbian couples in Italy. Results for these couples were compared to data from heterosexual married and unmarried cohabiting couples from the same geographical region, as well as to previously published data for gay, lesbian, and unmarried heterosexual couples from the United States. Findings suggest that, despite unique societal pressures confronting Italian same-sex couples, these relationships appear resilient and fare well both overall and in specific domains of functioning compared to heterosexual couples both in Italy and the United States.
    Family Process 05/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: This study tests the inclusion of social support as a distinct exogenous variable in the Biobehavioral Family Model (BBFM). The BBFM is a biopsychosocial approach to health that proposes that biobehavioral reactivity (anxiety and depression) mediates the relationship between family emotional climate and disease activity. Data for this study included married, English-speaking adult participants (n = 1321; 55% female; M age = 45.2 years) from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative epidemiological study of the frequency of mental disorders in the U.S. Participants reported their demographics, marital functioning, social support from friends and relatives, anxiety and depression (biobehavioral reactivity), number of chronic health conditions, and number of prescription medications. Confirmatory factor analyses supported the items used in the measures of negative marital interactions, social support, and biobehavioral reactivity, as well as the use of negative marital interactions, friends’ social support, and relatives’ social support as distinct factors in the model. Structural equation modeling indicated a good fit of the data to the hypothesized model (χ2 = 846.04, p = .000, SRMR = .039, CFI = .924, TLI = .914, RMSEA = .043). Negative marital interactions predicted biobehavioral reactivity (β = .38, p<.001), as did relatives’ social support, inversely (β = -.16, p<.001). Biobehavioral reactivity predicted disease activity (β = .40, p<.001) and was demonstrated a significant mediator through tests of indirect effects. Findings are consistent with previous tests of the BBFM with adult samples, and suggest the important addition of family social support as a predicting factor in the model.
    Family Process 01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Couple therapy—across a number of different theoretical approaches—has been shown to be an effective treatment for a variety of individual and relationship difficulties. Moreover, recent studies have demonstrated that the effects of several approaches last at least 2–5 years after the end of treatment. However, couple therapy has a critical limitation: most distressed couples—including those who eventually divorce—do not seek couple therapy. Thus, although we recognize there are notable advances in the treatment approaches described in this special section, we argue that traditional approaches to couple therapy need to be supplemented by alternative interventions before we can make a profound, population-level impact on relationship distress and divorce. To this end, we translated Integrative Behavioral Couple Therapy into a self-help, web-based program— Through a combination of tailored feedback, filmed examples, and interactive education, the online program first helps couples identify a core problem in their relationship. The program then assists partners in coming to a new and more accurate understanding of the problem they jointly identified and subsequently brings them together in a structured conversation to share their new understandings with each other. Finally, based on this shared conceptualization, the program supports couples in making concrete changes in their relationship. In this article, we discuss the rationale for the program, describe the core components of the website, and illustrate these components with a case example. Relative advantages and disadvantages compared with traditional couple therapy are presented. RESUMENSe ha demostrado que la terapia de pareja – a través de varios enfoques teóricos diferentes – es un tratamiento efectivo para diversas dificultades individuales y relacionales. Además, estudios recientes han demostrado que los efectos de varios enfoques duran por lo menos entre dos y cinco años después del final del tratamiento. Sin embargo, la terapia de pareja tiene una limitación fundamental: la mayoría de las parejas con problemas– incluidas aquellas que finalmente se divorcian – no recurren a la terapia de pareja. Por lo tanto, si bien reconocemos que existen avances notables en los enfoques de los tratamientos descritos en esta sección especial, sostenemos que los enfoques tradicionales de la terapia de pareja necesitan complementarse con intervenciones alternativas para que podamos causar un efecto profundo a nivel de la población en los problemas relacionales y el divorcio. Con este fin, convertimos la terapia de pareja conductual e integradora en un programa de autoayuda por Internet: A través de una combinación de observaciones personalizadas, ejemplos filmados y educación interactiva, el programa por Internet primero ayuda a las parejas a reconocer el problema principal de su relación. Luego dicho programa ayuda a los integrantes de las parejas a lograr una comprensión nueva y más precisa del problema que identificaron conjuntamente, y posteriormente los une en una conversación estructurada para que intercambien sus nuevas interpretaciones. Finalmente, basándose en esta conceptualización compartida, el programa apoya a las parejas para que realicen cambios concretos en su relación. En este artículo, debatimos la lógica del programa, describimos los componentes principales del sitio web y ejemplificamos dichos componentes con un caso. Se presentan las ventajas y las desventajas relativas comparadas con la terapia de pareja tradicional. 摘要 许多不同理论途径下的夫妇治疗已经表明这是一种针对各种个人和关系困难的有效疗法。此外,最近的研究表明,有几种途径的疗效在治疗结束后持续了至少2-5年。但是,夫妇治疗有一个关键性的局限:大多数受困扰的夫妇——包括那些最终离婚的夫妇——并不寻求夫妇治疗。因此,我们在承认这个专篇所述的治疗途径有显著进步的同时,也认为传统的治疗法需要用其它替代疗法补充才能对关系困扰和离婚起到有意义的人口水平上的影响。为此,我们将整合行为夫妇治疗译成了一个自我帮助的网络项目——。通过综合特制反馈、录影案例和互动教育,这个网络项目首先帮助夫妇识别关系中的核心问题,然后帮助伴侣对他们共同认识到的问题达成新的更准确的理解,随后让他们一起参与结构化的谈话,分享对彼此的新理解,最后,在这一共享概念的基础上,项目支持夫妇对他们间的关系作出具体改变。我们在本文讨论了该项目的原理依据,描述了网站的核心部分,并用实例说明了这些部分。文章对这与传统夫妇疗法相比较所具有的相对优势与劣势做了陈述。
    Family Process 03/2013; 52(1):139-153.
  • Article: Editorial:
    Family Process 01/2013; 52(2).
  • Family Process 01/2011; 50(3).
  • Source
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    ABSTRACT: Dementia research has frequently documented high rates of caregiver depression and distress in spouses providing care for a partner suffering from dementia. However, the role of marital communication in understanding caregiver distress has not been examined sufficiently. Studies with healthy couples demonstrated an association between marital communication and the partners' psychological well-being, depressiveness, respectively (e.g., Heene, Buysee, & Van Oost, 2005). The current study investigates the relationship between caregiver depression and communication in 37 couples in which the wives care for their partners with dementia. Nonsequential and sequential analyses revealed significant correlations between caregiver depression and marital communication quality. Caregivers whose husbands used more positive communication reported less depression and distress. Additionally, caregiver depression was negatively correlated with rates of positive reciprocal communication indicating dependence between the couples' interaction patterns. This study is one of the first to illustrate the relevance of spousal communication in understanding caregiver distress and depression.
    Family Process 06/2010; 49(2):185-203.
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    ABSTRACT: The current study examined gender differences in communication about sex-related topics in a community sample of urban, African-American mothers and adolescents living in impoverished neighborhoods with high HIV rates. One hundred and sixty-two mother-adolescent dyads completed self-report measures of sex-related communication. Youth also reported on their sexual risk. We identified the range of sexual-based topics that adolescents discussed with their mothers, fathers, friends, and at school. The relationship between the frequency of sexual communication and sexual risk was examined. We also investigated congruency between adolescent and mother report about whether sexual-based discussions occurred. Consistent with prior research, girls talked to their mothers, fathers, friends, and at school about sex-related topics more than boys. Findings indicated that mothers not only communicated more frequently about sexual issues with their daughters than sons but that parental messages for girls were more protective. Greater sexual communication with mother was significantly associated with decreased HIV risk in the past 90 days and increased protection from HIV. Inconsistencies between mother and adolescent reports about sexual communication were marginally associated with decreased protection from HIV. Findings reveal the protective effect of sexual communication and the general lack of congruence between mother and adolescent reports of sexual communication.
    Family Process 06/2010; 49(2):251-64.