Article

The Effects of Perceived Dysfunctional Family-of-Origin Rules on the Dating Relationships of Young Adults

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of perceived dysfunctional family-of-origin rules on the dating relationships of young adult offspring. A sample of 322 students from three universities completed self-report questionnaires measuring dysfunctional family-of-origin rules, current dating behaviors, dating anxiety, relationship satisfaction and commitment. The results indicated that dysfunctional family-of-origin rules were positively related to dating anxiety, and negatively related to advancement in dating stages, relationship satisfaction, and commitment in the dating relationships of young adults. There also was a tendency for young adults from families with dysfunctional rules to date later and less frequently than young adults from families with more functional rules, although they dated about the same number of partners. Implications for future research and clinical interventions are discussed.

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... This was shown through outcome studies showing that eating disordered families have a strong tendency toward constraining family process rules, especially those dealing with power and control in the family (Gillette, 2003, Stoll, 2004. It also was shown that constraining family rules are related to young adult problems in establishing intimacy in their dating relationships (Larson, Taggart-Reedy & Wilson 2001). Thus, it may be that constraining rules are also related to the psychological symptoms of anxiety, depression, interpersonal sensitivity, and hostility. ...
... An awareness of the importance and function of facilitative implicit family process rules in the development of psychologically healthy children and adolescents will benefit parents as well as therapists and family life educators invested in raising psychologically healthy children. The avoidance or timely treatment of psychological symptoms related to family rules early on should help to improve adolescents' functioning in current and future relationships such as dating, courtship, and marriage (Larson, Taggart-Reedy, & Wilson, 2001). ...
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We review the research on gender by focusing on three domains of family life—marriage, work (both wage and family work), and parenthood. Regarding marriage, we consider intimacy, communication and conflict, and wife-battering. Regarding wage work, we consider women and men as providers and resistance to wives as coproviders. Regarding family work, we consider the nature of family work and resistance to sharing housework and child care. Regarding parenthood, we consider the images of motherhood and fatherhood, activities and experiences of mothering and fathering, and the gender differentiation that accompanies parenting. We offer recommendations for further research and encourage family scholars to conceptualize gender as relational or interactional rather than as an individual property or role.
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In this study of perceptions of interactions within the family group, both parents and one adolescent from 54 two-child middle-class families were videotaped while interacting on two set topics. Each pair of parents and their adolescent child then viewed the videotape and made ratings on the dimensions of anxiety, involvement, dominance, and friendliness of themselves and the other family members. While there were few differences between parents, adolescents rated family members as more anxious, less involved, and less dominant than did other family members, and were rated as less dominant and less involved than other family members. Various interpretations can be made of these findings, among them that their striving for independence may require adolescents to move outside the family and adopt a more objective, outsider's view. At the same time, adolescents judged interactions to be as friendly as did their parents, indicating a desire for closeness with other family members. Other findings revealed that perceptions of the levels of anxiety, involvement, dominance, and friendliness shown by family members also varied according to the sex of the adolescent and the level of marital quality in the family. In families with adolescent daughters, for example, those high in marital quality rated family members as more friendly than did those low in marital quality. In families with sons, those low in marital quality rated family members as more dominant and more involved than did those high in marital quality.
Article
As the family field becomes increasingly diverse, presentation of research findings becomes even more critical. In many instances the presentation of quantitative research on the family, albeit unwittingly, suffers from a tendency to interpret findings on a statistical rather than a substantive basis, to use summary statistics that are potentially misleading indicators of the diversity of responses, and to rely on probability level as an indicator of the importance of a result. As an alternative, we advocate the use of data analysis that lends itself to an intuitive understanding of the nature of the findings, the strength of the association, and the import of the result.
Article
A longitudinal study of 129 graduating university students tested whether relationship continuity could best be predicted by a positive pull model, consisting of love and rewards, or a newly proposed barrier model, consisting of investments and commitment. The barrier model proved to be the best discriminator of whether relationships continued past graduation. Validity of the barrier model was further supported by conceptual distinctions found between Love and Commitment scales and by evidence for the importance of investments to the development of commitment. The combination strategy of scale development and examination of relationships over time produced new scales of Investments and Commitment.
Article
The effect of parental divorce on the divorce-proneness of offspring was estimated separately for white males, white females, black males, and black females through analysis of pooled data from 11 U.S. national surveys conducted from 1973 to 1985. The estimated effect for white females was substantial and statistically significant, but any effects in the other race-sex categories appear to have been moderate. Analyses performed to test some common and plausible explanations for an intergenerational transmission of divorce-proneness yielded indirect support for a "lower-commitment-to-marriage" explanation and revealed that a small proportion of the estimated transmission effect can be explained by a tendency for the children of divorce to marry at an early age.
Article
National survey data reveal that children from marriages that were disrupted during their childhood have a higher rate of divorce than children from intact marriages. The present study investigates two hypotheses to account for this phenomenon. These include the adoption of: (a) marriage-related attitudes antagonistic to successful marital adjustment and (b) maladaptive styles of marital interaction. The findings derived from questionnaire data tapping marriage-related attitudes, dating experience, and conflict resolution skills (evaluated on the basis of responses to filmed vignettes of marital conflict) supported the first hypothesis. The only notable difference that emerged among the 397 college students from intact (happy-unbroken versus unhappy-unbroken), separated/divorced, or parent-deceased families was in the direction of the separated/divorced group espousing the most favorable attitude toward divorce. The findings suggest a disinhibitory effect of parental divorce on children's attitudes toward divorce. Parental separation proved to be no more harmful to child adjustment than a conflict-ridden intact home. Contrary to past research, however, there was no meaningful effect of age at time of marital disruption.
Article
Previous research has shown that empirical tests of E. H. Erikson's (1963) psychosocial theory have yielded limited information on development after the college years. In the present study, the effect of college graduation on the identity and intimacy crises of 93 college seniors and 66 24–27 yr old alumni from the same university was studied. College graduation was regarded as a life transition that would stimulate growth in the areas of identity and intimacy. It was hypothesized that more alumni than students would be located in the more mature statuses. Ss were given measures of identity status and intimacy status. Four areas of identity were rated: achievement, moratorium, foreclosed, and diffuse. Intimacy status was rated in terms of the categories of intimate, merger, pre-intimate, pseudo-intimate, and stereotyped and isolated. Findings show that in all areas, alumni were in the identity achievement status more frequently than were college students, who, in turn, were more frequently foreclosed. Differences in the other 2 identity statuses varied by identity area. Alumni were more frequently in the intimacy statuses of intimate and merger, whereas more students were rated as preintimate or low in intimacy. Intimacy was related to identity status only for alumni. Results support the hypothesis and suggest greater commitment on identity than intimacy for students. (18 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This book is a culmination of the authors' many years of work in developing approaches to family assessment and intervention. In Section One on "Assessment" the authors discuss the two Beavers Interactional Scales. These assess families on two crucial dimensions: competence, seen as a continuum from healthy to severely dysfunctional, and style, a continuum from centripetal to centrifugal. The scales are supplemented by self-report questionnaires. Using these assessment tools, the therapist can determine into which of nine groups a particular family falls. In Section Two on "Treatment and Intervention" the authors present general concepts regarding family intervention. Then they discuss specific attitudes and strategies beneficial with families from different groupings: midrange, borderline and severely dysfunctional centripetal, and borderline and severely dysfunctional centrifugal. They close with some comments on the irony that healthier families gain more from therapy than their less healthy neighbors and with some recommendations for family education. Both beginning and experienced therapists will find much value in this sensible, sensitive, and respectful approach to therapy with families. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses the versatility and practicality of multigenerational system concepts as demonstrated by (1) their increased use in therapy by marriage and family therapists, (2) the development of theory, (3) the practicality of gathering multigenerational data through methods such as genograms and event charting, and (4) developing intervention strategies that include more than 2 generations. Eight basic assumptions that underly the practice of multigenerational family therapy, theory development, assessment, and research by a theoretically divergent group of family-oriented scholars and practitioners are presented. These assumptions concern interpersonal influence, the complexity of the family system, systemic development and change, the transmission of systemic patterns, influences on nuclear families, contextually hidden intergenerational issues, hierarchical boundaries, and dysfunction as legacy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
highlights the role of cognitive factors in marital functioning and marital therapy categories of cognitive factors in marriage / assessment of cognitions [self- and spouse reports, interview, current concerns, observation of communication, selecting assessment strategies, integrating the information] / the structure of therapy sessions / role of the therapist / cognitive restructuring interventions / treatment outcome research on the role of cognitive restructuring in marital therapy (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses the problem of "statistical" as opposed to "clinical" significance in the context of what is viewed as an over-dependence on, and naive interpretation of, levels of statistical significance. Issues of statistical inference, particularly the magnitude (vs the significance) of an effect, are examined, and a few basic measures for estimating the magnitude of an effect or treatment are noted. (14 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Three studies were conducted to examine the correlates of adult attachment. In Study 1, an 18-item scale to measure adult attachment style dimensions was developed based on Hazan and Shaver's (1987) categorical measure. Factor analyses revealed three dimensions underlying this measure: the extent to which an individual is comfortable with closeness, feels he or she can depend on others, and is anxious or fearful about such things as being abandoned or unloved. Study 2 explored the relation between these attachment dimensions and working models of self and others. Attachment dimensions were found to be related to self-esteem, expressiveness, instrumentality, trust in others, beliefs about human nature, and styles of loving. Study 3 explored the role of attachment style dimensions in three aspects of ongoing dating relationships: partner matching on attachment dimensions; similarity between the attachment of one's partner and caregiving style of one's parents; and relationship quality, including communication, trust, and satisfaction. Evidence was obtained for partner matching and for similarity between one's partner and one's parents, particularly for one's opposite-sex parent. Dimensions of attachment style were strongly related to how each partner perceived the relationship, although the dimension of attachment that best predicted quality differed for men and women. For women, the extent to which their partner was comfortable with closeness was the best predictor of relationship quality, whereas the best predictor for men was the extent to which their partner was anxious about being abandoned or unloved.
Article
PAIR, acronym for Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships, was developed as a tool for educators, researchers and therapists. PAIR provides systematic information on five types of intimacy: emotional, social, sexual, intellectual and recreational. Individuals, married or unmarried, describe their relationship in terms of how they currently perceive it (perceived) and how they would like it to be (expected). PAIR can be used with couples in marital therapy and enrichment groups.
Article
The variety of interpersonal relationships in contemporary society necessitates the development of brief, reliable measures of satisfaction that are applicable to many types of close relationships. This article describes the development of such a measure. In Study I, the 7-item Relationship Assessment Scale (RAS) was administered to 125 subjects who reported themselves to be "in love." Analyses revealed a unifactorial scale structure, substantial factor loadings, and moderate intercorrelations among the items. The scale correlated significantly with measures of love, sexual attitudes, self-disclosure, commitment, and investment in a relationship. In Study II, the scale was administered to 57 couples in ongoing relationships. Analyses supported a single factor, alpha reliability of .86, and correlations with relevant relationship measures. The scale correlated .80 with a longer criterion measure, the Dyadic Adjustment Scale (Spanier, 1976), and both scales were effective (with a subsample) in discriminating couples who stayed together from couples who broke up. The RAS is a brief, psychometrically sound, generic measure of relationship satisfaction.
Article
While family-of-origin interventions are widely used, the theoretical assumptions upon which these techniques are based are largely without empirical validation. This paper reports on the development of a family-of-origin scale that may be used in such research as well as employed as an adjunct to therapy. The resultant scale attempts to measure self-perceived levels of health in one's family of origin. Presented are data pertaining to the scale's validity, reliability, and normative sample.
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of parent and child emotional expressiveness within the family context, to examine links between these patterns and children's peer relations, and to examine whether these links might be mediated by children's understanding of emotions. Subjects were 61 kindergarten and first-grade white, middle-class children and their parents. Parent and child expressiveness were assessed in a laboratory ring-toss game designed to elicit a range of emotional responses. Parent expressiveness in the home was also assessed with Halberstadt's Family Expressiveness Questionnaire. The questionnaire, completed by both mother and father, assesses a range of emotions in a variety of settings typical of many families, and consists of items tapping both positive and negative expressiveness. Children were interviewed about their understanding of emotions across a broad range of areas. Results indicated that maternal expressiveness (home) and paternal expressiveness (home and laboratory) but not children's expressiveness with parents were associated with children's peer relations. Although children's understanding of emotions was generally not asssociated with family expressiveness, understanding predicted children's peer relations. In addition, children's understanding influenced the links between maternal expressiveness in the home and peer relations and between paternal expressiveness in the laboratory and peer relations. This pattern of results underscores the importance of the emotional climate of the family for the development of children's social relations with peers.
Article
This study uses an interpretive interview method to examine the micro-processes of generational continuity and change among a group of social activists. Boszormenyi-Nagy''s theory of responsibility between generations, alternative models outside the family, and choice are used to explain the instances of change. Implications for research and practice are addressed.
Article
The Dating Anxiety Survey (DAS) was constructed to assess dating anxiety in males and females. Factor analysis of the survey revealed three factors: passive contact, active intentions for dating, and dating interactions. The reliabilities of the three subscales, as determined by coefficient alpha, were .87, .91, and .93 for males and .90, .90, and .92 for females, respectively. Correlations with dating history and a measure of social anxiety were generally of a low but significant magnitude, providing some support for concurrent validity. The results of the factor analysis lend support to the construct validity of the DAS. These findings suggest that the DAS is a potentially useful instrument in the self-report of dating anxiety.
Article
This study describes an initial psychometric evaluation of a new 15–item self-report instrument, the Family Rules from the Past questionnaire (FRP), which measures perceived dysfunctional rules from the past. Reliability and validity tests were conducted including a factor analysis to determine the underlying dimensions of the FRP. A sample of 943 young adults completed the FRP, a demographic questionnaire, and measures of family health and competence, alcoholism in the family, and social desirability. Results showed support for internal consistency reliability, test-retest reliability, construct validity, concurrent validity, and criterion-related validity for the FRP. Individuals from dysfunctional families and adult children of alcoholics scored significantly higher on the FRP than individuals from more functional families. Implications for the uses of the FRP in individual, couple, and family therapy are discussed.
Article
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Georgia State University, 1988. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 112-134). Microfilm. s
Article
The conceptual clustering of numerous concepts from family therapy and other social science fields reveals two significant dimensions of family behavior, cohesion and adaptability. These two dimensions are placed into a circumplex model that is used to identify 16 types of marital and family systems. The model proposes that a balanced level of both cohesion and adaptability is the most functional to marital and family development. It postulates the need for a balance on the cohesion dimension between too much closeness (which leads to enmeshed systems) and too little closeness (which leads to disengaged systems). There also needs to be a balance on the adaptability dimension between too much change (which leads to chaotic systems) and too little change (which leads to rigid systems). The model was developed as a tool for clinical diagnosis and for specifying treatment goals with couples and families.
Article
The purpose of this study was to explore patterns of parent and child emotional expressiveness within the family context, to examine links between these patterns and children's peer relations, and to examine whether these links might be mediated by children's understanding of emotions. Subjects were 61 kindergarten and first-grade white, middle-class children and their parents. Parent and child expressiveness were assessed in a laboratory ring-toss game designed to elicit a range of emotional responses. Parent expressiveness in the home was also assessed with Halberstadt's Family Expressiveness Questionnaire. The questionnaire, completed by both mother and father, assesses a range of emotions in a variety of settings typical of many families, and consists of items tapping both positive and negative expressiveness. Children were interviewed about their understanding of emotions across a broad range of areas. Results indicated that maternal expressiveness (home) and paternal expressiveness (home and laboratory) but not children's expressiveness with parents were associated with children's peer relations. Although children's understanding of emotions was generally not associated with family expressiveness, understanding predicted children's peer relations. In addition, children's understanding influenced the links between maternal expressiveness in the home and peer relations and between paternal expressiveness in the laboratory and peer relations. This pattern of results underscores the importance of the emotional climate of the family for the development of children's social relations with peers.
Article
Personality differences between 39 adult children of alcoholics and 28 control subjects were evaluated using measures of self-disclosure, trust, and control. The former group had higher need for interpersonal control, but no differences between groups were found on trust or self-disclosure. Sex of the alcoholic parent was related to personality functioning. Subjects with alcoholic fathers had higher scores on the control measure, while subjects with alcoholic mothers had lower trust scores. For adult children of alcoholics small but significant correlations were found between distress associated with parental alcoholism and trust (lower) and reported involvement with alcohol (higher). These results provide some support for the hypothesis that the effects of parental alcoholism persist into early adulthood. The differences documented were modest and did not suggest dysfunction in the sample of adult children of alcoholics.
Article
The purpose of this study was to compare adults raised in an alcoholic home (N = 409) with those adults raised in a nonalcoholic home (N = 179) on their perceptions of alcohol-related differences in the home, violence, sexual abuse, communication, and interpersonal differences experienced as adults. The adults who were raised in alcoholic families reported significantly less utilization of interpersonal resources as a child; had significantly more family disruptions characterized by a higher divorce rate and premature parental and sibling death; reported more emotional and psychological problems in adulthood; experienced more physical and sexual abuse as children; and more frequently became alcoholic and married alcoholics when compared to adults raised in nonalcoholic families.
Article
This paper examines the constructs of individuation, differentiation, and identity formation from the individual development and family system theory perspectives. The goal of the paper is to achieve a more thorough understanding of the role of the individuation process in identity formation, and the role of the family system's level of differentiation as a mediator of both these processes. The basic assumption is that both the family system and individual developmental perspectives are interdependent in that the individuation and identity formation process encompass two frames of reference--the individual's efforts toward separation from the family of origin and the impact of these efforts on identity formation and the family system as the social framework within which, and in relation to which, the individuation occurs.
Article
The authors view the family as a rule-governed system, and present material from family assessments to indicate that family rules can be inferred from a family's repetitive behavior. Five family rules are found to be of such magnitude that they ·are designated as "family life styles." It is suggested that the therapist's willingness to state and restate the rules explicitly creates a redundancy that may set into operation counter rules, which may eventually lead to a renegotiation of the family rules. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Family rules occur in groups of five and more. Because they are implicit and multi-dimensional, family rules are beyond visualization. These characteristics have unsettling effects on clinicians and researchers. Knowing the rules of a family, however, allows precise intervention, and using rules concepts makes learning family therapy techniques less threatening to students. The concept of homeostasis in the context of rules has been examined and placed in an understandable perspective. Rules provide the connection between family process and individual behavior. They also constitute an integrated theory of families and individual personality development.
Article
A random sample of 50 adults in the general population received an open ended interview regarding their concepts of intimacy. A second random sample of 24 couples from the general population and 24 clinical couples received a standardized interview in which concepts of intimacy were systematically rated to develop an operational definition of the dimensions of intimacy. Self-disclosure was identified as a fundamental aspect of intimacy in interpersonal relationships and marriage. Expression of affection, compatibility, cohesion, identity, and the ability to resolve conflict were also considered important aspects of intimacy. Sexual satisfaction was considered less important than previous definitions of intimacy have suggested. The perception of his or her parents' level of intimacy was thought to influence the subject's own interpersonal relationships. Couples with marital maladjustment and/or psychiatric illness were less aware of aspects of their marriage which influence intimacy. They more frequently disagreed that sexuality influenced their level of intimacy. The study suggests that self-disclosure and parental interpersonal intimacy may be fundamental factors in marital adjustment which merit further research.
Article
This study examined the relationship between perceived dysfunctional family-of-origin rules and intimacy in single young adult dating relationships. A sample of 754 single, Caucasian-American young adults completed measures of perceived dysfunctional family-of-origin rules and emotional, intellectual, and sexual intimacy in dating relationships. When controlling for the effects of gender and age, results showed that perceived dysfunctional family-of-origin rules had a negative impact on the perceived expression and experience of these three kinds of intimacy in dating relationships. Implications for relationship therapy are discussed.
What predicts divorce: The relationship between marital pro-cesses and marital outcomes The intergenerational transmission of marital instability reconsidered
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Gottman, J.M. (1994). What predicts divorce: The relationship between marital pro-cesses and marital outcomes. Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. JEFFRY H. LARSON, MICHELLE TAGGART-REEDY, AND STEPHAN M. WILSON Greenberg, E.F., & Nay, W.R. (1982). The intergenerational transmission of marital instability reconsidered. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 44, 335–347.
Treating family of origin problems: A cogni-tive approach Family talk: Interpersonal communication in the family It will never happen to me The interpersonal and emotional CONTEMPORARY FAMILY THERAPY consequences of being an adult child of an alcoholic
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Bedrosian, R.C., & Bozicas, G.D. (1994). Treating family of origin problems: A cogni-tive approach. New York: Guilford Press. Beebe, S. A., & Masterson, J. T. (1986). Family talk: Interpersonal communication in the family. New York: Random House. Black, C. (1986). It will never happen to me. Denver, CO: M.A.C. Black, C., Bucky, S.F., & Wilder-Padilla, A. (1986). The interpersonal and emotional CONTEMPORARY FAMILY THERAPY consequences of being an adult child of an alcoholic. International Journal of the Addic-tions, 21, 213–231.
Intimacy capacity of female adults from functional and dys-functional families At-lanta) Dissertation Abstracts International
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Farnsworth, B. (1988). Intimacy capacity of female adults from functional and dys-functional families. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Georgia State University, At-lanta). Dissertation Abstracts International, 49, 1407A.