Family Developmental Theory

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Topics: Family
Family Developmental Theory
Historical Development

• Family developmental theory is an approach to studying families, which is useful in explaining patterned change, the dynamic nature of the family, and how change occurs in the family life cycle.

• The roots of family developmental theory date back to the 1930s from works of sociologists, economists, and demographers who established family categories (which were the precursors to the stages of development

• From the mid 1940s to the early 1950s, theorists such as Paul Glick, Evelyn Duvall, Reuben Hill, and Rachel Ann Edwards contributed to a more sophisticated developmental approach.

• Since the 1950s, family developmental theory has been used to explain the processes observed in families over time.

Family Developmental Theory evolved in three phases

Phase I – Theorists Focused on the Family Life Cycle • Process of birth, growth, maintenance, shrinkage and death

Phase II - contemporary theory – Theorists Focused on Roles and Relationships within the family • Family is composed of social roles and relationships that change with each stage of the family Phase III – Theorists critique the theory • Look at the limitations and strengths of the framework. • One criticism is that the framework is biased towards intact nuclear families, only one of many different types of family structures
Major Constructs • Family developmental theory includes two basic concepts 1. the life cycle ▪ The family life cycle divides the family experiences into stages over the life span and describes changes in family structure and roles during each stage. 2. Developmental task. ▪ Developmental tasks are the growth responsibilities that arise at certain stages in the life of the family. • To be successful, family members need to adapt to changing needs and demands and to attend to tasks

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