family Systems theory
Why study families?
• Traditional psychology - problem an individual one - Externalise distress - act out
- Internalise distress - withdraw
- Psychoanalytic - e.g Freud - fixated at a phase due to trauma and regress to this level
- Behaviourists - e.g learn inappropriate response
- Attachment - insecure primary attachment
• Sociological perspective
Bronfenbrenner's model - ecological approach
a) Life cycle stresses
b) Stresses related to cultural expectations
c) Stresses related to historical time
d) Random fate
e) Stress reactions which create more stress
Does research support the sociological viewpoint?
- Distress related to lack of social support
- Overcrowded housing, father in gaol, depressed mother
- Parental stress & maternal negativity plus child temperament
What is family's position in the sociological model?
- most influential part of child's social context
- buffer between child and outside world - serves to protect or expose child
- usually positive
Do families need support?
- Bronfenbrenner's model less applicable now?
- Less sense of community
- Increased fragmentation
How do families work?
Can be seen as a system - stress -> distress
- child most likely to be the distressed person as most powerless
Circulatory causation - interactive model
Non-summativity - whole more than sum of parts
Communication - feeling and content
Governed by rules - spoken or understood
Homeostasis - in some sort of balance
Morphogenesis - flexibility to respond to change
How do you measure family relationships?
Research relies on two dimensions
- Affection (aka warmth, acceptance, cohesion, closeness)
- Control (aka power, autonomy, flexibility)