Impact of Family Environment in Old Age.

Topics: Family, Extended family, Sociology Pages: 18 (6141 words) Published: February 27, 2011
Family Environment Scale

The aim of the present research was to study the comparative difference in the perceived family environment of single elderly males living in institutions and at home with their families by using the Family Environment Scale (FES) devised by Moos and Moos, 1986. The participants used in the study were all single elderly males aged 65 years and above (N=30). Fifteen were living at home with their children and their families, and the other fifteen were living in old age homes. The data obtained was subjected to descriptive analysis and t obtained was found significant at .01 levels for three dimensions – Expressiveness (2.87), Independence (2.25) and Control (2.70). Non-institutionalized males were found to be more expressiveness (M=48.1) and independent (M=46.26), whereas, institutionalized males had a higher mean on the dimension on control (M=55.3). Reasons were suggested for the findings.

Literally, family is defined in Random House Webster's Dictionary as parents and their children considered as a group. It is a group in which persons are together under the same identity. The family forms the basic unit of social organization and it is difficult to imagine how human society could function without it. The family has been seen as a universal social institution an inevitable part of human society. According to Burgess and Lock the family is a group of persons united by ties of marriage, blood or adoption constituting a single household interacting with each other in their respective social role of husband and wife, mother and father, brother and sister creating a common culture. G.P Murdock defines the family as a social group characterized by common residence, economic cooperation and reproduction. It includes adults of both sexes at least two of whom maintain a socially approved sexual relationship and one or more children own or adopted of the sexually co-habiting adults. Nimkoff says that family is a more or less durable association of husband and wife with or without child or of a man or woman alone with children. According to Maclver family is a group defined by sex relationships sufficiently precise and enduring to provide for the procreation and upbringing of children. Kingsley Davis describes family as a group of persons whose relations to one another are based upon consanguinity and who are therefore kin to one another. Malinowski opined that the family is the institution within which the cultural traditions of a society is handed over to a newer generation. This indispensable function could not be filled unless the relations to parents and children were relations reciprocally of authority and respect. According to Talcott Parsons families are factories which produce human personalities. Family often stands on top of social hierarchies with its strong power uniting all the members. That means it is something more than the sum of each member. There are a lot of constituents in the meaning of a family. Beginning from one origin, a family traditionally shares blood. Blood ties often makes people show superpower behavior in case of a family emergency. The sense of sharing blood gives people a unique identity as a family, the most exclusive group in the world. Home is another word for a family. Even though all the members are not in the same place, they each keep the home in mind as the only and the very best place for each family member. They expect almost everything at home, which they don't at all outside the home. Despite the industrialization scattering each member all over the place, home still takes its firm place as family in their minds. In addition, family brings a genealogical record. Simply speaking, family is based on its genealogical history. Each member should know it well and keep it for the next members. It usually says who the family's first member was and who the most famous or greatest one was, and so on. They will feel safe when they find...

References: Murdock, G. P. 1970. Kin Term Patterns and their Distribution. Ethnology 9: 165–207.
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