Family Development Theory Summary





Family Development Theory Summary

The chapter titled “Family Development theory” is the third in the book “Exploring Family Theories” by Smith, Hamon and Ingoldsby. The chapter commences with a brief history of the family development theory. It discusses the development of the theory from as far back as 1777. After World War II, a rudimentary form of the theory started out to explain the existence of stressors within the family unit. Proponents of this theory at the time included Reuben Hill and Evelyn Duvall. The next section of the chapter addressed the basic assumptions within the particular theory. One of the common assumptions was that therapies held the answer to family problems. This assumption proposed that certain conditions, when met, would lead to progress in the family cohesion. Another assumption was that family development had an ultimate goal or objective. The chapter then progressed into defining the key terminologies and concepts. Some of the important ones include position, norms, role, family stage, transitions and deviation. These major concepts appeared severally throughout the rest of the text and explained an aspect of family relationships.

The authors then progressed into the common areas of research and application for the theory. The school of thought is very popular and has been applied extensively to explain work-family interface, blended families and sexual topics. The family development theory contained numerous aspects that are closely related to the studies on stress, alcoholism and schizophrenia. The theory has also been included in international studies. Apart from research, the chapter noted that the theory has guided the practice of psychological therapy. The authors noted that conclusions from the theory could be applied in the counseling discipline. Family experts needed to understand the family development theory and the way it approaches family problems and dynamics. Other areas of application for the theory include child therapy in the school setting for children affected by family issues. Children often fail to understand the changes within the family unit and end up being confused or traumatized. Smith and Hamon noted that other areas of application were yet to be explored including in other fields of medicine.

The next section in the chapter was the critique section. The theory has come under sharp criticism over its effectiveness of concepts for instance, developmental duties and the amount of prominence on structure instead of communication. Scholars on family issues using concepts from the family development theory have generated only partly empirical relationships with dependent variables for instance, matrimonial contentment. Developmental scholars contend that these unsatisfactory outcomes are because of insufficient suitable measurement of the notions. Detractors reacted by proposing that this is due to a high level of vagueness and ambiguity in the concepts. Additionally, the family development theory has been accused of covering up variations such as ethnicity, race, and age cohorts that have a significant effect on the outcomes in the studies. This section was followed by an application segment that elaborated on the different ways through which the aspects learnt in the family development theory could be introduced in the practical setting. The conclusive sections of the chapter contained the sample readings for the reader. In this section, the authors provided a list of related publications that discussed the topic of family development theory further. This particular chapter has a sample reading of Gender and the Work-Family Interface: Exploring Differences Across the Family Life Course, by Giuseppe Martinengo, Jenet Jacob, and E. Jeffrey Hill.


Work Cited

Top of Form

Smith, Suzanne R, and Bron B. Ingoldsby. Exploring Family Theories. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.

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