Marriages and Families in the 21st Century A Bioecological Approach

by Tasha R. Howe

Author Tasha R Howe Isbn 9781405195010 File size 12 6MB Year 2011 Pages 576 Language English File format PDF Category Family and Friendship Marriages and Families in the 21st Century provides an in depth exploration of a traditional field of study using a new and engaging approach The text covers all the important issues including parenting divorce aging families balancing work and family family violence and gender issues using a bioecological framework that takes into account our statu

Publisher :

Author : Tasha R. Howe

ISBN : 9781405195010

Year : 2011

Language: English

File Size : 12.6MB

Category : Family and Friendship



Howe_ffirs.indd vi

7/21/2011 11:46:19 AM

MARRIAGES
& FAMILIES
IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Howe_ffirs.indd i

7/21/2011 11:46:06 AM

Howe_ffirs.indd ii

7/21/2011 11:46:07 AM

MARRIAGES
& FAMILIES
IN THE 21ST CENTURY
A BIOECOLOGICAL APPROACH
TASHA R. HOWE

A John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., Publication

Howe_ffirs.indd iii

7/21/2011 11:46:07 AM

This edition first published 2012
© 2012 Tasha R. Howe
Blackwell Publishing was acquired by John Wiley & Sons in February 2007. Blackwell’s publishing program
has been merged with Wiley’s global Scientific, Technical, and Medical business to form Wiley-Blackwell.
Registered Office
John Wiley & Sons Ltd, The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK
Editorial Offices
350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148–5020, USA
9600 Garsington Road, Oxford, OX4 2DQ, UK
The Atrium, Southern Gate, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8SQ, UK
For details of our global editorial offices, for customer services, and for information about how to apply for
permission to reuse the copyright material in this book please see our website at www.wiley.com/wiley-blackwell.
The right of Tasha R. Howe to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with the
UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted,
in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, except as permitted
by the UK Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, without the prior permission of the publisher.
Wiley also publishes its books in a variety of electronic formats. Some content that appears in print may not be
available in electronic books.
Designations used by companies to distinguish their products are often claimed as trademarks. All brand names
and product names used in this book are trade names, service marks, trademarks or registered trademarks of
their respective owners. The publisher is not associated with any product or vendor mentioned in this book.
This publication is designed to provide accurate and authoritative information in regard to the subject matter
covered. It is sold on the understanding that the publisher is not engaged in rendering professional services.
If professional advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a competent professional should
be sought.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Howe, Tasha R.
Marriages and families in the 21st century : a bioecological approach / Tasha R. Howe.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4051-9501-0 (hardback)
1. Families–United States. 2. Families. 3. Marriage–United States. I. Title.
HQ536.H69 2012
306.8750973'09051–dc23
2011019726
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
This book is published in the following electronic formats: ePDF: 9781444344684; epub: 9781444344691;
mobi: 9781444344707; oISBN: 9781444344714
Set in 10/12pt Minion by SPi Publisher Services, Pondicherry, India

1

Howe_ffirs.indd iv

2012

7/21/2011 11:46:18 AM

For my grandparents, Louise and Charles Kent,
For nurturing my faith in the potential of all families

Howe_ffirs.indd v

7/21/2011 11:46:19 AM

Howe_ffirs.indd vi

7/21/2011 11:46:19 AM

BRIEF
CONTENTS
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Walk Through Tour xviii

1

The Changing American Family

2

How We Study the Family: Theories and Research Methods

3

Sex and Gender

4

Sexualities

5

Dating and Mate Selection

6

Love

7

Marriages and Committed Partnerships

8

Living Single

9

Reproduction and Parenting

1
31

67

103
141

171
201

243
275

10 The Economy of Working Families: Balancing Mental,
Physical, and Financial Health in the Twenty-First Century
11 Families in Crisis: Violence, Abuse, and Neglect
12 Divorce and Remarriage
13 Growing Older in Families

323

357

403
439

14 The Evolution of Families in the Twenty-First Century

471

Glossary of Key Terms G-1
References R-1
Index I-1
vii

Howe_ftoc.indd vii

7/21/2011 11:31:03 AM

CONTENTS
Preface xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Walk Through Tour xviii

1 The Changing
American Family

2 How We Study the Family:
Theories and Research
Methods 31
OVERVIEW: THE NEED FOR GOOD THEORY
AND RESEARCH DESIGN 33

1

WHAT IS A FAMILY? 3

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORKS 33

The Standard North American Family 4

Communism 34
Structural-Functionalism 35
Family Systems Theory 36
Conflict Theory 36
Social Exchange Theory 37
Social Constructionism 37
Feminist Theory 39
Attachment Theory 40
Bioecological Theory 41
The person 42
Processes and contexts 43

FAMILY STRUCTURES VS. FAMILY PROCESSES 8
Diverse family structures and processes 10
Regulating family structures and
processes around the world 11
Cultural relativism vs. human rights 13

THE EVOLUTION OF AMERICAN FAMILIES 16
A look at the history of the first Americans 16
Native Americans in modern times 17
A look at the history of European
American families 18
European American families in
modern times 20
A look at the history of African
American families 22
African American families in modern times 23
A look at the history of Latino and Hispanic American
families’ experiences 24
Mexican American experiences 25
Puerto-Rican American experiences 25
Cuban American experiences 26
Latinos in modern times 26
A look at Asian American experiences 26
Chinese American experiences 26
Japanese American experiences 27
Asian Americans in modern times 28

THE APPROACH AND ORGANIZATIONAL
STRUCTURE OF THIS BOOK 28

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 47
Hypothesis testing 47
Operational definitions 48
Experimental procedures 49
Variables 49
Experimental design 49
Choosing a research time frame 50
Examining results 51
Correlational procedures 51
Correlations vs. causal inferences 53
Quantitative and qualitative research methods 54
Etic and emic approaches 55
Demand characteristics 56

DEMOGRAPHIC ISSUES IN RESEARCH 57
Race and ethnicity 58
Sex, gender, and sexual orientation 58
Social class 60

viii

Howe_ftoc.indd viii

7/21/2011 11:31:14 AM

CONTENTS

3 Sex and Gender

67

103

OVERVIEW: A BIOECOLOGICAL APPROACH
TO SEX AND GENDER 70

OVERVIEW OF INFLUENCES ON
SEXUALITY 105

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
SEX AND GENDER? 70

MACROSYSTEM AND HISTORICAL
INFLUENCES ON SEX AND SEXUALITIES 105

Two genders or more? 70
Intersexuality 71
The complexity of gender identity
and gender roles 72

The Industrial Revolution 105
Social Darwinism 106
The twentieth century 107
The sexual double standard 108

THE IMPORTANCE OF GENDER FOR
LIVING IN FAMILIES 72

TRENDS IN SEXUAL BEHAVIOR AND
ATTITUDES ABOUT SEX 109

Gender stereotypes 73
Stereotype threat 75

Cultural regulation of sexuality 109
Recent U.S. trends in sexual
behavior 110
Cultural variations in sexual behavior 111
The bioecological perspective 111

GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION 75
Can sexual orientation change? 76
Complex family issues related to
sexual orientation 77
Heteronormativity 77

GENDER DISCRIMINATION AND
SEXISM 78
Sexism 78
Men and masculinity 79
Intersectional identities 80
Gender similarity hypothesis 81

THEORIES OF GENDER ROLE
DEVELOPMENT 82
Social Cognitive Theory 83
Gender Schema Theory 84

OUR DEVELOPMENT INTO BOYS AND
GIRLS AND MEN AND WOMEN 87
Prenatal sexual differentiation 87
Genes vs. brains 88
Contextual influences on prenatal and
infant development 89
Puberty and gender 90
Evolution and adult gendered
behavior 91
The diverse lives of adult men 92
Men of color 92
Contemporary trends for
modern men 93
The diverse lives of adult women 96
Women of color 96
Macrosystem influences on
women and their families 97

Howe_ftoc.indd ix

4 Sexualities

ix

SEX ORGANS: THE WAY THEY WORK
AND HOW THINGS GO AWRY 113
Women’s sexual organs 113
Hormones 114
Women’s sexual response 114
Female orgasms 115
Women’s sexual problems 116
Men’s sex organs 117
Men’s sexual response 118
Men’s sexual problems 119
Men’s and women’s sexualities in
more depth 120
Sexual diversity vs. disorders 121
Sex therapy 122
Physiological aspects of sex
therapy 124

SEXUAL ORIENTATION 125
Biological research on homosexuality 126
Genes 126
Chromosomes 127
Social and contextual issues and
homosexuality 128

A CLOSER LOOK AT CURRENT ISSUES
IN SEXUALITY 129
Female genital mutilation 129
AIDS and trends in youth sexualities 130
More on young people and sexuality 131
Abstinence education, virginity pledges, and family
relationships 133
Sexual abuse and sexualized violence 135

7/21/2011 11:31:15 AM

x

CONTENTS

5 Dating and Mate Selection

141

OVERVIEW OF DATING, HOOKING UP,
AND MATE SELECTION 143
General processes leading from dating
to mate selection 144
Attachment processes 145

A BIOECOLOGICAL EXAMINATION OF
DATING AND MATE SELECTION 146
Biological factors 146
Research on evolution 146
Neurobiological research 147
Phases of chemical attraction 148
Attachment and biology 149
Person, process, and context factors 151
Micro- and mesosystem influences
on adolescent dating 152
The macrosystem: cultural factors 153

THEORIES OF DATING AND MATE SELECTION 155
Structural-Functionalism and dating 155
Conflict Theory and Filter Theory 156
More on filter and market value
approaches to mate selection 158

HISTORICAL TRENDS IN DATING AND
MATE SELECTION 159
DIVERSITY IN DATING AND MATE SELECTION 161
Ethnicity and dating 161
LGBT communities and dating 161
Seniors and dating 162

CONTEMPORARY TRENDS AROUND
THE WORLD 163
Dating with technology 164
Dating violence 166

Gender issues 180
How men and women express love 181
Androgynous love 182
Modern ideas 182

BIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF LOVE 184
The brain and relationships 185
Neurochemistry and the development
of love 186
Kissing 187
Relationship development 187

THE SOCIAL CONTEXTS OF LOVE:
ATTACHMENT THEORY 189
Baby love 189
Adult attachment 190

MACROSYSTEM INFLUENCES ON LOVE 193
Economic forces 193
Cultural forces 193
Polyamory 194

A FINAL NOTE: ENHANCING THE
QUALITY OF LOVE 196

7 Marriages and Committed
Partnerships 201
OVERVIEW OF CONTEMPORARY MARRIAGE
TRENDS 204
Sharing roles in committed partnerships 204
The deinstitutionalization of marriage 205
Specific forms of deinstitutionalization 205
Examining the modern institution
of marriage 206

HEALTH BENEFITS OF HAPPY MARRIAGES 207
Processes underlying the marriage–health link 209

6 Love

A HISTORICAL EXAMINATION OF MARRIAGE 210
171

WHAT IS LOVE? 173
Passionate/romantic love vs. companionate
love 173
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love 174
Lee’s styles of love 176
Aron and Aron’s Self-Expansion Theory of Love 178

IS LOVE UNIVERSAL? 178
Some cultural trends 179
Some historical trends 179
Religious and philosophical influences
on love 180

Howe_ftoc.indd x

Marriages before industrialization 210
Marriage in the nineteenth century 211
Kin marriages 212

TYPES OF MARRIAGE 212
Cohabitation and common law marriage 214
A case example of cohabitation
in Sweden 215
Covenant marriages 216
Lavee and Olson’s marriage typologies 217
Same-sex marriages 219
Key historical turning points in
same-sex marriage 220

7/21/2011 11:31:15 AM

CONTENTS

Domestic partnerships 221
Contemporary views of same-sex marriage 221
Arguments for and against same-sex
marriage 224
Interracial and intercultural marriages 225
Social dominance beliefs and
interracial marriage 226
Demographic variables and interracial
marriage 227
Intercultural marriages 228
Immigrant marriages 228
Arranged marriages 229

MARITAL PROBLEMS 231
Infidelity 231
Unresolved conflict 232
Financial infidelity 232
Problems in relationship perceptions 233

HEALTHY PROCESSES IN MARRIAGES 234
Premarital counseling 235
Positive vs. negative interactions 236
Peer marriages and feminist marriages 237
Lesbian and gay relationships 238
Dyadic coping 238

8 Living Single

243

OVERVIEW OF SINGLEHOOD 245
UNIQUE CHALLENGES FACING SINGLES 246

Singles strain 264
Emotional attachments 266

SINGLE THROUGH COMMITMENT TO GOD 267
Priests, monks, and nuns: a historic family
necessity 268
Contemporary faith-based single lifestyles 268
An example from Thai Buddhist maechii 270

FINAL REFLECTIONS 271

9 Reproduction and Parenting

HISTORICAL TRENDS IN PARENTING 280
The work of Leta Hollingworth 280
Historical beliefs and practices surrounding
childbirth 282
Historical views of children and childhood 283
Historical views of motherhood 284
Historical views of fatherhood 284
Diverse families in history 285
Modern ideas for insuring child well-being
in families 285

REPRODUCTION AND BIRTH 286

THE DIVERSE LIVES OF SINGLE PEOPLE 253

THE TRANSITION TO PARENTHOOD 293

Non-normative singles 255
Living apart together 256
Diverse reasons for singlehood 256

Mitigating the stress of parenthood 294
Post-partum mental health 295

MACROSYSTEM FORCES AGAINST
SINGLEHOOD 257
An example from Mormon culture 257
Examples from Africa 258
Women’s rights in African nations 258
Examples from the United States 259
Fighting for singles’ rights in the U.S. 262

275

OVERVIEW: TO PARENT OR NOT
TO PARENT 278

The struggles for identity and intimacy 251
Emerging adulthood 252
Types of emerging adults 252

THE NORMATIVE LIFE CYCLE MODEL 251

Howe_ftoc.indd xi

THE PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL
HEALTH OF SINGLE PEOPLE 263

Egg and sperm 286
The egg and the prenatal environment 286
Sperm and the role of the father 287
The role of genes after fertilization 288
Prenatal development 289
Giving birth 291
Natural birth 292
Cesarean section birth 292
Choosing a birth method 293

Singlism 247
Coping with singlism 250
Singles pride 250

xi

INFERTILITY AND CREATIVE WAYS TO
BECOME PARENTS 296
Artificial insemination 297
In vitro fertilization 297
Reproductive surrogacy 298
Adoption 298
Private adoption 298
Public adoption 299

7/21/2011 11:31:15 AM

xii

CONTENTS

International adoption 299
Unique challenges of adoptive
parenting 301

PARENTING INFANTS AND CHILDREN 301
Infant brains and the environment 302
Stress and the developing brain 302
Secure environments and the
developing brain 303
Over-stimulation of the developing
brain 303
Parenting styles 304
Socioeconomic influences on
parenting styles 305
Baumrind’s parenting styles 306

THE MANY FACES OF PARENTHOOD 309
Fathering 309
Intimate and aloof fathering 310
Fathering with fewer resources 311
Single parents 312
African American parents 313
Transnational and Latino parents 314
Native American parents 315
Asian American parents 315
LGBT parents 315
Grandparents as parents 317

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT AND
THE MACROSYSTEM 318

10 The Economy of Working
Families: Balancing Mental,
Physical, and Financial Health
in the Twenty-First Century 323
OVERVIEW OF ECONOMIC TRENDS 325
Contemporary issues 325
Historic patterns in work and income 328

DIVERSITY IN WORK AND FAMILY LIFE 329
Men in families and work 331
LGBT issues and work 333
African American experiences with work
and family 333
Diversity in social policies around the world 335
Working women in families 336
Women and career advancement 338
Sexism 338
Challenges for working women of color 340

Howe_ftoc.indd xii

Tokenism 341
Wage penalties for women 342

BALANCING WORK AND FAMILY 342
Family-friendly policies 343
Child care issues 343
The impact of performing multiple roles 344
Policies that benefit families 344
Work stress 346
The role of personality in work stress 346
Economic downturns and unemployment 349

LIVING ON THE EXTREMES OF THE
SOCIOECONOMIC CONTINUUM: POVERTY
AND WEALTH 350
Living in poverty 350
The consequences of poverty 350
Living in affluence 351

11 Families in Crisis: Violence,
Abuse, and Neglect 357
OVERVIEW: THE PERVASIVE NATURE
OF VIOLENCE 360
ELDER ABUSE AND NEGLECT 361
Forms of elder abuse 362
Neglect 362
Self-neglect 362
Physical abuse 363
Psychological/emotional abuse 363
Sexual abuse 363
Financial/material abuse/exploitation 363
Diversity in elder abuse 364

ANIMAL ABUSE 365
Risk factors for animal abuse 366
Childhood cruelty to animals 367

INTIMATE PARTNER VIOLENCE 369
Historical trends in intimate partner violence 369
The importance of terminology 369
Marital rape 370
The gender symmetry controversy 371
The World Health Organization study 373
Research on western families 374
The dynamics of IPV 375
Cycle of violence 375
Power and control 376
Why is it so hard to leave a batterer ? 377
Supporting battered women 378

7/21/2011 11:31:16 AM

CONTENTS

Biological processes resulting from IPV 379
Risk and protective factors related
to victimization 380
Victims or survivors? 382
Lesbian IPV victims and survivors 382
Ethnicity and IPV 383
Feminism and IPV 384

BATTERERS 386
Types of batterers 386
Dysphoric/borderline batterers 386
Antisocial/violent batterers 386
Family only batterers 387
Attachment issues 387
Treatment issues 388
Duluth Model 388
An innovative treatment model for Latino
immigrants 389
Children exposed to intimate partner violence 390

Cultural issues in maltreatment 391
Types of child maltreatment 392
Physical abuse 392
Abusive head trauma 392
Neglect 393
Sexual abuse 395
Psychological/emotional abuse 396
Intervention and prevention 396
Legal issues 396
The need for evidence-based practice 398

403

OVERVIEW: TRENDS IN DIVORCE AND
REMARRIAGE 405
Historical trends in divorce 406
Historic trends in the U.S. 406
Contemporary trends 408
Contemporary legal trends 408
Comparing legal trends in other countries
and the U.S. 410

THE COMPLEXITIES OF DIVORCE 411
The process of divorce 412
Some psychological processes related
to divorce 412
The stations of divorce 414

THE EFFECTS OF DIVORCE 415
Effects of divorce on women 416

Howe_ftoc.indd xiii

Psychological issues for women and
children 417
Biological aspects of women’s response
to divorce 417
The effects of abuse on divorce
outcomes 418
Effects of divorce on men 418
Financial issues 419
Psychological processes fathers can
experience 420
Effects of divorce on children 420
Should parents stay together for
the Kids? 422
Positive outcomes of divorce 423

REDUCING THE NEGATIVE IMPACT
OF DIVORCE 424
Co-parenting 425
Couples coping enhancement training 426

REMARRIAGE 427

CHILD MALTREATMENT 391

12 Divorce and Remarriage

xiii

Variables influencing remarriage rates 427
Special challenges in stepfamilies 428
Legal and financial issues 430
Challenges for stepmothers
vs. stepfathers 430
Different viewpoints on stepfamilies 432
Healthy ways to remarry and
stepparent 433

13 Growing Older in Families

439

OVERVIEW: CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL
BELIEFS ABOUT AGING 441
Historic trends 441
Contemporary trends around the world 443

MULTIDIMENSIONAL CHANGES WITH AGE 444
Physical development 446
Sexual development 448
Older women’s sexuality 448
Older men’s sexuality 449
Cognitive development 451
Psychological control 452
Socioemotional development 453
Depression and suicide 454
Some African American
experiences 454
Some LGBT experiences 454

RETIREMENT 456

7/21/2011 11:31:16 AM

xiv

CONTENTS

FAMILY LIFE ACROSS GENERATIONS 458
Marriages and committed partnerships
in later life 458
Life satisfaction among women 458
Health effects of different personality types 459
Widowhood 459
Relationships with adult children 460
Adult children as caregivers for elders 461
Grandparenting 462
Types of grandparents 465
Complexities of modern grandparenting 467

GENDER AND SEXUAL ORIENTATION
IN THE TWENTY-FIRST
CENTURY 477
Women’s rights 478
Women in Afghanistan 478
LGBT rights 479

GLOBALIZATION 480
Acculturation stress 481
Trauma from global violence 482
The responsibilities of developed
nations 484

AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT IMMIGRATION 487

14 The Evolution of Families
in the Twenty-First Century

471

FIVE KEY IDEAS FOR UNDERSTANDING
MARRIAGES AND FAMILIES 473
The bioecological model 473
Family structure vs. process 473
A strengths-based approach 474
Intersectional identities 474
Diversity as normative 474

GENERAL TRENDS IN MULTICULTURALISM 475
Ethnic changes in the U.S. 475
Views in favor of multiculturalism 476
Views against multiculturalism 476

Howe_ftoc.indd xiv

Transnational families 488
LGBT immigrants 488
Undocumented immigrants 489
Undocumented children and
education 489

FINAL REFLECTIONS ON THE FUTURE
OF FAMILIES 490

Glossary of Key Terms G-1
References R-1
Index I-1

7/21/2011 11:31:16 AM

PREFACE
Dear Instructors and Students
I am thrilled to be able to bring a fresh new approach to a topic near and dear to my heart: family
relationships. Over the decade or so that I have taught the marriages and families course at my
university, I have struggled each year to find an adequate textbook/reader/journal article combination
that would truly reflect the diverse and dynamic families in which we all live. I found this such a
difficult task that I decided to write a book myself, which would reflect the complexities of individuals,
families, and cultures, while also being fun to read and interesting for students. My student
test-pilots have given the book a resounding “thumbs up” and have said that when they read this
book, it feels like they’re having a conversation instead of trudging through dense text. And
professional reviewers have commented on the lively, engaging writing style, combined with its
multi-disciplinary focus and depth of analysis, which encourage students to think critically. I was
delighted by the reviews and feel that I have been able to accomplish my main goals in writing a
textbook unlike any other on the market. It covers all the topics instructors are used to examining in
marriage and family courses (e.g., divorce, mate selection) yet it explores them in a way no other
book does, from a bioecological approach. Key terms are given in bold, listed at the end of each
chapter, and defined in a glossary at the end of the book.
I believe that we can only understand how families function if we take the time to examine them
within the multiple contexts in which they live. We are all biological beings, with brains that have
been organized to reflect our social and cultural milieu. The inner workings of our nervous systems,
hormones, and neurotransmitters are not laid down solely through some genetic blueprint, however,
but are intimately linked to the environments that shape us. Biology and context work bi-directionally
to impact our family’s functioning, whether it be healthy, safe, and stable, or in some way challenged
or less than optimal. The bioecological approach easily integrates social ecologies with individual
developmental influences like personality, coping skills, and neurophysiology.
Every topic in the book is explored using research from many disciplines, which may include
cutting edge discoveries in neuroscience, medicine, sociology, social work, nursing, psychology,
economics, psychiatry, and anthropology. Each chapter includes a How Would You Measure That?
box which presents the details of an innovative research study and encourages students to build their
abilities to approach research findings analytically. Because the book sets up this complex framework
at the outset, students immediately begin to assimilate ways to critically think about research. I have
used this framework in my classes for years and have found that within the first month of instruction,
students become well versed in the bioecological model and can use it to understand their own and
other people’s families. They know, for example, that something like “love” is not simply a feeling but
is a concept affected by everything from neurotransmitters to religion to culture. Indeed, the
bioecological approach makes intuitive sense right away and students easily apply its principles to
every topic we study. My intent in writing this text was for students to gain a deeper understanding
of the complexities of families and no longer endorse statements like “his mother made him that

xv

Howe_fpref.indd xv

7/20/2011 4:16:52 AM

xvi

PREFACE

way,” or “she’s that way because it’s in the genes.” The bioecological approach makes it patently clear
that all things we are and all things we do are multiply determined.
In addition to the bioecological framework, other aspects of this text also make it unique and
effective at eliciting deep structure learning, analysis, critical thinking, and personal insight. The
limitations of stereotyped family forms such as the Standard North American Family (SNAF) are
explored throughout the book, and it becomes evident that very few people live in SNAFs. SNAFs
consist of a working white heterosexual middle-class father, his stay-at-home legal wife, and their
small number of biological children. The SNAF ideology emerged from media images and biased
memories of the 1950s, a time that in every way was an anomaly in human history. We explore the
fact that even in the 1950s, most people did not live in SNAFs. Diversity has always been the norm in
regard to family structure and a key aspect of this book is its focus on the history and evolution of
current family forms. I emphasize that we really cannot understand the health and well-being of a
family based solely on its structure. The only way to assess family strengths is by looking inside,
moving away from structure, and looking at process. What are the processes, the dynamics, and the
attachment patterns the family members experience? Only with that analysis can we assess whether
a family is dysfunctional or has an abundance of strengths that may benefit its members. At its core,
this textbook helps students view the world through a strengths-based lens.
Families have evolved and changed continuously since before recorded history and they will
continue to evolve with contemporary challenges and trends. If we view these trends with a
strengths-based approach, meaning that all family structures are viewed with an eye to meeting
healthy relationship potentials, we can each build our strengths through recognition of the many
ways healthy families function. I have included a plethora of Self-Assessment and Building Your
Strengths exercises so that students can reflect on their own families’ strengths and attempt to
reinforce and build on them. When we focus on the positive attributes of families, we see that most
of us have a lot in common. These commonalities tie the human family together and unite people
from extremely diverse intersectional backgrounds.
Each of us lives an intersectional life, carrying with us our sex, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity,
history, “race,” social class, age, religion, language, (dis)ability status, and biochemical make-up.
These many intersectional sources of our identity constitute the very fiber of who we are, yet all of us
are members of the same global village. It is no longer viable to be socially isolated, insular, or
ethnocentric. What happens in one tiny corner of the globe now happens to us all. The 21st-century
family is characterized by interactions with diverse others across the lifespan. Each chapter in this
text has attempted to show trends within diverse groups in the U.S. and patterns across the world,
focusing in particular on intersectional identities. Thus, diversity is the driving force in every chapter,
not something that is featured in discrete boxes or sidebars.
Those who learn how to integrate multiple perspectives into their lives can become cognitively
flexible, solve problems, and act in more creative, critical, and innovative ways. Multiculturalism
leads to cognitive, social, and even spiritual advancement. To enhance this perspective, every chapter
features a real family. Families wrote essays about their lives in their own words and provided family
photos for students to be able to get a tiny glimpse at the diverse experiences parents, partners,
children, and extended kin use to build their strengths.
I hope you enjoy reading this book as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. I welcome your
comments and questions. Just send me an email!

Tasha
[email protected]

Howe_fpref.indd xvi

7/20/2011 4:16:57 AM

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I

want to thank everyone who has given their support and encouragement to me as a first-time
author: my agent, Neil Salkind; at Wiley-Blackwell, my acquisitions editor, Chris Cardone, now
at Sage, for signing me on and supporting my vision throughout the process, Mathew Bennett,
senior editor of psychology, for his rational and caring approach to getting the job done, Marilyn
R. Freedman, freelance development editor, for making my words fit for public consumption,
Deirdre Ilkson, development editor, for her organizational prowess, warm-hearted support for
both me and my book, and sense of humor, Nicole Benevenia, editorial assistant, Annie Jackson,
copyeditor extraordinaire, and everyone in the marketing and art departments, for making the
process and the final product so wonderful. And to the anonymous reviewers: thank you for your eye
to detail and suggestions for improvement.
At Humboldt State University, my amazing students collected research, typed references, ran to
the library, made spreadsheets, and generally allowed me to stay focused on the writing, especially
Rachel Wiseman, Stephanie Bulluss, and Lindsay Weymouth. Thanks are due to my prolific mentor,
Ross Parke, for convincing me to spend two years of my life “typing up my lecture notes” to write a
textbook and also helping me to make it great and to Melinda Myers, for keeping me in check in
innumerable ways.
I am forever grateful to my father, Dr. James Hein, for setting the bar high, and to Mike, Elijah, and
Kieran, the steam in my engine: you keep me going with humor, love, and dinner-time conversations;
you sacrificed a lot of wife/mommy time to allow me to write this book. Leslie Martin is the most
amazing example of an author, woman, and friend, who always listens when I whine.
I want to thank all of my friends, family members, and colleagues whom I can’t list individually
but who have impacted my life and the writing of this book in myriad ways. Very special thanks to
the brave families who shared the intimate details of their lives with my readers, in the personal
essays placed throughout the book.

xvii

Howe_flast.indd xvii

7/20/2011 6:53:08 PM

WALK THROUGH TOUR

Chapter opening
Each
begins
Ch
i page E
h chapter
h
b i with
iha
thought-provoking quotation and learning objectives to
help the reader navigate the text.

Key terms and glossary Key terms are given in bold,
defined in the adjacent margin, listed at the end of
each chapter, and defined in a glossary at the end of
the book.

Focus on My Family Focus on My Family boxes
include essays written by families about their lives along
with family photos. These boxes give the reader insight
into the diverse experiences of parents, partners,
children, and extended kin from many walks of life.

Self-Assessment Self-Assessment boxes encourage
the reader to reflect upon his or her own family’s
strengths, focusing on the commonalities that tie
the human family together and unite people from
extremely diverse intersectional backgrounds.

Howe_flast.indd xviii

7/20/2011 6:53:14 PM

© 2018-2019 bookprice.uk. All rights reserved