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nuclear family, extended family

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9780631170488.1995.x


On the clinical level, the term ‘nuclear family’ refers to the family unit made up of the parents and their children. The term ‘extended family’ describes those members of the family (grandparents, uncles, aunts, nephews etc.) who both (a) belong to the same family (by alliance, filiation) as the symptom bearer; and (b) are in affective, intellectual proximity and have a lived involvement with the symptom bearer. These notions refer in fact to implicit or explicit conceptual models, which may be identified from a perspective of comparative anthropology. In anthropology, the nuclear family is in fact regarded as being made up of two parents and their children living in the same home. The married children never live with their parents in the nuclear family cycle. Marriage marks the point of separation between the generations. It may, however, occur that a grandparent comes to live in the home of one of his/her children. Extended families may be of two types: the stem family , in which a single couple from among the children remains with the original couple to continue the line and perpetuate the family property; and the patriarchal family , in which several married couples live under the same roof as the original couple. These distinctions, which were established in the nineteenth century by Le Play, have recently been re-cast through a comparative analysis of the broad types of ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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