Concepts of Family Among Children and Adolescents: Effect of Cognitive Level, Gender, and Family Structure

Judith L. Newman, Laura R. Roberts, Christine R. Syré

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

We assessed the effects of age, cognitive level, gender, and family structure on 120 Ss' definitions of family, divorce, and adoption and their acceptance or nonacceptance as instances of family each of 21 human groupings that varied on biological, legal, and spatial relatedness. Affect was the most frequently mentioned criterion in definitions of family, especially among Ss who were older and at higher cognitive levels. Age and cognitive level effects were also found for Ss' definitions of divorce and adoption. Although mean acceptance rates were higher than 75% for several of the sets of human groupings as instances of family, age and cognitive level effects were found on Ss' acceptances of those groupings composed only of biological relatedness or of biological and spatial relatedness, and there were gender effects on Ss' acceptances of groupings composed only of legal ties or of legal and spatial ties. The general absence of family structure effects is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)951-962
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Volume29
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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