Title page for ETD etd-182516659751561

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Falci, Christina D.
Author's Email Address cfalci@vt.edu
URN etd-182516659751561
Title The Effects of Family Structure and Family Process on the Psychological Well-Being of Children: From the Children's Point of View
Degree Master of Science
Department Sociology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Edwards, John Committee Co-Chair
Hughes, Michael D. Committee Co-Chair
Arditti, Joyce A. Committee Member
Kiecolt, K. Jill Committee Member
  • Family Structure
  • Childrens Psychological Well-Being
  • Family Process
Date of Defense 1997-05-08
Availability unrestricted
The impact of family structure on children's

outcomes is a highly debated topic in literature on

the family. This research made an attempt to engage

in this debate by testing the family process

perspective. Theorists who favor this perspective

believe that the effects of family structure on children

can be mediated by the family processes occurring

within families, such as the quality of parent-child

relationships. The psychological well-being of

children from six family structures were compared.

After controlling for family processes and

background variables the majority of the effects of

family structure on children's psychological

well-being disappeared. Only children from

stepfamilies had significantly lower levels of

psychological well-being than children from intact

homes. Stepfamilies, however, are a very complex

family form and this research could not account for

the possible unique processes occurring within

stepfamilies. Finally, children from divorced homes

did not have significantly lower levels of

psychological well-being even before family

processes and background variables were

controlled. Overall, this research shows support for

the family process perspective.

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