Family Development Theory

  • Roy H. Rodgers
  • James M. White


Family development theory has many things in common with other theoretical traditions discussed in this volume. Indeed, theorists working in the area have consciously “borrowed” from other theories over the years in order to glean the best of what those other theories had to offer. It is distinctive, however, in one important way. This can be stated in no better way than by quoting one of the modern founders of the theory, Reuben Hill, and his collaborator, Paul Mattessich:

Family development … has uniquely pioneered the effort to describe and explain the processes of change in families. Family time—the sequence of stages precipitated internally by the demands of family members (e.g., biological, psychological, and social needs) and externally by the larger society (e.g., social expectations and ecological constraints)—is the most significant focal point of the family development perspective. (Mattessich & Hill, 1987, p. 437)

This chapter will focus on how the incorporation of historical and developmental processes into family theory has given those working in the area both special challenges and exciting promises of greater explanatory power.


Family Life Family Group Family Career Part Versus Family Development 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy H. Rodgers
    • 1
  • James M. White
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Family and Nutritional SciencesUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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