Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Family Life Cycle

  • Laura Landry-MeyerEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_527

Synonyms

Family development theory

Introduction

Family life cycle theory is a dominant theory in marriage and family therapy, family science, and other disciplines. Family life cycle theory is used to systematically organize family transitions throughout a family’s life based on a structural definition of family membership. The focus of family life cycle theory is on a family who has children. Family life cycle theory is adaptable to describe the unique needs of various family structures, but the basic theoretical assumptions are based on children within the family system.

At a broad, family-level, family life cycle’s collection of assumptions has descriptive power using a structural, membership-based definition of family. Using a pattern of sequential stages, the family life cycle focuses on family composition and transitions that affect family members’ behavior over time. The temporal component starts with the formation of a couple to the addition of children to dissolution (e.g.,...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Aldous, J. (1990). Family development and the life course: Two perspectives on family change. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 5, 571–583.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Burr, W. (1973). Theory construction and the sociology of the family. New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  3. Carter, B., & McGoldrick, M. (1989). The changing family life cycle: A framework for family therapy (second ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.Google Scholar
  4. Duvall, E. M. (1962). Family development. New York: J.B. Lippincott.Google Scholar
  5. Erikson, M. J. (1998). Re-visioning the family life cycle theory and paradigm in marriage and family therapy. The American Journal of Family Therapy, 26, 341–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Furstenberg, F. F. (1979). Recycling the family: Perspectives for a neglected family form. Marriage and Family Review, 2(3), 12–22.Google Scholar
  7. Havighurst, R. J. (1972). Developmental tasks and education (3rd ed.). New York: David MacKay.Google Scholar
  8. Hill, R. (1986). Life cycle stages for types of single parent families: Of family development theory. Family Relations, 35(1), 19–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Mattessich, P., & Hill, R. (1987). Life cycle and family development. In M. B. Sussman & K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Handbook of marriage and the family. New York: Plenum Press.Google Scholar
  10. Rodgers, R. H., & White, J. M. (1993). Family development theory. In P. G. Boss, W. J. Doherty, R. LaRossa, W. R. Schumm, & S. K. Steinmetz (Eds.), Sourcebook of family theories and methods: A contextual approach. New York: Plenum.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Human Development and Family StudiesBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Rachel Diamond
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Saint JosephWest HarfordUSA