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Family Development Theory - Research

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Despite criticisms, family development theory and its associated concept of family life-cycle stages remains one of the most internationally popular academic approaches to the study of the families. Researchers have applied this theory to such diverse topics as work-family interface (White 1999), family computer uses (Watt and White 1999), blended families (Baxter; Braithewaite; and Nicholson 1999), and sexual orientation (Friedman 1998). This approach has also proved useful to international researchers; examples include the study of German families (Vaskovics 2000), Eastern European families ( Judge 1999), and families of India (Desai 1993).

In addition to the academic research, this theory has been useful to practitioners and therapists in several areas. For example, applications of the theory have been undertaken in the study of stress (e.g., Klein and Aldous 1988), traumatic brain injury (Moore, Stambrook, and Peters 1993), alcoholism (Rotunda; Scherer; and Imm 1995), and schizophrenia (Stromwall and Robinson 1998). The practical applicability of this theory has greatly benefited from the substantial literature on using family development theory as a therapeutic tool to assist in the analysis of on-time careers and events (Carter and McGoldrick 1988; Falicov 1987).

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