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A psychological theory that holds that, during infancy and childhood, a young person develops a general style of attaching to others; once an individual's attachment style is established, she or he unconsciously applies that style to later, adult relationships. The three basic styles are secure, insecure/anxious, and avoidant.
Theoretical perspective based on concepts linking psychosocial factors to anatomy, physiology, genetics, and/or hormones as shaped by evolution.
Theoretical perspective that emphasizes social conflict in a society and within families. Power and dominance are important themes.
data collection techniques
Ways that data are gathered when doing research; these include interviews and questionnaires, naturalistic observation, focus groups, experiments and laboratory observation, and case studies, among others.
In the biosocial perspective, human behavior is encoded in genetic or other biological features that come to us as members of a species.
Theoretical perspective that sees relationships as determined by the exchange of resources and the rewardcost balance of that exchange. This theory predicts that people tend to marry others whose social class, education, physical attractiveness, and even self-esteem are similar to their own.
One tool of scientific investigation, in which behaviors are carefully monitored or measured under controlled conditions. Participants are randomly assigned to treatment or control groups.
family ecology perspective
Theoretical perspective that explores how a family influences and is influenced by the environments that surround it. A family is interdependent first with its neighborhood, then with its socialcultural environment, and ultimately with the human-built and physicalbiological environments. All parts of the model are interrelated and influence one another.
family life course development framework
Theoretical perspective that follows families through fairly typical stages in the life course, such as through marriage, childbirth, stages of raising children, adult children's leaving home, retirement, and possible widowhood.
family systems theory
An umbrella term for a wide range of specific theories. This theoretical perspective examines the family as a whole. It looks to the patterns of behavior and relationships within the family, in which each member is affected by the behavior of others. Systems tend toward equilibrium and will react to change in one part by seeking equilibrium either by restoring the old system or by creating a new one.
Feminist theories are conflict theories. The primary focus of the feminist perspective is male dominance in families and society as oppressive to women. The mission of this perspective is to end this oppression of women (or related pattern of subordination based on social class, race/ethnicity, age, or sexual orientation) by developing knowledge and action that confront this disparity. See also conflict perspective.
Theoretical perspective that focuses on internal family dynamics; the ongoing action among and response to one another of family members.
A technique of scientific investigation in which a researcher lives with a family or social group or spends extensive time with them, carefully recording their activities, conversations, gestures, and other aspects of everyday life.
Theoretical perspective that largely analyzes social interaction (discourse or narrative) in order to demonstrate that a phenomenon is socially constructed.
"A logical system that bases knowledge on . . . systematic observation, empirical evidence, facts we verify with our senses" (Macionis 2006, p. 15).
Theoretical perspective that looks to the functions that institutions perform for society and the structural form of the institution.
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