Family Systems Thinking as a Guide for Theory Integration: Conceptual Overlaps of Differentiation, Attachment, Parenting Style, and Identity Development in Families With Adolescents

Patrick Bortz, Miranda Berrigan, Alexandra VanBergen, Stephen M. Gavazzi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

There is both the necessity and the capacity for unification across the discipline of family science. This article offers another step toward a comprehensive, integrated body of theory and research shared across our discipline. Specifically, we address how family systems thinking has been reflected in attachment, parenting, and adolescent identity literature, and we present bidimensional models and integrated spectrums emphasizing how levels of differentiation, adolescent internal working models of attachment, parenting styles, and adolescent identity statuses are conceptually intertwined as systemic intrapsychic and interpersonal processes. These theories and concepts, when considered as an integrated whole, invite theoretical complexity that advances the understanding of family processes and guides new research questions. We propose that family systems theory is a holistic framework that is ideal for integrating these concepts in a way that goes beyond highlighting their common factors. We conclude with the benefits and barriers to comprehensive integration across family science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)544-560
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Family Theory and Review
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • attachment
  • families and adolescents
  • family systems
  • identity
  • internal working models
  • parenting style
  • theory integration

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