How families matter in child development: Reflections from research on risk and resilience

Ann S. Masten, Anne Shaffer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

78 Scopus citations


Throughout the history of child development, the family has played a ubiquitous role in theory, research, practice, and policy aimed at understanding and improving child welfare and development. From grand theories to heated controversies, family processes and roles have been invoked in numerous ways in developmental science over the past century to explain or debate whether and how families matter (Collins, Maccoby, Steinberg, Hetherington et al., 2000; Maccoby, 1992). Psychoanalytic theory (Freud, 1933/1964; Munroe, 1955), attachment theory (e.g., Bowlby, 1969, Carlson & Sroufe, 1995; Sroufe & Waters, 1977), ecological and developmental systems theory (e.g., Bronfenbrenner, 1979, Ford & Lerner, 1992; Sameroff, 2000), family systems theory (Davies & Cicchetti, 2004; Fiese, 2000; Fiese & Spagnola, in press), social learning and social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1977, 2001; Gewirtz, 1969), coercion theory (e.g., Patterson, 1982), parenting styles theory (Baumrind, 1967, 1973), and a variety of other influential frameworks have emphasized the family in diverse ways. Theories about the origins of competence and about the origins of psychopathology also have focused on family roles and processes (Cummings, Davies, & Campbell, 2000; Fiese, Wilder, & Bickham, 2000; Masten & Coatsworth, 1995; Masten, Burt, & Coatsworth, in press).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFamilies count
Subtitle of host publicationEffects on child and adolescent development
EditorsA. Clarke-Stewart, J. Dunn
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9780511616259
ISBN (Print)0521612292, 9780521847537
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

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