Non-nuclear families function, too

Oct 19, 2009
Non-nuclear families function, too
The satisfaction of adolescents about their families is independent of its structure. Credit: Juan Soriano./ SINC

The conventional family has changed over the past decade. According to a new study by the Working Group on Adolescence of the Andalusian Society of Family and Community Medicine, which has been published in the Spanish journal Atención Primaria, adolescents' perception of proper family functioning has little to do with the traditional nuclear structure.

When children turn into this leads to changes in family patterns and roles. "Previously, the nuclear family, which is the most common model in Western society and is made up of only the father, mother and children, was presented as the family type best able to tackle these changes, and to ensure the best upbringing for children," Alejandro Pérez Milena, lead author of the study published by Atención Primaria and a family doctor at the El Valle de Jaén Health Centre, tells SINC.

The results of the new study show that family structure is no longer decisive in an adolescent's perception of proper family function. "At the start of the study, teenagers from nuclear families had a better perception of family function, but this has changed to become equal with those of other family structures", explains the expert.

Older teenagers (16 to 18 years) have improved their perception of family functionality, regardless of factors such as family structure or gender, which the authors of the study believe may be related to the progressive delay in their leaving home.

"However, social reality shows that family structure has changed over recent years, with families with different structures being increasingly common", points out Pérez Milena. "During adolescence, families should focus on promoting a positive family dynamic, regardless of their structure".

The researchers, all of whom are members of the Study Group on Adolescence of the Andalusian Society of Family and Community Medicine, carried out four surveys over 10 years (1997-2007) on 1,356 students from two secondary schools, one of which was rural and the other urban, using the Apgar family test, which measures a teenager's satisfaction with the functioning of his or her family.

Previous studies pointed to families without a regular structure (headed by a lone parent, or other family members such as grandparents or uncles, or including the children of other partners, etc.) leading to a greater risk of teenagers living in such families turning to drugs or being violent, having mental health problems or even exhibiting criminal behaviour.

More information: Alejandro Pérez Milena, María Luz Martínez Fernández, Inmaculada Mesa Gallardo, Rafael Pérez Milena, Francisco Javier Leal Helmling e Idoia Jiménez Pulido. Cambios en la estructura y en la función familiar del adolescente en la última década (1997). Atención Primaria, Sept 2009.

Source: FECYT - Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology

Explore further: Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Almost one quarter of Spanish women take antidepressants

Jul 23, 2009

Psychopharmaceutical use has risen over recent years. This is fact, but what is not clear is the reason why. Researchers from four Madrid-based health centres have shown that family conflict is not a significant ...

Study shows family lifestyles influence adolescents' weight

Dec 10, 2008

(PhysOrg.com) -- A new Penn State study shows that family lifestyle has a significant impact on teenagers’ weight. Children are heavier if their families skip or miss some meals, such as breakfast, or if their families ...

Internet complicates doctor-patient relationships

Sep 01, 2009

Patients who ask their doctor about information they have read on the Internet, or webs that better inform them of their diagnosis, are no longer a rarity. A study undertaken by Spanish researchers reveals ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

7 hours ago

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

Can new understanding avert tragedy?

Apr 17, 2014

As a boy growing up in Syracuse, NY, Sol Hsiang ran an experiment for a school project testing whether plants grow better sprinkled with water vs orange juice. Today, 20 years later, he applies complex statistical ...

Creative activities outside work can improve job performance

Apr 16, 2014

Employees who pursue creative activities outside of work may find that these activities boost their performance on the job, according to a new study by San Francisco State University organizational psychologist Kevin Eschleman ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook central and southern Mexico on Friday, sending panicked people into the streets. Some walls cracked and fell, but there were no reports of major damage or casualties.

Sun emits a mid-level solar flare

The sun emitted a mid-level solar flare, peaking at 9:03 a.m. EDT on April 18, 2014, and NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory captured images of the event. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful ...