SOC 280 Discussion Differing Viewpoints Correspond or Clash with Western Notions of Family

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SOC 280 Discussion Differing Viewpoints Correspond or Clash with Western Notions of Family

Discussion Prompt 1: Read, listen, or watch the media listed below.

Listen to the audio file, “Defending and Attacking Polygamy in Saudi Arabia.”

Read the article, “Adoptive Gay Father Families: Parent-Child Relationships and Children’s Psychological Adjustment.”

Watch the clip from the movie She’s the Man.

What different interpretations of family and gender roles are voiced in the materials you reviewed?

To what extent do these differing viewpoints correspond or clash with Western notions of family?

Discussion Prompt 2: Think back on your life when you experienced a change, such as a graduation or a change of job. Discuss your experience with anticipatory socialization and resocialization. Describe how these concepts could apply to your next transition in the healthcare field.

SOC 280 Discussion Differing Viewpoints Correspond or Clash with Western Notions of Family

SOC 280 Discussion Differing Viewpoints Correspond or Clash with Western Notions of Family

Although the importance of gender role attitudes in family dynamics has been of interest to researchers for several decades (e.g., Benin & Agostinelli, 1988; Ruble, Martin, & Berenbaum, 2006; Thompson & Walker, 1989), the gender role attitudes of family members—mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers—are typically studied in adults and children separately, or within single (i.e., marital or parent-child) dyads. This approach is likely to limit our understanding of the way in which family members’ gender characteristics are connected. As proposed within a family systems perspective, families are composed of subsystems that are interrelated (Cox & Paley, 1997; Minuchin, 1985) and, as such, understanding of one subsystem in the family is incomplete if the processes that operate in other subsystems are not considered. The present study was intended to fill a gap in the literature on gender role attitudes and family dynamics. Using interview data on US families, we aimed: (1) to identify distinct family patterns of gender role attitudes of mothers, fathers, and two adolescent siblings using cluster analysis; (2) to explore the conditions under which different family patterns emerged, including family socioeconomic status (SES), parents’ time spent on gendered household tasks, parents’ time spent with children, and the sex constellation of sibling dyads; and (3) to assess the implications of family patterns of gender role attitudes for conflict between family members. We focused on gender role attitudes because of the extensive changes in gender ideologies within the US in recent decades (Fortin, 2005). We reasoned that sustained social change may differentially affect families and family members and thus give rise to distinct family patterns of gender role attitudes, with some families exhibiting more traditional attitudes, some exhibiting more egalitarian attitudes, some exhibiting similarity in attitudes within the family, and some exhibiting differences in attitudes within the family.

Gender Roles Attitudes of Family Members: Congruence and Incongruence
Our first goal was to identify family patterns of gender role attitudes. We used a cluster analysis approach which involves grouping units (families in our case) based on their similarities in multiple measures and which produces subgroups that maximize within-group similarities and between-group differences (Henry, Tolan, & Gorman-Smith, 2005). This pattern-analytic technique is exploratory in nature and involves few a priori assumptions about the structure of the resultant patterns (Whiteman & Loken, 2006). Within the family literature, efforts to identify types of families based on similarity and differences between family members are rare, and we found no prior research that explored family patterns of gender role attitudes. Thus we had no data to guide our predictions on what types of families would emerge. However, as we describe below, a review of literature on gender role attitudes and family systems theory, in general, suggested that, whereas some families may be characterized by congruence in attitudes across family members (e.g., all members are traditional or all are egalitarian), other families may be characterized by incongruence (i.e., some members are traditional and some are egalitarian).

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