Book Reviews -- Family Relations: Challenges for the Future Edited by Timothy H. Brubaker

Article excerpt

Family Relations: Challenges for the Future. Timothy H. Brubaker (Ed.). Newbury Park, CA: Sage. 1993. 320 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-8039-3945-0. $42.95 cloth, $19.95 paper.

This is the first in a series of volumes on current theory and research addressing changes in society and families. Written for family life educators, therapists, and policy makers, the book should be useful for graduate students as well. Although somewhat uneven, it has much to offer. For example, the volume contains demographic information often needed by practitioners and policy makers at a moment's notice. Literature reviews not only summarize research on a particular topic but also are organized around a theoretical framework. Well-known authors have contributed scholarly, insightful commentaries on current family issues and challenges for the future. In short, this book provides information that practitioners and policy makers could use to do the following: establish the need and rationale for programming and applied research, justify the expenditure of funds for children and families, ground their work in theory and research, conduct in-service education, and consider program evaluation strategies.

The 12 chapters in this volume are grouped into three sections: "Changing Family Perspectives," "Challenges to the Family," and "Family Interventions." In the introductory chapter, Timothy H. Brubaker and Judy A. Kimberly highlight demographic changes that underscore challenges to families in America. Surprisingly, they say little about ethnic and cultural diversity, providing only a partial backdrop for the chapters that follow. David H. Olson reviews the Circumplex Model, linking theory to empirical studies of families across the life cycle and providing an update on inventories for family assessment. Completing the section, Joan Huber discusses gender role change from a macrosociological perspective. Huber delineates ways in which industrialization has altered the distribution of power, taking into account race and socioeconomic status.

The second section on challenges to families opens with a longitudinal study on the transition to marriage by Judith L. …