Family Psychology: The Art of the Science

Family Psychology: The Art of the Science

Family Psychology: The Art of the Science

Family Psychology: The Art of the Science


"Family Psychology: The Art of the Science moves the field of family psychology toward greater scientific sophistication and excellence by bringing together some of the best researchers in family psychology and giving them the opportunity to reflect together on the state of their research. This book is composed of five developmentally informed mini-books or manuals on major areas of great social and health relevance: marriage, depression, divorce and remarriage, partner violence, and families and physical health. Each manual critically examines the existing research in its area, systematically illuminating new directions for future research and discussing a wide range of relevant issues and diverse populations. Family Psychology provides the next generation of theorists, researchers, and therapists with an in-depth and fresh look at the paths that have already been traveled as well as the paths that remain to be explored. Family Psychology is an indispensable companion for scientists and practitioners interested in a road map for family psychology. The reflections of the top researchers in each area will sharpen the research knowledge and expertise of scientists and practitioners in these and related areas. For younger and more experienced researchers, as well as for those contemplating entering the field, the authors point to pathways and strategies for unraveling the key challenges in each area, offering well-researched and compelling insights to guide future investigation."


This book has three sources. The first was the desire of Joan Bossert and Oxford University Press to publish a handbook of family psychology. The second derived from the twin goals of the Family Psychology Division (43) of the American Psychological Association to stimulate research in family psychology and to more closely integrate researchers into the division membership. The third and last source was our hope, as editors, to stimulate a self-reflective discourse within a leading group of family psychology researchers about the state of the art of family psychology research.

To address these multiple goals, with the consultation and support of the board of directors of Division 43, we came up with a two-phase plan. The first was to create a small, invitation-only conference, to which we would invite leading researchers in five distinct areas of family psychology. The second phase of the plan was to publish a book organized around the five areas, with chapters that elaborated the authors' conference presentations.

Between ourselves and with the directors of Division 43, we went back and forth about which areas to address. After a fair bit of wrangling, we agreed on three selection criteria. We wanted areas (a) with fairly well developed bodies of theory and research, (b) that had substantial fertile ground for new theory and research, and (c) that were of significant public health relevance. We eventually settled on the areas that define the book: depression, families and health, divorce and remarriage, marriage and marital intervention, and partner violence.

After we selected the areas, we struggled with how to determine leading researchers in each area. Because one of our major goals was to stimulate discourse in each area, we thought that it was a good idea to try to invite people who would be able to talk to each other—people who already had at least a minimal professional alliance. We settled on a group leader model, in which we invited one person to function as the leader in each area. The responsibilities of the leader were to determine, with our assistance, the list of invited presenters in their area and to . . .

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