Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Explaining Family Interactions

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Explaining Family Interactions

Article excerpt

Explaining Family Interactions. Mary Anne Fitzpatrick & Anita L. Vangelisti (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 1995. 426 pp. Hardcover ISBN 0-8039-5478-6. $58.00 cloth, $26.95 paper. This edited volume contains an assortment of chapters ranging from literature reviews to empirical pieces and simple speculative works. It is possible for such an amalgam to work, but it requires a strong editorial hand. Mary Anne Fitzpatrick and Anita Vangelisti fail to provide such a hand. The book simply lacks a consistent, underlying theme. Some writers stay close to the literature or their data, others seem comfortable speculating from sparse, contradictory, or nonexistent data. Such variation gives the book an acute sense of unevenness. Divided into three sections-"The Development of Family Communication Patterns," "Family Relationships in Process," and "Extending Family Boundaries"-the book's middle section is clearly the strongest. Its chapters are more empirically based, have the clearest conceptual basis (family interaction), and any conclusions or assumptions presented are the least speculative. Aside from a review by Marguerite Barratt ("Communication in Infancy") in the first section, and a review by Marie-Louise Mares ("The Aging Family") in the third section, other chapters in sections 1 and 3 lack focus, at least relative to family interaction. …

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