Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Becoming a Family: Parents' Stories and Their Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

Becoming a Family: Parents' Stories and Their Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research

Article excerpt

Becoming a Family: Parents' Stories and Their Implications for Practice, Policy, and Research. Rena D. Harold, Lisa G. Colarossi, Lucy R. Mercier, Patricia Stow Bolea, Carol R. Freedman-Doan, Susan A. Lynch, Margaret L. Palmiter, and Jacquelynne S. Eccles. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 2000. 227 pp. ISBN 0-8058-1961-4. $49.95 cloth, $24.50 paper.

As the title suggests, this book is a valuable resource for researchers, practitioners, and policy makers in the area of family development. Rena D. Harold and her colleagues report on a qualitative research project that provides important information on individual and family development related to the transition to parenthood. In addition to responding to specific questions, 60 families with at least two children were given the opportunity to tell their stories in open-ended interviews.

The authors give detailed information about the process by which they collected, coded, and analyzed their narrative data. Emerging themes covered in some of the chapters include individual and family issues related to self and identity, sibling similarities and differences, the meaning and importance of social support, and the role of work. Excerpts from interviews are used to illustrate emergent themes, and each chapter addresses the data's relevance to research, policy, and practice.

The authors make a strong case for the use of qualitative methods in the study of developmental transitions, because such methods allow the family members to give their own meanings to events that have influenced development. …

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