Depression and Aggression in Family Interaction

By Gerald R. Patterson | Go to book overview

5
A Contextual Approach to the Problem of Aversive Practices in Families

Anthony Biglan Lewis Lewin Hyman Hops Oregon Research Institute

Aversive behavior is a cardinal feature of most family problems. It is not hard to see the central role of such practices when considering the related problems of child and spouse abuse (e.g., Straus & Hotaling, 1980). However, aversive control practices are also the chief problem in nonabusive families where there is marital discord or problems with aggressive or noncompliant children. Aversive behavior is found in families where the mother is depressed, families in which there are multiply handicapped children, and families where a member is in chronic pain. Moreover, it is becoming clear that families that use aversive control practices are the crucible for later societal problems, in that children growing up in them are likely to have difficulties in work, social, and familial roles in later life ( Eider, Caspi, & Downey, 1986). Thus, the control of aversive practices in families must be a fundamental goal for those interested in improving the welfare of families. Such control cannot be ignored by persons who have a primary interest in a productive society in which the costs of social dislocation are minimized.

The aversive behavior of individual family members can only be understood in the context of the social and nonsocial contingencies for that behavior. The most salient fact about that context is that it, too, is aversive. We therefore analyze the contingencies for the aversive behavior of individual family members in terms of experimentally derived principles of the effects of aversive events on behavior. These principles appear to encompass the most important ways in which aversive behavior is established and maintained in families. However, by itself such an analysis is incomplete. It does not address the ways in which the larger cultural context affects aversive practices in families. We therefore discuss the effects of the larger context on families' aversive practices using the framework provided by Harris' ( 1979) theory of cultural materialism.

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Depression and Aggression in Family Interaction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface xi
  • References xiv
  • 1: The Family Research Consortium: At the Crest of a Major Wave? 1
  • 2: Developmental Epidemiological Framework for Family Research on Depression and Aggression 11
  • References 46
  • 3: Methodological Issues in the Study of Family Violence 49
  • Conclusion 70
  • Acknowledgments 71
  • References 72
  • 4: How Marriages Change 75
  • ACKNOWLEDGMENT 99
  • References 100
  • 5: A Contextual Approach to the Problem of Aversive Practices in Families 103
  • Conclusion 123
  • ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 124
  • References 124
  • 6: Statistical Methods for Analyzing Family Interaction 131
  • Summary 165
  • Acknowledgments 165
  • References 166
  • 7: Family Environments of Depressed and Well Parents and Their Children: Issues of Research Methods 169
  • Conclusion 182
  • Acknowledgments 183
  • References 183
  • 8 - Maternal Depression, Marital Discord, and Children's Behavior: A Developmental Perspective 185
  • Acknowledgments 204
  • References 204
  • 9: Initiation and Maintenance of Process Disrupting Single- Mother Families 209
  • Acknowledgments 242
  • References 243
  • 10: Method Variance in Structural Equation Modeling: Living with "Glop" 247
  • References 276
  • 11: Reflections: A Conceptual Analysis and Synthesis 281
  • References 312
  • Author Index 315
  • Subject Index 325
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