Parents and children face to face: an analysis of relations and family functioning by gender and generation
In the next two chapters we present data from studies carried out over the past 15 years by researchers at the Centre for Family Studies and Research. This research shares the same goal, to study relations in families with late adolescents and young adults, the same fundamental perspective, the relational-intergenerational perspective (see Chapter 1) and, finally, the same research “philosophy” (see Chapter 2). More specifically, from a theoretical point of view, these projects all focus on relations in families facing the transition to adulthood, analysed in terms of gender and generation. From the perspective of research, they all employ at least the family triad for an analysis that we have defined as being relational. This allows the researcher to take into consideration genders and generations one at a time and, subsequently, to compare them. Therefore, the following presentation of research and related findings should be seen as the operative realization of the material covered in theoretical and empirical terms in the preceding chapters. This research will be compared to the results regarding the topics under examination as found in the international literature. The findings that we are about to describe refer to various research projects conducted over the years and, therefore, to different databases. The descriptive data of each research project (acronym, sample, aims, instruments used, analyses) are outlined in the Appendix, while the following is a synthesis of the results. In the course of the past 15 years, our research has moved in two directions, in keeping with the national and international literature and the “latest fashions” proposed therein. First of all, we have undertaken the study of the parent-child relationship through variables that we can define as being “dyadic”, that is, which probe perceptions having to do with the relationship between two family members with respect to one specific construct (for example, communication and support). Second, we studied family functioning through variables definable as being “global”, in that they are used to investigate perceptions relating to the entire family organization (for example, cohesion and adaptability).