31 Pages

family theory; rather, they are

To facilitate communication in this paper we need a working definition of what I mean when I use the term “ family.” For the remainder of this paper, family will refer to a group of people: (1) who are interdependent for goods, services, affection, information, status, social support, and income; (2) who are committed to one another for an extended period of time-usually a lifetime; and (3) whose boundaries are relatively impermeable, thereby creating a shared identity among its members. I make no claim to exclusivity for this definition; other groups beside families may also meet the above stipulations. I also make no claim for the definition’s universality, it is not likely to hold for all families in all cultures and societies over time.