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The Family Developmental Dimension

FAMILIES ARE the most compelling social institutions. For better or worse, our families make us who we are; they are the source of both the “nature” and the “nurture” of individual development. Psychologists, sociologists, historians, and economists all consider the family to be one of the critical building blocks of the systems they study.

The family dimension in our three-dimensional model is the easiest to conceptualize developmentally, because we are used to seeing our own families change year after year. Families follow the natural rhythms of human life. Each new nuclear family forms in its members’ early adult years, grows and functions in increasingly diverse ways during their middle years, launches ...

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