Extending Families: The Social Networks of Parents and their Children

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How do personal networks evolve and what roles do they play for parents, and for the development of children? Can these ties with relatives, neighbours, and friends provide stability for family members during periods of disruption caused by divorce, unemployment, geographic dislocation or serious illness? How do networks change over time? To what extent are network members interchangeable; can unrelated friends take the place of close relatives? These are among the questions addressed in Extending Families, a ground-breaking study about how personal networks evolve, and what roles they play for parents and for the development of children. The volume is an outgrowth of a ten-year cooperative research effort carried out by the authors as part of the Comparative Ecology of Human Development Project at Cornell University. In this comprehensive and integrated volume, Moncrieff Cochran and his colleagues document and compare the roles network members play in the lives of African-American and Caucasian parents in the United States, and parents in Sweden, Wales and West Germany.