Drawing upon findings from many disciplines including sociology, communication, family studies, human development, psychology and anthropology-this book provides the first composite study of the whole family and of the complex interplay between self and collectivity in family life. It departs sharply from the traditional two-person, cause-effect models used in conventional studies, and attempts to delineate a social psychology of the family. This book undertakes to define and understand the nature of families, to point out ways of discerning different family characters, and to comprehend the processes by which these characters are established and maintained; by so doing, it introduces a new dimension into the study of family behavior and provides a framework within which meaningful investigations and practical applications can be pursued. This long-awaited fourth edition continues the goal of preceding editions: to understand families in terms of the kinds of interaction through which family life is constructed. Contributors drawn from a wide variety of disciplines sociology; communication; family studies; human development; psychology; anthropology; and social work - provide a range of authoritative and up-to-date sources on the family and interpersonal relations, including newly emergent forms of family organization. In providing a new framework for fruitful investigation and practical application, this volume contains the best available interdisciplinary work on the social psychology of the family.