Exploring Marriages and Families

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Connects theory to reality.

Exploring Marriages and Families uses compelling real-life video interviews, stories, and photos to help connect social theory to reality. Readers learn how social, cultural, and political factors will affect their own decision making in relationships.

Upon finishing this book, readers will understand the relevance of social science to their lives and have a solid theoretical, research-based understanding of marriages and families.

In addition, this book helps readers learn more about their own lives and those of others, how to make better decisions about their relationships, and how social and political forces will affect their decision-making. Integrated video interviews, photos, assessments and stories about real families help readers learn how to apply information to their own lives.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This text does an excellent job in teaching students links between macro and micro analysis of marriage and the family. The family is presented as a social institution while at the same time providing students with knowledge and tools about intimate social relationships."

Romana Pires, San Bernardino Valley College

"It is very readable and engaging."

Stephen Glennon, Iowa Western Community College

"I like the fact the author presents international material within the text for critical thinking."

Mark Dickerson, Panola College

"I think the video feature will highlight the subject and make it more interesting and memorable for students. It will help stimulate their critical thinking on the subject."Cheryl Boudreaux, Grand Valley State University

Thank you to the following reviewers for reviewing MyFamilyLab for Exploring Marriages and Families:

Patricia Gibbs Stayte Foothill College
Charles Selengut County College of Morris
Brian Hoey Marshall University
Donna Abrams Georgia Gwinnette College
Melissa Russiano Mercyhurst College
CoSandra McNeal Jackson State University
Marcia Hernandez University of the Pacific
Veena Kulkarni Arkansas State University
Michelle Lieberman Beaufort County Community College
Gail J Sklar Harcum college
Tiffiany Aholou University of Georgia
Jacqueline Chavez Mississippi State University
Antonia Keane Loyola University Maryland
Eric Strayer Hartnell College
Dr. Loyd Ganey College of Southern Nevada
Garvey Lundy Montgomery County Community College
Amanda Miller University of Central Oklahoma
Carlos Zeisel North Shore Community College
Laurence Segall Southern Connecticut State University
Laurie Linhart Drake University
Brian Barry Rochester Institute of Technology
Rose Suggett Southeast Community College
Todd Migliaccio California State University - Sacramento
Kim Mac Innis Bridgewater State University
Melissa Swauger Indiana University of PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780205717798
  • Publisher: Pearson
  • Publication date: 1/6/2011
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 591,037
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Seccombe is a professor in the School of Community Health at Portland State University, located in Portland, Oregon. She received her B.A. in sociology at California State University, Chico, her M.S.W. in health and social welfare policy from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in sociology from Washington State University. Her research focuses on poverty, welfare, access to health care, and the effects of social inequality on families. She is the author of Marriage and Family: You and Society (Pearson); “So You Think I Drive a Cadillac?”: Welfare Recipients’ Perspectives on the System and its Reform, 3rd edition (Allyn and Bacon); Families in Poverty (Allyn and Bacon); Just Don’t Get Sick: Access to Health Care in the Aftermath of Welfare Reform, with Kim Hoffman (Rutgers University Press), and Marriages and Families: Relationships in Social Context, with Rebecca L. Warner (Wadsworth). She is a National Council on Family Relations fellow, and a member of the American Sociological Association, and the Pacific Sociological Association, where she has held elective offices. Karen lives in Portland with her husband Richard, a health economist, her ten-year-old daughter, Natalie Rose, and her eight-year-old daughter, Olivia Lin. In her spare time she enjoys hiking near their cabin in the Oregon Cascades, walking the sandy beaches of the Oregon coast, exploring the kid-friendly playgrounds, attractions, and restaurants in Portland and surrounding areas, and traveling just about anywhere—the San Juan Islands are high on her list.
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Table of Contents





Chapter 1: Why Study Families and Other Close Relationships?

Chapter 2: Social Status: Sex, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class

Chapter 3: Building Relationships

Chapter 4: Love and Loving Relationships

Chapter 5: Sexual Identity, Behavior, and Relationships

Chapter 6: Communication, Conflict, and Power in Our Relationships

Chapter 7: Marriage

Chapter 8: Thinking about Parenthood

Chapter 9: Raising Children

Chapter 10: Families and the Work They Do

Chapter 11: Family Stress and Crisis: Violence among Intimates

Chapter 12: The Process of Divorce

Chapter 13: Family Life, Partnering, and Remarriage after Divorce

Chapter 14: Families in Middle and Later Life

Chapter 15: Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish


PART I: Families and Intimate Relationships: Key Concepts

Chapter 1: Why Study Families and Other Close Relationships?

How Do We Define Family?

The Functions of Families

Theme 1: Linking the Micro- and Macro-Level Perspectives on Families

Theme 2: Families are Always Changing

Theme 3: The Importance of Social Science Theory and Research

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 2: Social Status: Sex, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Social Class

The Link between Private Experiences and Social Structure

Sex, Gender, and Patriarchy

Race and Ethnicity

Social Class


The Intersections of Sex, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class

Bringing It Full Circle

PART II: The Foundations of Relationships

Chapter 3: Building Relationships



Dating, Courtship, and Mate Selection

Heterosexual Cohabitation

Gay and Lesbian Intimate Relationships

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 4: Love and Loving Relationships

What Is Love?

Love as Attachment

Images of Love in History

Contemporary Ideas about Love

Theoretical Perspectives on Love

How We Experience Love

The Downside to Relationships and Love

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 5: Sexual Identity, Behavior, and Relationships

Overview of Historical and Cultural Influences on Sexuality

Our Sexual Selves: Biology and Culture Intertwined

Sexual Scripts

Gender and Sexual Scripts: The Double Standard

Studying Human Sexuality

Sexual Behaviors

Sexual Expression throughout Our Lives

Sexual Satisfaction in Committed Relationships

Sex as a Social Problem: Sexually Transmitted Infections

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 6: Communication, Conflict, and Power in Our Relationships

The Importance of Communication

The Cultural Context of Communication: Embracing Difference

Types of Communication

Sex Differences in Communication

Communicating to Keep Your Relationships Strong: Self-Disclosure

Conflict, Communication, and Problem Solving

Power, Control, and Decision Making

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 7: Marriage

Marriage: Here, There, and Everywhere

Marriage in U.S. History

What Is Happening to Marriage Today?

The Marriage Premium: Happiness, Health, and Economic Security

Does Marriage Benefit Everyone Equally?

Marital Satisfaction and Success

The Marriage Movement and Covenant Marriage

Peer Marriage

Bringing It Full Circle

PART III: Parents and their Children

Chapter 8: Thinking about Parenthood

Population and Fertility Trends Worldwide

Fertility in the United States

The Costs and Rewards of Raising Children

Remaining Childfree

The Interconnection of Micro and Macro: Childbirth

Other Paths to Parenthood: Adoption

The Transition to Parenthood

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 9: Raising Children

Parenting: It’s Not the Same Everywhere

Socialization: Learning to be Human

Parenting Styles



How Do Children Influence their Parents?

Parenting and Family Contexts

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 10: Families and the Work They Do

The Changing Dynamics of the Workplace

Life in a Recession

Family Work At Home

Juggling Work and Family Life

Diversity in Families: Why We Chose to Live in Hungary

Who’s Minding the Kids?

Bringing it Full Circle

PART IV: Family Strengths, Challenges, and Reorganization

Chapter 11: Family Stress and Crisis: Violence among Intimates

The Nature of Stress and Crisis

Intimate Partner Violence

Child Abuse and Neglect

Elder Abuse

Explanations for Violence among Intimates

The Public’s Response

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 12: The Process of Divorce

Divorce in the United States

Why Do People Divorce?

Experiencing Divorce

Divorce and Children: Child Support

What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children?

Should Divorce Be More Difficult to Obtain?

The “Good Divorce”

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 13: Family Life, Partnering, and Remarriage after Divorce

Being Single Again

Repartnering after Divorce



Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamilies

Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 14: Families in Middle and Later Life

The Demographic Revolution

Aging in Historical Perspective

Family Transitions

The Aging Couple


Grandparents and Their Grandchildren



Bringing It Full Circle

Chapter 15: Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish

What Do Families Need to Flourish?

Family Policy

Building Resilience: General Policies and Programs to Support Families

Specific Policies and Programs for Children

Specific Policies and Programs for the Elderly

What Have We Learned?

Bringing It Full Circle

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