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, neighbors, 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. The authors document and compare the roles of network member players, the ways that networks change over time, and the impact of different network resources on developing individuals. The impacts on parent network participation in a community-based family support program are examined, and a more general discussion of how public policies might strengthen access to informal social supporters is also provided.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...a major contribution to the empirical and theoretical work on social networks. Any researcher interested in the intersection of families, children, and social networks should read it." Contemporary Sociology

"...presents a model for understanding the development of personal networks. An important addition to the literature on family studies and human development." Choice

"Does the book make a significant contribution to the field? Is it likely to exert an impact on research in human development? Does it bear careful and repeated readings? On all these counts, yes. I think it will have staying-power in the field...tantalizing ideas that others may be challenged to explore and develop." Human Development

"...a comprehensive and integrated volume exploring the social networks of parents and children. Blending research, description, and commentary, the team aids the reader in better understanding the power and complexity of networks in people's lives...[includes] substantial resources from cross-cultural studies...will be a boon to family practitioners who want grounding for their work in community building. Children, adults, and elders will be enriched if we take seriously their data." Ted Bowman, Family Forum, the newsletter of the Minnesota Council on Family Relations

"Extending Families is a monumental example of the best in social network research....[T]he book is impressive in the care and detail of the presentation....[E]ssential reading for any teacher or researcher interested in the mother-child relationship, the social world of the single-parent family, the influences of culture and SES on patterns of social relatedness, extra-familial influences on child development, or the methodoological detail necessary to chart the factors that form the structures of social networks....[S]tands as a sterling example of careful, scholarly research and is destined to become a new classic in the field of social network research." Steven R. Daugherty, Contemporary Psychology

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521375306
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 6/29/1990
  • Pages: 463
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword U. Bronfenbrenner; Preface; Part I. Ideas and Themes: 1. Personal networks in the ecology of human development M. Cochran; Part II. Settings, Methods and Illustrations: 2. Settings and methods D. Riley et al; 3. The social networks interview L. Gunnarsson; 4. Descriptive illustrations M. Cochran and C. R. Henderson, Jr.; Part III. The Influences of Race, Class and Culture: 5. Social networks, race and ethnicity W. E. Cross, Jr; 6. The social networks of married mothers in four cultures M. Cochran et al; 7. The social support networks of single parents: Sweden and the United States M. Cochran and L. Gunnarsson; Part IV. Impacts on Perceptions and Performance: 8. Network influences upon perception of the child: solo parenting and social support M. Cochran and C. R. Henderson, Jr.; 9. Network influences on father involvement in childrearing D. Riley; 10. The social networks of six-year-olds: context, content and consequence M. Cochran and D. Riley; Part V. Changes in Networks Over Time: 11. Changes in network resources and relationships over time M. Larner; 12. Local residential mobility and its effects on social networks: a cross-cultural comparison M. Larner; 13. Formal supports and informal social ties: a case study M. Cochran and C. R. Henderson, Jr.; Part VI. Social Networks and Human Development: 14. The network as an environment for human development M. Cochran; 15. Environmental factors constraining network development M. Cochran; 16. Factors influencing personal social initiative M. Cochran; 17. Personal networks and public policy M. Cochran; Appendix 1. The social network interviews; Endnotes; References.

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