Eric D. Widmer

Widmer, E.D. (1999). Family contexts as cognitive networks: A structural approach of family relationships. Personal Relationships, vol. 6, n4, pp. 487-503.

With the permanence of strong emotional bonds between adults and their siblings and parents, with the rise of divorce, the extension of remarriage and the development of pseudo-kinship ties, complex family groupings have emerged. Orientational family members (Kuhn, 1964) are likely to be perceived as being included in relatively large and unbounded family contexts. To deal with the complexity of those contexts, one needs to develop an approach which makes it possible to analyze many relationships in a single model. Such an approach is presented in this article, which considers family contexts as cognitive networks (Marsden, 1990). To illustrate how statistical and graphical network methods can be applied empirically to those networks, perceived relationships among orientational family members of 25 female students are analyzed in relation with balance theory (Heider, 1958).
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