Eric D. Widmer

Further information related to this research issue:

Family configurations of individuals with psychological vulnerability



Family configurations of individuals with psychiatric problems are usually considered an anomaly by sociological research. Their complexity is not well served by standard approaches of the Family using survey designs and random sampling or in-depth qualitative interviewing. The strong link existing between psychological problems and family relationships has often been interpreted as a sign that these relationships only responded to psychological causes and processes and therefore that they did not belong to the field of sociology. On the contrary, I stress that studying family configurations of individuals with psychological problems from a sociological perspective leads to new insights on the changing nature of families in late modernity.

Do individuals with psychiatric problems stick with the nuclear family model and the well ordered view that it implies on how social integration work in families? One may hypothesize that families of individuals with psychiatric problems and a role of patient in either a private or public psychiatric practice also go beyond the nuclear family. That has consequences for the understanding of the resources made available by their family configurations, as well as for the conflicts that they develop with their family members. Indeed, the composition of families has an influence on social capital as well as on conflict and ambivalence. The importance of family members beyond the household creates a great diversity of family forms. This diversity arise in families facing psychological problems of one or several of their members. In other words, there is a diversity rather than a single model of family configurations, characterizing all individuals with psychological problems alike.

In collaboration with several psychiatrists and psychologists, I have developed a series of publications on the social capital that family configurations provide to individuals with psychiatric problems, as well as the conflicts and ambivalences that they promote. Interestingly, we know very little about family relationships of such individuals, especially when their perceptions are considered, rather than the perceptions of their family members.



List of references


Widmer, E.D., Spini, D. (2017). Misleading Norms and Vulnerability in the Life Course: Definition and Illustrations. Research in Human Development . Vol. 14(1). pp. 52-67. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Sapin, M., Widmer, E.D., Iglesias, K. (2016). From support to overload: Patterns of positive and negative family relationships of adults with mental illness over time. Social Networks. Vol. 47, pp. 59-72.

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Widmer, E.D., Kempf-Constantin, N.L., Sapin, M., Galli Carminati, G. (2013). Family beyond parents? An exploration of family configurations and psychological adjustment in young adults with intellectual disabilities. Research in Developmental Disabilities. Vol. 34, n°1, pp. 207-217. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Widmer, E.D., Aeby, G. et Sapin, M. (2013). Collecting Family Network Data. International Review of Sociology . Vol. 23, n° 1, pp. 27-46. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Müller, N.S., Sapin, M., Gauthier, J.-A., Orita, A., Widmer, E.D. (2012). Pluralized life courses? An exploration of the life trajectories of individuals with psychiatric disorders. International Journal of Social Psychiatry. N°58, 3, pp. 266-277. Ref bibtex | description |



Widmer, E.D., Kempf-Constantin, N.L., Galli Carminati, G. (2010). Exploring Perceptions of Family Relationships by Individuals With Intellectual Disability and Psychiatric Disorders. Families in societies, vol. 91, n°4, pp. 378-384. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Oris, M., Widmer, E.D., de Ribaupierre, A., Joye, D., Spini, D., Labouvie-Vief, G., Falter, J.-M., eds. (2009). Transitions dans les parcours de vie et constructions des inégalités. Lausanne, Presses Polytechniques et Universitaires Romandes. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Widmer, E., Sapin, M. (2009). Resurse umane. In: Kolly, S., Radulescu, C., Anghel, M. Manuel de formare a specialistului in copilaria timpurie. Humanitas, Bucarest. pp. 124-177. description |



Widmer, E., Sapin, M. (2009). Ressources Humaines. In: Kolly, S., Radulescu, C., Anghel, M. Manuel de formation destiné aux professionnels travaillant avec les parents et les bébés de milieux défavorisés et à risque d'abandon en Roumanie. Editura Digital Data Cluj, Cluj-Napoca. pp. 127-180. description |



Sapin, M., Widmer,E.,(2008).Social Isolation or Relational Instability? Family Configurations of Women at Risk of Child Abandonment In: Widmer E. D. and Jallinoja R.(Eds). Beyond the Nuclear Family. Families in a Configurational Perspective.. Peter Lang, Berne, pp. 303-328. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Sapin,M. and Widmer,E. (2008).Social isolation or relational instability ? Family configurations of women at risk of child abandonment In: Widmer E. D. and Jallinoja R.(Eds). Beyond the Nuclear Family. Families in a Configurational Perspective.. Peter Lang, Berne, pp. 303-328. Ref bibtex | description |



Widmer, E.D., Kempf, N., Lanzi, F., Robert-Tissot, C., Galli-Carminati, G. (2008). How central and connected am I in my Family? Family based social capital of individuals with intellectual disability. Research in Developmental Disabilities, vol. 29, n° 2, pp. 176-187. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Widmer, E.D., Orita, A., Gauthier, J.-A., Sénac, N. Cucchia, A.T., Stekel, K., Grasset, F. (2008). How central and connected am I in my family? Bridging and bonding social capital in family configurations of young adults with psychiatric disorders. International Journal of Social Psychiatry, vol. 54, n° 6, pp. 550-561. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Widmer,E.,D. and Sapin,M. (2008).Families on the Move. Insights on Family Configurations of individuals undergoing Psychotherapy In: Widmer E. D. and Jallinoja R.(Eds). Beyond the Nuclear Family. Families in a Configurational Perspective.. Peter Lang, Berne, pp. 279-302. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Widmer,E. and Galli-Carminati (2006).In: G. Galli Carminati, A. Mendez(Eds). Caractéristiques du réseau socio-familial chez la personne avec retard mental à travers la perspective du patient: un défaut ou un abus de famille?. Editions Médecine et Hygiène, Genève, pp. 119-125. Ref bibtex | description |



Widmer,E.,D., Chevalier,M., Dumas,P. (2005). Le Family network method(FNM) : Un outil d'investigation des configurations familiales à disposition des thérapeutes. Thérapie Familiale. Vol. 26, pp. 423-441. Ref bibtex | description | full text



Recent scientific presentations

Widmer, E.D, Aeby, G., Sapin, M. Methodological and substantive challenges in measuring vulnerability across the life course. International Workshop, Lausanne. 18th-19th June 2012..


Changes in identity and social networks during the transition to parenthood. An empirical assessment in Switzerland. With Marlène Sapin. Présentation au Congrès de l'Association Européenne de Sociologie. Lisbonne, 4 septembre 2009.


Poster presentation “Social network effects on intentions of work participation by Swiss men and women in the transition to parenthood. Sunbelt social network conference. San Diego, 10-15 mars 2009.


Recent public interventions


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