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  • An institutionalized social group of adults and children united by ties of affinity (marriage), consan guinity (blood), or adoption, usually residing in a single household. While other family forms (e.g., polygynous) have existed throughout history, the basic family unit in Western cultures is a nuclear family, which consists of a married couple living with their immediate children. Families including more than these basic individuals are considered an extended family—a kinship group of a married couple, their children, and other close relatives, such as aunts, uncles, and cousins. The functions of the family are the care, socialization, and enculturation of children; provision of basic physical, economic, and affective security for its members; and serving as a legitimated site for procreation.


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