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Fictive Kin Relationships

  • By: Constance Dallas
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Fictive kin relationships are those in which an individual or group is accorded the status of a family member in the absence of a biological or legal relationship. Fictive kin are generally incorporated into existing family structures although there are reports of groups of unrelated individuals who self-identify as family. Racial/ethnic minority families, particularly those with limited economic resources, are more likely than Caucasian families to assign family status to nonbiologically related persons. However, fictive kin relationships have been reported for gays and lesbians of all races and ethnicities. Persons assigned fictive kin status are expected to assume all of the rights and responsibilities of biological family members, such as the right to participate in family decision making and the responsibility to assist the family ...

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