• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

Advancing Family Theories explores two contemporary theories of the family - rational choice theory and transition theory. These diametrically different approaches illuminate what differing theories reveal about families. The book also discusses how meta-theories can assist in building and refining theory and offers insight on the "understanding versus explanation" debate. Advancing Family Theories gives students a precise notion of what a theory is and how theories work in research. The book not only looks at philosophical realms but also examines particular substantive theory to explain and predict family behaviors.Advancing Family Theories Family Theories, Second Edition (SAGE, 2002), or is effective on its own. The book helps students with the task of taking abstract and very general theories and reducing them to a level of specific research models and hypotheses.

Rational Choice Theory and the Family
Rational choice theory and the family

The very idea that the family and family members’ behavior can be understood as “rational” behavior may appear an oxymoron. Indeed, families are the site of extreme emotion, attachment, and even violence. Families are where many of the seemingly “irrational” decisions of life are made. For example, it is currently estimated that the costs of raising one child to the age of 18 is about a quarter of a million dollars. So we invest our time, energy, and money in our children so they can grow up and leave us. That is considered parental success. Yet, as an economic decision, how can this be considered a “rational” choice? Children are clearly an economic liability, ...

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