This nonjudgmental, inclusive, and far-reaching text focuses on the diverse patterns of family structure prevalent in our society today. Family Diversity presents empirical research on the internal dynamics, social environments, support factors, prevalence of discrimination, and common stereotypes that account for the issues surrounding current family relations. By examining the history and nature of foster and adoptive, single-parent, lesbian/gay, step- and grandparent family units, Pauline Irit Erera is able to challenge both the idealized family prototype and the hegemony of the traditional structure. 

What is a Family?

What is a family?

Families have always come in various forms, reflecting social and economic conditions and the cultural norms of the times. However, since the 1960s, the increasing diversity among families in the United States and most other Western nations has been especially striking. At a dizzying pace, the traditional, two-parent, heterosexual family has given way to variety of family arrangements. Today, most adults no longer live in a coresident nuclear family (Hill, 1995). The first-married, heterosexual family we have cherished since at least Victorian times is but one of numerous alternative family structures (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997).

In 1998, just26% of American households were composed of married couples with children. This was down from 45% in the early 1970s (University of Chicago National ...

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