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Structural determinism reflects the view that there are structural elements or factors that deterministically affect outcomes, events, or processes. As a foundational concept within structural family therapy (SFT), structural determinism defines the potential range of change that a system can tolerate without a loss of identity. It is mechanistic in nature, and leads to ascribed behaviors and events that evolve into recursive interactions, or feedback loops. This entry addresses the concepts of structural determinism, family structure and its relationship to the environment, and structures and subsystems.

When applied within the context of a family, the concept of structure defines how a family should organize its relationships and functioning. Within the context of the family system, structure represents the pattern or style that a family uses to ...

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