Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 3, pp 357–372 | Cite as

Family Ritual and Routine: Comparison of Clinical and Non-Clinical Families

  • Laurel J. KiserEmail author
  • Linda Bennett
  • Jerry Heston
  • Marilyn Paavola


Research demonstrates that the constructive use of family rituals is reliably linked to family health and to psychosocial adjustment. This study explores the relationship between family rituals and child well-being. Two samples participated: 21 families whose adolescent was receiving psychiatric treatment and 21 families in which the adolescent was a public school student. A parent and the adolescent were individually interviewed regarding family rituals and completed standardized measures of adolescent and family functioning. Analyses demonstrated that, in addition to significant sample differences in the expected direction on measures of functioning, the non-clinical families scored significantly higher on the index of family rituality than did the treatment families; this is additional evidence that family rituals are a correlate of child well-being. Further analysis of the data pointed to “people resources” as a robust dimension in its association to adolescent functioning. The role family ritual and routine plays in defining family relationships, both within the nuclear family and with other important adults, was significantly related to clinical status. This work may point to an important, yet overlooked, dimension of family ritual life, the relational qualities of rituals and routines.


family rituals adolescents well-being relationships 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Laurel J. Kiser
    • 1
    Email author
  • Linda Bennett
    • 2
  • Jerry Heston
    • 3
  • Marilyn Paavola
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of Services Research, Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Maryland at BaltimoreBaltimore
  2. 2.Anthropology and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies and ResearchUniversity of MemphisMemphis
  3. 3.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Tennessee, MemphisMemphis
  4. 4.Division of Child and Adolescent PsychiatryUniversity of Tennessee, MemphisMemphis

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