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Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology

, Volume 16, Issue 2, pp 233–246 | Cite as

Systems and symptoms: Family cohesion/ adaptability and childhood behavior problems

  • Anton C. Smets
  • Willard W. Hartup
Article

Abstract

The relation between family systems and child symptomatology was examined among children aged 6 to 11 and adolescents aged 12 to 16 who had been referred for clinical services. On the basis of an assessment of family cohesion and adaptability, the families were divided into three groups: extreme, midrange, and balanced. Problem behaviors were assessed with a symptoms checklist, and the child's self-esteem was also measured. Families in the balanced range had children with fewer symptoms than did midrange or extreme families; his relation was less strong among families with adolescents. Self-esteem and symptoms were negatively correlated in these samples. Self-esteem did not moderate the relation between systems and symptoms but was independently related to family functioning. These results suggest the operation of bilateral processes within the family that link cohesion and adaptability, on the one hand, with low self-esteem and indications of psychopathology, on the other.

Keywords

Behavior Problem Childhood Behavior Family Functioning Clinical Service Family System 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anton C. Smets
    • 1
  • Willard W. Hartup
    • 2
  1. 1.Systems Counseling and ConsultingEau Claire
  2. 2.Institute of Child DevelopmentUniversity of Minnesota

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