Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

2019 Edition
| Editors: Jay L. Lebow, Anthony L. Chambers, Douglas C. Breunlin

Mesosystems in Family Systems Theory

  • Laura M. FreyEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_287

Name of Concept

Mesosystems in Family Systems Theory


The term mesosystem derives from human ecological theory, also known as ecological systems theory, which is a framework developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner (1979) for understanding how individuals interact with their environment. The theoretical component of mesosystems is especially applicable to family therapy because it conceptualizes how an individual’s microsystems can influence and be influenced by one another. The following review explains mesosystems in the context of human ecological theory as well as how it is used in couple and family therapy.

Theoretical Context for Concept

Although he continually revised the theory over his lifetime, Bronfenbrenner most recently developed the Process-Person-Context-Time model (Bronfenbrenner and Morris 1998) to demonstrate changes that occur as a result of process, person, context, and time. Processrefers to reciprocal interchanges that occur between an evolving individual...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Couple and Family Therapy Program, Kent School of Social WorkUniversity of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Eli Karam
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LouisvilleLouisvilleUSA