Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Expressive Leader in Families

  • T. CiochonEmail author
  • Kristy L. Soloski
  • K. Finch
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_476


Emotional leader; Socio-emotional specialist


While many factors affect intrafamilial relationships, it is generally agreed that the family is an economic unit as well as a social unit. Thus, it was expected that economic (instrumental) and social (expressive) roles would evolve to preserve the unit. The instrumental leader can be described as the task specialist, whereas the expressive leader can be described as the socio-emotional specialist*.

Theoretical Context for Concept

In the mid-twentieth century, sociologists began to question the appropriation of roles among partners within American households. This division of roles was evidenced most poignantly in the heterosexual, middle-class, Euro-American family of the time where wives/mothers tended to the internal affairs of the home (also called the private sphere), while husbands/fathers tended to the external demands (public sphere) of the home. These roles began to take on new, independent meaning for the...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Crano, W. D., & Aronoff, J. (1978). A cross-cultural study of expressive and instrumental role complementarity in the family. American Sociological Review, 43(4), 463–471.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Foote, N. N. (1956). Parsonian theory of family process: Family, socialization and interaction process. Sociometry, 19(1), 40–46.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Parsons, T., & Bales, R. F. (1955). Family, socialization and interaction process. Glencoe: Free Press.Google Scholar
  4. Satir, V. (1988). The new peoplemaking. Mountain View: Science and Behavior Books.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mudita Rastogi
    • 1
  1. 1.Illinois School of Professional Psychology, Argosy UniversitySchaumburgUSA