Encyclopedia of Couple and Family Therapy

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

Nuclear Family

  • Tetiana SukachEmail author
  • Natali Gonzalez
  • Fei Shen
  • Dustin Perkins
  • Kristy L. Soloski
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-49425-8_478

Name of Family Form

Nuclear families


Traditional family; Two-parent household; Two-parent family


Nuclear families are typically “traditional” family* units, meaning there is a mother figure, whose primary role is caretaker of the family; a father figure, whose primary role is to provide financial stability; and the children (Canetto 1996). Usually, marital couple and their children are considered to be part of the nuclear family but generally do not include extended family members, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Recently, there has been a shift in this definition of nuclear families. The modern definition of a nuclear family invites other persons, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, same-sex partner, and other members to be included within the nuclear family structure (Canetto 1996). Because of the change in the definition of the nuclear family, the application of some therapy models and the decision of who to include from the family...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tetiana Sukach
    • 1
    Email author
  • Natali Gonzalez
    • 1
  • Fei Shen
    • 1
  • Dustin Perkins
    • 1
  • Kristy L. Soloski
    • 1
  1. 1.Texas Tech UniversityLubbockUSA

Section editors and affiliations

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