Encyclopedia of Adolescence

2011 Edition
| Editors: Roger J. R. Levesque


  • Roger J. R. LevesqueEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1695-2_470

Although the term triangulation often is used in the social sciences to describe the use of multiple methods to understand a phenomenon (see Moran-Ellis et al. 2006), the term’s use in the study of adolescence more generally refers to it in the context of familial relationships. Triangulation is said to occur when two family members seek to dissolve stress and tensions between themselves by bringing in a third member (Charles 2001). This area of research derives from family systems theory (Minuchin 1974; Bowen 1978). Bowen’s theory, for example, posits that parents experience marital tensions and conflict due to anxiety and difficulties with balancing intimacy and autonomy needs and that parents reduce these tensions by including children into the strife. The need to negotiate between parents and manage conflicting loyalties created by boundary violations places youth in confusing and distress-provoking situations that can contribute to negative developmental outcomes (Amato and Afifi 2006...

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Indiana UniversityBloomingtonUSA