Refer to the Family Theory Article (PDF) and select one of the family theories identified. Write a two pages evaluation of your selected family theory for usefulness in practice, research, and education. Your paper should include the following criteria for evaluation:
1. Theory Description
Level of theory
2. Theory Analysis
Are concepts theoretically or operationally defined?
Are linkages explicit?
Is there a model/diagram? Does it contribute to clarifying the theory?
3. Theory Evaluation
Has the theory been tested empirically? Is it accurate/valid?
Is there evidence that the theory has been used by nursing educators, researchers, or nursing administrators?
How does the theory advance the theoretical basis of nursing as a science?
How is this theory useful in nursing practice, research, and/or education?
The selected family theory is the family system theory, a model that originated from Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist and researcher (Nyirati et al., 2012). Bowen introduced the theory in the 1960s after many years of researching the family patterns of patients suffering from schizophrenia and the patterns of his origin. The purpose of the theory is to educate individuals on the importance and significance of the family emotional system (Devlin, 2020). The theory can be classified as a grand theory. The theory has eight major concepts that include triangles, which represent three people, two who are close and one that is outsider, differentiation of self, which highlights how everyone is unique, and each achieves a different level of sense of self, and family projection process, a concept that described the transmission of emotional problems from parents to children. Other concepts include the nuclear family emotional process, societal emotional process, the position of siblings, multigenerational transmission process, and emotional cutoff (Devlin, 2020).
Major assumptions of the theory include the aspect of family relationships being interdependent, systems have boundaries, and may be closed or open systems. Closed systems do not allow the entry of new information, while open systems are prone to chaos. Other assumptions include the assumption that families develop and may change over time and that a family is greater than the sum of all the parts that make a family.
The concepts are theoretically defined. Theoretical definitions provide the meaning of the concept under investigation and distinguish each concept from the others. All eight concepts are defined theoretically, with each having a different definition. For example, the concept of emotional cutoff is defined as attempting to solve family problems by cutting emotional contact with others. The linkage between the concepts is explicit as all the concepts try to provide an explanation of the relationship that exists between family members. For example, the nuclear family emotional process describes four types of relationship patterns describing patterns governing familial problems, while the family projection process describes the transmission of emotional problems from parents to children (Devlin, 2020). The theory does not have a model or a diagram that contributes to clarifying the theory.
The Family System theory has been tested empirically in various studies. In the studies, Bowen’s notion on the increase in the basic level of differentiation on self with an increase in functional level, especially if held up over time, was confirmed. The other notion confirmed was the notion that anxiety at family and individual levels monitors, regulates, and manages emotional distance and closeness in a family and regulates fusion impact in family origin on the current life situation of an individual and relationships. The notions were confirmed using two reliable and valid instruments used to test the concepts of the theory. A growing body of empirical research also supports the theory. There is evidence that the theory has been used by researchers, nursing educators, and administrators as the theory have been applied in a variety of areas such as family and general therapy, solving community problems, school systems, and in organizations including health organizations in areas of leadership training. The theory advances the theoretical basis for nursing as a science by providing a holistic framework centering attention on the bidirectional and interactive nature of relationships with the family with adolescents (Johnson & Ray, 2016).
The theory facilitates practice to empower nurses to decrease reactivity and blame. It also facilitates treatment by recognizing the role of the family in the recovery process of a patient, for example, recommending family therapy (Johnson & Ray, 2016). It is also useful in research, especially where there is a need to understand human functioning, with the focus being on interactions between people.
- Devlin, K. (2020). Family System Theory. Definition and What is It? Retrieved from https://www.regain.us/advice/family/family-systems-theory-definition-what-is-it/
- Johnson, B. E., & Ray, W. A. (2016). Family Systems Theory. Encyclopedia of Family Studies, 1-5.
- Nyirati, C. M., Denham, S. A., Raffle, H., & Ware, L. (2012). Where is Family in the Family Nurse Practitioner Program? Results of a US Family Nurse Practitioner Program Survey. Journal of Family Nursing, 18(3), 378-408.