Dynamic dimensions of family structure in low-income African American families: Emergent themes in qualitative research

Robin L. Jarrett, Linda M. Burton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A common conceptualization of family structure used in studies of low- income African Americans is a dichotomized construct that contrasts one- parent, female-headed households with two-parent family units. The consistent use of this conceptualization has impeded the exploration of the impact that dynamic dimensions of family structure have on family functioning. This paper outline several fundamental dimensions of family structure that should be considered in studies of economically disadvantaged African American families. Using data from two qualitative community-based studies of African American families, we delineate four key dimensions of family structure - extended family networks; the socioeconomic structure of extended family networks; the pace of change in family structure; and the age structure of family members.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-187
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Comparative Family Studies
Volume30
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999

Keywords

  • African American families
  • Ethnography
  • Family dynamics, family structure
  • Qualitative research, poverty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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