Family context in pediatric psychology: A transactional perspective

Barbara H. Fiese, Arnold J. Sameroff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The degree to which the family is seen as a significant contributor to child health conditions impacts directly on the successful functioning of the pediatric psychologist. A transactional model of family functioning is proposed for pediatric psychology. Development is considered to be the result of a three-part process that starts with child behavior that triggers family interpretation that produces a parental response. Family interpretation is presented as part of a regulatory system that includes family paradigms, family stories, and family rituals. Corresponding to the proposed three-part regulation model, three forms of intervention are discussed: remediation, redefinition, and reeducation. Clinical decision making based on this model is outlined with examples given from different treatment approaches. Implications for the treatment of families in pediatric psychology are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)293-314
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Pediatric Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical decision making
  • Family context
  • Transactional model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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