Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


School of Education


Educational Psychology, Ed.D.

First Advisor

Conrad A. Reichert

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

Ruth R. Murdoch



An understanding of the adjustment of the family may be facilitated by analyzing the tasks and the task performance of the family. This analysis requires a knowledge of the content and the construct of family tasks. The purpose of the study was to describe a factorial construction of the tasks of the family in exploring the content and the construct of family tasks.


An instrument was developed which identified the extent to which family member percieved a wide variety of tasks relevant to family living. This instrument was administered to individuals in 280 families living in Lincoln Township, Berrien County, in southwestern Michigan. A number of factor analyses were conducted and then compared in describing dimensions of the tasks of the family. To check the relationships between factorial dimensions of the tasks of the family and demographic variables of the family other multivariate correlational analyses such as stepwise regression, canonical, and discriminant analyses were used.


An eight-factor model was chosen after comparing the outcomes of different factor analyses. The extracted eight factors were: (1) group integration, (2) affective intimacy, (3) economy, (4) social adjustment, (5) extended kinship, (6) recreation-stimulation, (7) philosophy-value system, and (8) nurturance. A number of multivariate correlational analyses indicated that there were a number of significant relationships between some of the factors and demographic variables in the families. A regression analysis found that the affective intimacy factor was strongest in accounting for different levels of family happiness.


The approach followed in this study suggested that theretofore vague concepts such as "family tasks" can be defined through empirical methods. The empirical models thus constituted would enable a more precise theory of family living to be developed.

Subject Area


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