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 W. Liske

Third Advisor

Paul Hamel


Problem. Although the family has been the subject of continued research over the years, recently interest in family theory and family therapy has increased. According to contemporary studies, there is a lack of scientific information about family life relevant to the needs of those working in the area of helping people relate to one another as a family. The purpose of this study was to give an empirical test to the eight hypothesized family functions as identified by Reichert (1978).

Method. An instrument, the Family Functions Scale (FFS), was developed to assess some of the activities and services in which families engage. The scale was pretested and validated. A non-probability, purposive sample of 507 high-school seniors was administered the Family Functions Scale. Their responses were submitted to a number of factor analyses. The purpose of these analyses was to extract the optimum number of factors.

Results. The study revealed that eight factors provided the most interpretable groupings and the most acceptable arrangement. Each factor represented a family function and was appropriately named. Therefore, Hypothesis 1, that the factor analysis will produce eight optimal clusters of activities and services, was supported. Hypothesis 2, that the clusters produced will contain family activities and services which correspond to the family functions which Reichert defined as Reproductive, Economic, Protective, Nurturant, Philosophical, Socialization, Education, and Personalization, was partially supported. The existence of each individual function as identified b 7 Reichert was confirmed with respect to the Nurturant, Socialization, Personalization, Philosophical, and Reproductive functions. However, the Education function was not confirmed. The name of the Protective function was changed to Regulatory function. Therefore, with the division of the Economic function Into the two respective functions— Sharing Resources and Self-Supportive— eight family functions emerged.

Conclusions. The Nurturant, Socialization, Regulatory, Self-Supportive, Personalization, Philosophical, Sharing Resources, and Reproductive functions are the eight functions of the family as revealed by the empirical approach of this study.

Subject Area


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