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Exploring Marriages and Families, Books a la Carte Edition

By Karen T. Seccombe

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Dec 28, 2010


Connects theory to reality.


Exploring Marriages and Families uses compelling real-life video interviews, stories, and photos to help connect social theory to reality.  Readers learn how social, cultural, and political factors will affect their own decision making in relationships.


Upon finishing this book, readers will understand the relevance of social science to their lives and have a solid theoretical, research-based understanding of marriages and families. 


In addition, this book helps readers learn more about their own lives and those of others, how to make better decisions about their relationships, and how social and political forces will affect their decision-making.  Integrated video interviews, photos, assessments and stories about real families help readers learn how to apply information to their own lives.

Table of Contents








Chapter 1:    Why Study Families and Other Close Relationships

Chapter 2:    Social Status and Families: Sex and Gender, Race and Ethnicity, and Social Class

Chapter 3:    Building Relationships

Chapter 4:    Love and Loving Relationships

Chapter 5:    Sexual Identity, Behavior, and Relationships

Chapter 6:    Communication, Conflict, and Power in Our Relationships 

Chapter 7:    Marriage

Chapter 8:    Thinking about Parenthood

Chapter 9:    Raising Children

Chapter 10:  Families and the Work They Do

Chapter 11:  Family Stress and Crisis: Violence among Intimates

Chapter 12:  The Process of Divorce

Chapter 13:  Family Life, Partnering, and Remarriage after Divorce

Chapter 14:  Families in Middle and Later Life

Chapter 15:  Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish




PART I: Families and Intimate Relationships:  Key Concepts


Chapter 1: Why Study Families and Other Close Relationships?

                           How Do We Define Family?

                            The Functions of Families

                            Theme 1: Linking the Micro- and Macro-Level Perspectives on Families

                            Theme 2: Families are Always Changing

                            Theme 3: The Importance of Social Science Theory and Research

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 2: Social Status and Families: Sex and Gender, Race and Ethnicity, and Social Class

                            The Link between Private Experiences and Social Structure

                            Sex, Gender, and Patriarchy

                            Race and Ethnicity

                            Social Class


                            The Intersections of Sex, Gender, Race, Ethnicity, and Class

                            Bringing It Full Circle


PART II: The Foundations of Relationships


Chapter 3: Building Relationships



                            Dating, Courtship, and Mate Selection

                            Heterosexual Cohabitation

                            Gay and Lesbian Intimate Relationships

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 4: Love and Loving Relationships

                            What Is Love?

                            Love as Attachment

                            Images of Love in History    

                            Contemporary Ideas about Love

                            Theoretical Perspectives on Love

                            How We Experience Love

                            The Downside to Relationships and Love

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 5: Sexual Identity, Behavior, and Relationships

                            Overview of Historical and Cultural Influences on Sexuality

                            Our Sexual Selves:  Biology and Culture Intertwined

                            Sexual Scripts

                            Gender and Sexual Scripts: The Double Standard

                            Studying Human Sexuality

                            Sexual Behaviors

                            Sexual Expression throughout Our Lives

                            Sexual Satisfaction in Committed Relationships

                            Sex as a Social Problem: Sexually Transmitted Infections

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 6: Communication, Conflict, and Power in Our Relationships

                            The Importance of Communication

                            The Cultural Context of Communication: Embracing Difference

                            Types of Communication 

                            Sex Differences in Communication

                            Communicating to Keep Your Relationships Strong:  Self-Disclosure

                            Conflict, Communication, and Problem Solving

                            Power, Control, and Decision Making

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 7: Marriage

                            Marriage: Here, There, and Everywhere

                            Marriage in U.S. History

                            What Is Happening to Marriage Today?

                            The Marriage Premium: Happiness, Health, and Economic Security

                            Does Marriage Benefit Everyone Equally?

                            Marital Satisfaction and Success

                            The Marriage Movement and Covenant Marriage

                            Peer Marriage

                            Bringing It Full Circle


PART III:  Parents and their Children


Chapter 8: Thinking about Parenthood

                            Population and Fertility Trends Worldwide

                            Fertility in the United States

                            The Costs and Rewards of Children

                            Remaining Childfree

                            The Interconnection of Micro and Macro: Childbirth

                            Other Paths to Parenthood: Adoption

                            The Transition to Parenthood

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 9: Raising Children

                            Parenting: It’s Not the Same Everywhere

                            Socialization: Learning to be Human

                            Parenting Styles



                            How Do Children Influence their Parents?

                            Parenting and Family Contexts

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 10: Families and the Work They Do

                            The Changing Dynamics of the Workplace

                            Life in a Recession

                            Family Work At Home

                            Juggling Work and Family Life

                            Diversity in Families: Why We Chose to Live in Hungary

                            Who’s Minding the Kids?

                            Bringing it Full Circle


PART IV:  Family Strengths, Challenges, and Reorganization


Chapter 11: Family Stress and Crisis: Violence among Intimates

                            The Nature of Stress and Crisis

                            Intimate Partner Violence

                            Child Abuse and Neglect

                            Elder Abuse

                            Explanations for Violence among Intimates

                            The Public’s Response

                             Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 12: The Process of Divorce

                            Divorce in the United States

                            Why Do People Divorce?

                            Experiencing Divorce

                            Divorce and Children: Child Support

                            What Are the Effects of Divorce on Children? 

                            Should Divorce Be More Difficult to Obtain?

                            The “Good Divorce”

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 13: Family Life, Partnering, and Remarriage after Divorce

                            Being Single Again

                            Repartnering after Divorce



                            Surviving and Thriving in Stepfamilies

                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 14: Families in Middle and Later Life

                            The Demographic Revolution

                            Aging in Historical Perspective

                            Family Transitions

                            The Aging Couple


                            Grandparents and Their Grandchildren



                            Bringing It Full Circle


Chapter 15: Looking Ahead: Helping Families Flourish

                            What Do Families Need to Flourish?

                            Family Policy

                            Building Resilience: General Policies and Programs to Support Families

                            Specific Policies and Programs for Children       

                            Specific Policies and Programs for the Elderly                

                            What Have We Learned?           

                            Bringing It Full Circle


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