Date of Award
Program or Major
Doctor of Philosophy
Arnold S Linsky
The relationship of both family structure and process variables to both mental illness and family violence are examined in this study. A non-clinical sample of 100 university student families and a clinical sample of 100 in-patient families at a psychiatric hospital are utilized. Both non-clinical and clinical samples are utilized with subjects of similar age. Within the broader context of General Systems Theory and family systems theory in particular, the inter-systemic variable of bounding and the intra-systemic variable of linking are tested in their relationships to both mental illness and family violence. Open, random, and closed family system types are also tested in relationships to family violence and mental illness.
These systems variables are measured through a new family assessment instrument, the "Family Process and Structures Questionnaire". Reliability and construct validity are discussed. The hypothesis was supported that bounding and linking would show significant effects on family violence and mental illness. A positive relationship trend was found between bounding and family violence and a significant positive relationship was found between bounding and mental illness. A significant negative relationship was found between linking and both mental illness and family violence. Partial support was found for a curvilinear relationship between linking and family violence. A significant interaction effect was found between bounding and linking on family violence.
The important impacts of family system type variables were supported in the study. Open family type showed a significant, negative relationship to family violence and mental illness, while closed family system type showed a significant, positive relationship to both family violence and mental illness. Both random family system and closed family system type showed significant positive relationships to mental illness. The relationship between random family systems and mental illness was found to be particularly strong. Both full and partial predictive models were developed for family violence and mental illness. Both clinical and non-clinical predictor models are also presented. Results clearly suggest the importance of the inclusion of both intra-systemic and inter-systemic variables in family systems research. Clinical implications of findings are discussed for both family violence and mental illness.
Shigo, Al A., "The impact of systemic family processes and structures on mental illness and family violence" (1990). Doctoral Dissertations. 1637.