A Typology of Family Social Environments


  • This research was supported in part by NIMH Grant MH 16026, NIAAA Grant AA02863, and Veterans Administration Research Project MRIS 581701.


A sample of 100 families measured on ten dimensions of their social environments was subjected to cluster analysis to develop an empirically based taxonomy of families. Six distinctive clusters of families were identified: Expression-Oriented, Structure-Oriented, Independence-Oriented, Achievement-Oriented, Moral/Religious-Oriented and Conflict-Oriented. The clusters showed systematic differences in background characteristics such as size, ethnic minority composition, drinking patterns, and family disturbance and incongruence. Some evidence that certain clusters of families are composed of different sub-clusters was presented. An empirically derived taxonomy of the social environments of families may help to understand how different family environments are linked to different family outcomes.