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Aging Issues: Unanswered Questions in Marital and Family Therapy Literature


  • Jennifer Lambert-Shute, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Valdosta State University; Christine A. Fruhauf, PhD, is an Associate Professor at Colorado State University in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies and Associate Director of the Center on Aging.

  • An earlier version of this manuscript was presented at the 2006 annual meeting of the National Council of Family Relations in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Address correspondence to Jennifer Lambert-Shute, Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, Valdosta State University, 1500 N. Patterson, Valdosta, Georgia 31698; E-mail:


Researchers have reviewed couple and family therapy journals to determine the extent to which issues concerning older populations are addressed. In an effort to extend previous work, we conducted content analyses of 957 articles published in three of the leading marital and family therapy journals between 1997 and 2006. From the articles, 27 (2.8%) mentioned aging or included older adults in their sample. Results indicate that the number of articles emphasizing older adults has not substantially increased. While this result has been substantiated by other researchers in previous years, a new finding in this study concerns the quality of articles on aging issues. The articles reviewed in this study indicated a greater focus on aging issues and addressing issues during this life cycle stage.