This study is a contribution to the NICE crowd-sourced study with an emphasis on the circumplex model focused on family systems among emerging adults. Data was collected via online survey asking for participants ages 18-25. The data was accumulated from participants in a convenience sample around Adams State University as well as other Universities across the country. The survey was distributed online by social media, email, and word of mouth. The analysis of this research model came from information and subscales based on: the circumplex model which associates four functions; enmeshed, rigid, chaotic, and disengaged that are measured on the subscales of FACES IV, as well as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire which measures emerging adult adjustment.
Have you ever wondered what it is like to be in a household where no one talks to each other? At dinner, the only thing the family is eating is their technology and family advice is nothing more than talking to the wall. As an emerging adult going off to college, how would you feel if your family does not have the time to help you move into your residence hall? Does this determine whether your family is an unbalanced family? How does the role of your family system relate the emotions you are feeling as an emerging adult? These may be some things emerging adults must go through when their family is in an unbalance system, and for other families, they may be in a balanced system due to better family cohesion, flexibility, and communication.
Circumplex Model Overview
What defines a marital and family systems? Is it the morals and values that are upheld through years of diverse culture and traditions? Or, is there a magic set of core values as a society we have universally adopted to ensure a functional system? The Circumplex model of marital and family systems designed by David H. Olson (2000), was created to study the three dimensions of cohesion, communication, and flexibility amongst a marital and family system to define unbalanced and balanced systems and how it is applied and may affect the many domains.
The Circumplex Model, which helps in the process of identifying functional or dysfunctional family in marital and couple systems involved in this crowd source study, may be linked to emerging adulthood preferences and arrangements. This can test relationships and research if emerging adulthood adjustment can be negatively or positively impacted by family systems that test higher on questionnaires such as the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire. Explorations in worldviews sometimes lead to rejection of childhood beliefs without the construction of anything more compelling in their place (Arnett & Jensen, 1999).
Flexibility in this model is defined as how much change there is in the leadership, role relationships, and relationship rules (Olson, 2000). Flexibility contains four levels: rigid, structured, flexible, and chaotic; levels ranging respectively. The most severe of these levels are rigid and chaotic, and the most functional are structured and flexible. A well functioning family would be able to delegate and switch leadership as it is necessary, as well as establish rules together that work consistently with their values and goals. A dysfunctional family would have inconsistency in rules ranging from whoever is in leadership, which is also subject to change; or a family would have only one person making the rules, be very strict and authoritative with little to no wiggle room.
Cohesion is the glue that holds the relationship of the family or couple together coming from the emotional bond formed within the members of the group. Cohesion can be divided up into subdivisions of emotional bonding in the form of time, space, common interests, friend groups, and the ability to exist as an individual while still contributing to the group as a whole.
Communication is a critical aspect of a balanced marital and family system and is measured more on an empirical basis than analytical. Variables that are measured off of communication will be focused towards listening skills, speaking skills, clarity, self-disclosure, and respect within the family or relationship (Olson, 2000). Due to the implications of communication not being as quantifiable to record as flexibility and cohesion it will still be taken into consideration of the three-dimensional model as a self-reported consensus characterized by the individuals reportingâ€™s from each family and relationship.
The complete analysis from the Circumplex Model will analyze several variables, including: Family Circumplex model using the Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale (FACES-IV), Parent Child Relationship using The Network of Relationships Inventory (NRI), Parent Discipline using The Domains of Young Adult Discipline (DY ADS), Filial Piety using The contemporary Filial Piety Scale (CFPS), Cultural Orientation using The Culture Orientation Scale (COS), Religiosity. Using the Stearns Mckinney Assessment of Religious Traits (SMART), Socioeconomic Status using The Macarthur Scale of Subjective Social Status (SSS), Emerging Adult Adjustment using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ), Emerging Adult Risky Sexual Behavior using The Safe Sex Behavior Questionnaire (SSBQ), Emerging Adult Substance use using The Youth Risk Behavior Scale (YRBS).
This research is part of the Network for International Collaborative Exchange (NICE) This is a crowd sourced study that allows people to develop research questions, and it allows people to collect data towards the research questions (Cuccolo et al., 2018a). The resources provided from the NICE is in the Open Science Framework (OSF),
In the Understanding Family Dynamics in a Cross-Cultural Sample, the research that the NICE study is discovering is whether the Circumplex Model of family functioning ties into different cross-cultural cases, and this study was proposed by Mary M. Rogers and Cliff McKinney (Cuccolo et al., 2018b). The NICE study enables the Circumplex Model to be used for different subjects such as parent-child relationship, filial piety, cultural orientation, emerging adulthood adjustments, etc. Through the Understanding Family Dynamics in a Cross-Cultural Sample study, participants are engaging in taking self-reported surveys that reflects how the Circumplex Model plays a role in families and children development (Cuccolo et al., 2018b).
The ages 18 to 25 can be a challenging time for many individuals. During this period, individuals are neither considered to be true adults nor true adolescents, but rather emerging adults. The time spent between the ages of 18 to 25 is called emerging adulthood. This term was evaluated by psychologists like Erickson for over a great deal of time, but specifically Jeffrey Arnett has had the biggest influence on emerging adulthood. Emerging adulthood is neither adolescence nor young adulthood but is theoretically and empirically distinct from them both, and is distinguished by relative independence from social roles and from normative expectations (Arnett, 2000). The emerging adult years are a time for individuals to explore relationships, values, morals, and so forth. Individuals are still finding who they are in the midst of change as well as enduring challenges presented by society.
Emerging adulthood pertains to many influential aspects of life which relies on demographics, subjectivity, identity and more. Emerging adulthood is demographically diverse and lack normativity. During adolescence, up to age 18, a variety of key demographic areas show little variation. Over 95% of American adolescents aged 12-17 live at home with one or more parents, over 98% are unmarried, fewer than 10% have had a child, and over 95% are enrolled in school (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1997). By age 30, new demographic norms have been established: About 75% of 30-year-olds have married, about 75% have become parents, and fewer than 10% are enrolled in school (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1997). The data signifies the diversity in the category of emerging adults.
Furthermore, emerging adulthood is considered subjective. This is important because as individuals ranging from 18-25 do not know how to place themselves in the hierarchy of society. Constantly being questioned to identify as adults or still adolescents. According to Arnett (1998), characteristics that matter most to emerging adults in their subjective sense of attaining adulthood are not demographic transitions but individualistic qualities of character. How do individuals face troubles and difficulties in a vastly diverse demographic society? Yet, to many who fall into this category being demographically diverse and accepted does not mean reaching/attaining adulthood nor does it mean that there is attainment of adulthood or escapement of adolescence.
Continuing, emerging adulthood is a period concerning identity. How do emerging adults identify who they are and how to fit into society? Part of finding individualism during this period is finding love, work, happiness, finding out if we can function or fail in society. Erikson (1950, 1968) clearly believed that industrialized societies allow a prolonged adolescence for extended identity explorations. Therefore, if adolescence periods consists of ages 10 to 18 and emerging adulthood is the period from ages 18 to 25, identity exploration should takes place in emerging adulthood rather than in the adolescence/young adult years. Interestingly, Arnett and Jensen (1999), found that what individuals learn in the world around them can influence the acceptance or rejection of childhood beliefs. Also, to a large extent, emerging adults pursue identity explorations on their own, without the daily companionship of either their family of origin or their family to be (Jonsson, 1994; Morch, 1995). This is vital in relation to this crowd sourced study as a key idea that benefits both the hypothesis and the research question stated in the following paragraphs
Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire
The SDQ (Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire) is used to measure emerging adult adjustment. The SDQ contains 25 items measured on a 3 point Likert Scale using 0, 1, 2 from not true to certainly true. The SDQ contains subscales used to measure emerging adulthood, ranging from: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems and prosocial behavior.
This research is being conducted because emerging adultsâ€™ emotional welling being can be affected by parent attachment (Kenny & Sirin, 2006). This leads to the different family system, and if the balanced family system have more parent attachment, the well being of emerging adults would be different from unbalanced family system. Based on Kenny and Sirin (2006) study, the more contact emerging adults have with their parents, their emotional well being increases. By having parent attachment, emerging adults feel as if they contain more self-worth, and a positive sense of wellbeing. The emotional welling being of emerging adults ties into the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) because the SDQ is a scale that is similar to emotional well being of emerging adults. In the decade that the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire has been evolving we are now able to assess the overall mental well-being of a child based off the sum of the emotional, peer, behavioral and hyperactivity scales (Goodman, Lamping, & Ploubidis, 2010).
The testable hypothesis for this study is based on emerging adulthood adjustment, balanced couples, and family systems tend to be more functional compared to unbalanced systems. Followed by the research question: What is the relationship between the circumplex model pertaining to FACES IV and emerging adulthood adjustment based on the strengths and difficulties questionnaire?
Upon completing this study there proved be a gain of greater knowledge based upon the Circumplex Model and how the external factors of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire will impact an emerging adult prospect amongst their family or couple system. The results aim confirm the hypothesis and provide insight on what makes a family and couple system balanced and what factors will play a role in the success of the system or not.
The findings were compiled into NICE project and shared with other contributors of this study in the Open Science Framework (OSF), where the research obtained will also be contributing to the study on a much larger scale that will further research centered around emerging adults.
Through the Collaborative Exchange (NICE) program, this crowd source study was conducted. NICE produced this crowd sourced study that allows data in this research to be shared with various contributors through the Open Science Framework (OSF) who wish to participate in the study in order to access a more diverse set of data. This research study was approved through an institutional review board or IRB, which grants the research team the ability to move forward toward collecting data. Through the research, there will be information provided on the design, participants, materials, and the procedure. The research relationship for the purpose of this crowd sourced study that has been analyzed goes as follows: the relationship and impact between the Circumplex Model, (particularly FACES IV) and the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaires (SDQ) on emerging adulthood adjustment.
This project is a cross-cultural crowd sourced research study which centers on examining if the Circumplex Model of family functioning fits across cross-cultural samples (Cuccolo et al., 2018). The design of this research is a correlational study because the research is determining whether there is a relationship between the FACES IV section of the Circumplex Model with emerging adult adjustment. The dependent variable of this research include the subscales of the FACES IV and the subscales of the SDQ. The scale used for the dependent variable is an interval Likert scale. In this research there are no independent variable since there is nothing is being manipulated. Because of this, the research was conducted with the intention to be analyzed as a correlational study.
Prior to contributing to the study, IRB approval was obtained and the data was collected and stored through the OSF. Participants involved were asked to take the online survey through convenience sampling and snowball sampling on various social media platforms and through email. Due to convenience sampling, the majority of our participants fit more into the WEIRD description; Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic. Participants completed this survey on Qualtrics through a computer or other device. The surveys were taken by the participants and the data was collected and shared with the other contributors who are a part of the NICE project through the OSF. Through the survey, the questions were asked in different orders of to determine factors such as: parent child relationships, parent discipline, filial piety, socioeconomics status, emerging adult adjustments, emerging adult risky sexual behavior, emerging adult substance abuse, and the family circumplex model categories of family style. The main target audience was 18 to 25 year oldâ€™s who fit the qualifications of age restriction based on the emerging adulthood restrictions within the questionnaire.
The sample population consisted of 1440 individuals ages 18-25 years old (382 male, 26.5%; 893 female, 62%) with a mean age of 19.93 (N= 1203) from various demographics and areas. Ethnicity was reported in this study which included 1440 participants that identified as White (66.4%), Black (16.3%), Asian (7.4%), Native American (0.7%), Native Hawaiian (0.2%), or Other (3.2%).
Among the participants 71 (67%) reported having a functional family system while 34 (32.1%) identified coming from a dysfunctional family system. One participant chose not to identify whether or not they have a functional or dysfunctional family system. When it came to other aspects of functional relationships, 1176 participants (27.26%) said they were cohesive, 1169 participants (15.3%) reported enmeshment, and 1168 (36.1%) quality communication. The remaining 1172 participants (24.6%) reported differences on the flexibility scale.
Participants that were not from Adams State University were also used for this study, and the research team was also able to receive data from other universities around the country collected by other contributors to the study on the OSF. Other participating universities include; Mississippi State University, Georgia Highlands College, Ferris State University, Long Island University, West Liberty University, Eastern University, Buffalo State University, University of North Dakota, Coventry University, and Tarbiat Modares University.
The Circumplex Model used through the NICE Project used (FACES IV) to measure the Circumplex Model for family cohesion. The SDQ is mostly what the research team analyzed. With the Circumplex Model the subscales that are measured are cohesion, flexibility, disengaged, enmeshed, rigid, chaotic, family communication, and family satisfaction.
Strengths and Difficulties
Participants completed the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (Goodman, 1997). This questionnaire consists of twenty-five items on physical qualities. This questionnaire covered questions related to five scales: emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity, inattention, peer relationship problems, and pro-social behavior (Goodman, 1997).
Sample statements from the SDQ are: I worry a lot; I have at least one good friend; Other people pick on me or bully me; I often offer to help others (family members, friends, colleagues); I get very angry and often lose my temper; I would rather be alone than with other people.
Likert-type responses range from 1 (strongly disagree) to 5 (strongly agree). The 25 attributes of the SQD are summed to produce five subscale total scores. The reliabilities (Cronbachâ€™s alpha) for the five subscales were: Emotional Symptoms, .00; Conduct Problems, .00; Hyperactivity/inattention, .00; Peer relationship problems, .00; Prosocial behavior, .00. 1 to 4 are added together to produce an overall difficulties score based on 20 items.
The Family Adaptability and Cohesion Scale (FACES-IV) was established to assess the adaptability and cohesion dimensions in family interactions (Olson, D.H., Gorall, D.M, Tiesel, D.W., 1985). The most current version is FACES IV. FACES IV, consists of six family scales: two balanced and four unbalanced each have 7 items, in all resulting in 42 items. Included in the FACES IV package is the Family Communication Scale and Family Satisfaction Scale, resulting in a total of 62 items.
Sample questions include: What is your race, ethnicity? What is your current education status? What is the sex you identify as? How many siblings do you have? How is your family structure? What is your annual income?
Sample statements include: Family members consult other family members on important decisions.; My family is able to adjust to change when necessary.;. Family members are on their own when there is a problem to be solved.; Family members have little need for friends outside the family; Our family is highly organized; It is unclear who is responsible for things (chores, activities) in our family.
The participants were provided the link through social media and/or email, and the participants were then instructed to answer every question on the survey from start to finish and to answer truthfully to the best of their ability. The participants were informed that the survey could possibly take up to 60 minutes, this being the only time constraint. Being that the experimental setting was based online, individuals had to also have a device with a good internet browser, and internet access. The data was then collected and pooled through the OSF, which was compiled on a flash drive for the research team to analyze. Using the data given to us we were able to put it into a comparative format using SPSS. Using SPSS the team was able to dissect the data in order to remove outliers and use the data from the specific sub-variables from the S&D questionnaire and the FACES IV. Using this data the team was able to find correlation statistics as well as calculate a p-value regression (p <.05). Next conducted was a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) test in order to see the difference in means for the various groups of individuals that categorized into functional or dysfunctional based on FACES IV, as well as how they compared on their emerging adult adjustment based on their strength and difficulties questionnaire score.
The original hypothesis stated was: based on emerging adulthood adjustment, balance couples, and family systems tend to be more functional compared to unbalanced systems. Correlational tests were run comparing responses to the SDQ subscales and the FACES IV subscales. Followed by the research question, what relationship between the circumplex model and emerging adulthood adjustment based on the strengths and difficulties questionnaire? Upon completion of this research greater knowledge was gained for the use of the Circumplex Model and how the external factors of the SDQ impacts an emerging adult prospect amongst their family or couple system. The results supported the original hypothesis stated based on subscales of interest in correspondence with the Circumplex Model, SDQ, and the FACES IV on emerging adulthood adjustment.
An additional aspect analyzed by this research is analyze functional family structure based on the Circumplex Model asked to show if there would be a positive correlation with higher level of emerging adult adjustment scales. The data that was collected demonstrated that there was a positive correlation 0.25, (p>.05) between the subscale of balanced cohesion (M=27.28, SD= 5.40) and prosocial skills(M=8.01, SD=1.79). The cohesion subscale had a negative correlation -0.194, p> .05, with the emotional problem (M=4.28, SD=2.55), -0.233, and (p>.05) on conduct problems (M= 2.09,SD= 1.64), -0.208, and (p>.05) with hyperactivity (M= 3.90, SD= 2.23), and a -0.303, (p>.05) negative correlation on peer problems (M= 2.66, SD=1.78). These correlations represent that emerging adults who are prosocial have families that are cohesive. As for the other subscales that have negative correlations, emerging adults who are in cohesive family have less conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and emotional problems.
Another aspect of this research that was analyzed was dysfunctional family structure based on the Circumplex Model and whether it would correlate with lower emerging adult adjustments. The subscales that represents dysfunctional family are disengaged (M=17.86, SD=5.15), enmeshed (M=15.30, SD=4.79), rigid (M=20.31, SD=4.90), and chaotic (M=16.16, SD= 5.34). The correlation of disengaged subscale had a positive correlation with the emotional subscale 0.197, (p>.05), conduct problem subscale 0.356, (p>.05), hyperactivity subscale 0.206, (p>.05), and peer problems subscale 0.294, (p> .05), and a negative correlation with prosocial subscale -0.138, (p>.05).
The enmeshed subscale had a positive correlation with emotional problems 0.109, (p>.05), conduct problems 0.356, (p>.05), hyperactivity 0.122, (p>.05), and peer problem 0.294, (p>.05), and a negative correlation with prosocial -0.193, (p>.05). Rigid subscale had a positive correlation with emotional problems 0.077, (p>.05), prosocial subscale 0.052, (p>.05) and conduct problem 0.173, (p>.05).
The rigid subscale demonstrated no correlation with hyperactivity 0.030, (p<.05) and peer problems 0.043, (p<.05). The chaotic subscale demonstrated to have a positive correlation with emotional problems 0.225, (p>.05), conduct problem 0.303, (p>.05), hyperactivity 0.275, (p>.05), and peer problems 0.291, (p>.05). the chaotic subscale had a negative correlation with prosocial subscale -0.139, (p>.05).
These correlations help to represent the relationships the dysfunctional subscale showed with lower levels of emerging adulthood adjustments. For example, the correlation between disengaged families and conduct problem represents that emerging adults that have problems with others are from families who do not engage with one another.
Upon data completion, incomplete data was to be removed in order to remove outliers. There were about 200 data points that were removed due several issues ranging from the survey questions; either from invalid responses, acquiescence, or the premise that the survey was incomplete due to time length of the survey therefore; blank data was also removed.
The hypothesis of this research study is functional family structure based on the Circumplex Model would have a positive correlation with higher level of emerging adult adjustment scales. The data that were collected showed that there was a positive correlation between the subscale of balanced cohesion and prosocial. The results support the hypothesis based on subscales of interest in correspondence with the Circumplex Model, Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire, and the FACES IV on emerging adulthood adjustment. Correlations represent emerging adults who are prosocial have families that are cohesive. Negative correlations, revealed that emerging adults who are in cohesive family have less conduct problems, hyperactivity, peer problems, and emotional problems.
Another additional hypothesis of this research is dysfunctional family structure based on the Circumplex Model would correlate with lower emerging adult adjustments. The subscales that represents dysfunctional family are disengaged, enmeshed, rigid, and chaotic In this case, our results also supported our hypothesis based on our subscales of interest. Both positive and negative correlations found represented the dysfunctional subscale correlated with lower levels of emerging adulthood adjustments. However, there was no correlation found between the rigid subscale and the subscale of hyperactivity and peer problems. One of the signifying characteristics of an enmeshed family is the display of being prosocial. The enmeshed function displayed a positive correlation with emotional, peer, conduct problems, and hyperactivity, this tells us that the more enmeshed a family system is the more prominent these subscales became. On the contrary, the enmeshed function also showed a negative correlation with the prosocial subscale.
The results of this study support the notion that based on emerging adulthood adjustment, balanced couples and family systems tend to be more functional compared to unbalanced systems. This is only the beginning. The hypothesis was correct based on subscales from both FACES and the Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire based in relation to the Circumplex Model of family and marital functions. The results of this study support the notion that based on emerging adulthood adjustment, balance couples, and family systems tend to be more functional compared to unbalanced systems.
This research study could help researchers Kenny and Sirin (2006) with discovering parental attachment, self-worth, and depressive symptoms in emerging adults. With this research conducted, it could benefit the study by Kenny and Sirin (2006) because there were information on the subscales of emerging adults, and how it relates to whether families are functional or dysfunctional. With Kenny and Sirin (2006) study, they wanted to see if parental attachment plays a role in emerging adults. This is similar to the functionality of families on emerging adulthood adjustments. The support from this research study on emerging adults in functional families that have lower emotional, conduct, and peer problems as well as hyperactivity could help the researchers look into whether the parent attachment and function of the family play a role into the well being of emerging adults.
In the study by Martin (2017), the researcher explained that parent contributes to the way children and adolescent show aggression, disruptiveness, defiance, impulsivity, and hyperactivity. Researchers Martin discusses that parentâ€™s behavior could factor into why children and adolescent react the way they do because of their parents. The different ways parenting styles are used also contributes to the externalizing problems of the children and adolescent. The study that was conducted on the Circumplex Model and emerging adulthood adjustment could factor into this study because the study talks about family functions. This study was able to show that functional family tend to have better prosocial skills and less emotional, conduct, peer, and hyperactivity problems. By utilizing this study on the Circumplex Model, it can benefit the study done by Martin (2017) with looking more into how parent styles could cause aggression disruptiveness, etc. in children and adolescent.
Because of surveys usually being impacted by the WEIRD population (white, educated, industrialized, rich, democratic) there is a smaller sample of people that usually participate in these surveys, so the measureâ€™s do not always result in a very wide spread sample of all cultures, poverty levels, ethnicity, etc. This limits surveys like ours to result in not as much data on individuals that could benefit from this type of research. We also were not able to get as many participants as we had hoped for this study due to the length of the survey and individual completion of the survey, and our abilities to get participants may have been limited because it was an online survey that did not offer much incentive other than contributing to research. If we had offered extra credit, we would be able to get more participants. Another limitation of our study is the age ranging from only ages 18 to 25, as well as having mostly only access to college students - because of there being a smaller age range, we had to eliminate individuals outside of this age range. For future research contributing to the NICE project, it would be beneficial to get more individuals to participate by offering incentive and also reaching out to more communities if possible and even ensuring a shorter survey to encourage individuals to finish the survey completely. â€ƒ
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