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The Family Life Cycle: Empirical or Conceptual Tool?

Steven L. Nock
Journal of Marriage and Family
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Feb., 1979), pp. 15-26
DOI: 10.2307/351727
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/351727
Page Count: 12
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The Family Life Cycle: Empirical or Conceptual Tool?
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Abstract

A number of issues related to individual and family life are studied as they vary across stages of the family life cycle. Strong relationships are found between stages in the family life cycle and a number of such issues. Further analysis which seeks to determine the manifest dimensions of the family life cycle indicates that the major empirically important dimensions of the family life cycle are the presence of children and length of marriage. Finally, it is shown that relationships which exist between many family life variables and stages in the family life cycle disappear when the effect of length of marriage is removed from the relationships. It is suggested that the applicability of family life cycle analysis could be considerably extended by recognition of the crucial empirical importance of the length of marriage and the simple presence or absence of children.

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