An empirically derived typology of families: I. Relationships with adult health

Fam Process. 1995 Jun;34(2):161-82. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.1995.00161.x.


In this report we describe the development and partial validation of an empirically derived typology of families based on 11 family variable composites derived from the California Family Health Project. Our goal was to use the typology to condense and integrate the findings from previous analyses of a large group of family variables and to account for differences in the self-reported health of adult family members. Exploratory and confirmatory cluster analyses conducted separately by gender classified 97% of the sample into four parallel types for husbands and wives: Balanced, Traditional, Disconnected, and Emotionally Strained. A 1-way MANOVA indicated that all 11 family variable composites significantly differentiated the four family types for husbands and wives. Significant differences among the four family types were also found on 10 demographic and other family variables, using ANOVA. Using MANOVA, we compared the four family types on 12 self-reported health and well-being variables by gender. Both husbands and wives from Balanced and Traditional families reported higher health scores than spouses from Disconnected and Emotionally Strained families, but no single profile of health scores was unique to a particular family type. The four family types provide an integrated and comprehensive framework for describing the family in health research.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Emotions
  • Family / psychology*
  • Family Health*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans
  • Life Style
  • Male
  • Marriage / psychology
  • Personality Assessment
  • Personality Development
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Perception