Redefining "Family": Lessons from multidisciplinary research with marginalized populations

Heather McCauley, Morgan E. Pettyjohn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations


Families are central to the work of systemic family therapists, yet demographics, laws, and social and cultural norms have shifted globally over time, challenging traditional definitions of family. Research on sexual and gender minority and system-involved populations highlights the ability for us to hold both traditional and socially expansive definitions of family simultaneously, rather than these definitions be in competition with one another. Drawing on tenets of social epidemiology, we argue for fostering multidisciplinary collaborations to better understand how functional dimensions of "families" shape human development and mental health to bolster systemic family therapy research and practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Systemic Family Therapy, Set
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9781119438519
StatePublished - Aug 26 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Definitions of "family" in research and therapy
  • Families of choice
  • Gender minority
  • Public health
  • Sexual minority
  • Social epidemiology
  • Systemic family therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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