«Voluntary Childlessness» Family through the Eyes of a Family Psychologist

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Abstract

The paper analyzes the controversial socio-psychological phenomenon — the family system without children and, within it, the so-called 'voluntarily childless' families. This phenomenon is viewed through the prism of historical changes that have occurred in the former Soviet Union in the late twentieth century. The psychological characteristics of marital relations in these families and mechanisms of stability are discussed and compared with conventional nuclear families. The contradictory unity of the relationship between emotional closeness and separateness (differentiation) as well as the state of chaotic adaptation and reflexivity suggests that the experience that a childless couple gets in the process of the family establishment, psychologically is more complex than in families with children. Concern for the scientific status of a childless family in psychology — «the figure of silence» — is expressed. The question about the concept of the internal development of a family without children as a whole is raised. According to the author, the classical theory of family life cycle has lost its «universality» in the modern conditions and requires rethinking.

General Information

Keywords: «voluntarily childless» families, «shock»of change, relationships, family as a system, the legitimacy of childless families in science, development, adaptation, family life cycle

Journal rubric: Discussions and Discourses

Article type: scientific article

For citation: Snegireva T.V. «Voluntary Childlessness» Family through the Eyes of a Family Psychologist. Kul'turno-istoricheskaya psikhologiya = Cultural-Historical Psychology, 2010. Vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 99–109. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)

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Information About the Authors

Tatyana V. Snegireva, PhD in Psychology, senior researcher, head of the laboratory of Scientific foundations of psychological counseling and psychotherapy, Psychological Institute, Russian Academy of Education, Member of Editorial Council of the "Counseling Psychology and Psychotherapy" Journal, Moscow, Russia

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