International Journal of Sociology of the Family

Volume 26, Number 2 (Autumn 1996)

Intergenerational Relationships in Japanese Families
Robert Strom, Shirley Strom, Pat Collinsworth, Saburo Sato, Katsuko Makino, Yasuyuki Sasaki, Hiroko Sasaki & Norihiro Nishio (Office of Parent Development International, Arizona State University, USA)
Grandparents (GPs) in Japan believe that they are out of touch with grandchildren (GCs) & have lost status in modern family life. To assess GP performance, a strengths & needs inventory was administered to 239 GPs, 266 parents, & 274 unrelated school-age GCs in Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, & Tokushima prefecture. Independent variables included gender, age, whether GP & GC lived together, how often the GP cared for the GC, & amount of time spent together each month. Findings indicate that GPs, more than children or GCs, (1) believed themselves less capable of carrying out their role; (2) did not seek the independent life most US GPs desire; (3) believed family relations weakened with decline of the three-generation household; & (4) favored continuation of traditional indirect communication patterns. Discussion addresses amelioration of these beliefs & attitudes, how GPs can promote intergenerational learning, & developing educational programs for GPs & other adults preparing for their family role after retirement. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 1-15]

Family Strengths in the People's Republic of China: As Perceived by the University Students and Government Employees
Xiaolin Xie, John Defrain, Williams Meredith, & Raedene Combs (Department of Psychology & Human Ecology, Cameron University, Oklahoma, USA)
A questionnaire, based on a model that identifies characteristics of strong families in the US & several world cultures, was administered to 214 university students (average age 23) & 172 government employees (average age 39) in Guangzhou, People's Republic of China, to examine Chinese family strengths. Significant differences were found (1) between male & female (F) respondents in the combined sample & university students sample, with Fs perceiving a higher degree of family strengths; & (2) between students & government employees, with students perceiving a higher degree of family strengths. No significant difference was found between extended families & nuclear families in the combined or separate samples, indicating that extended families are still a commonly accepted norm. Overall, family members share the major family strengths common in the US; however, given current population policy, it is likely that extended families will decrease, & support systems between parents & children will be less intense. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 17-27]

Counterfeit Intimacy: A Dramaturgical Analysis of an Erotic Performance
Philip O. Sijuwade (Institute of Urban & Public Affairs, University of Texas, USA)
Participant observation data of customer-waitress interaction in a topless club over a six-week period are presented. Analysis focuses on the setting, appearance, & manner of the "cynical performance" orchestrated by the waitress through which she uses partial & complete nudity, & nude dancing to stimulate the fantasies of her patrons & thereby create "counterfeit intimacy." Various strategies enacted by customers & waitresses to enhance the counterfeit intimacy contrived by both are analyzed. Conclusions suggest that all forms of counterfeit can be studied as sources of benefits for people whose expectations have not been met by legitimate institutions, & rationality in performance is maximized in performances explicitly designed to be counterfeits. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 29-41]

Wives' Encounters: Family Work Stress and Leisure in Two-Job Families
Gurjeet K. Gill, & Ray Hibbins (Department of Sociology, University of New England, New South Wales, Australia)
Explores ways in which family work contributes to wives' stress & constrains their leisure via interview & questionnaire data collected from a sample of 35 two-job families with children of varying ages. Ideologically, family work was perceived as a shared responsibility, but the wives performed it with only some help from their husbands & children. Housework was found to be nonrewarding, monotonous & boring, as well as a major source of conflict & stress & a constraint on leisure time. How wives use relatively favorable family activities as an escape from daily stress are explored. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 43-54]

The Cross-Country Differences and Similarities in Conceptualizing and Predicting Marital Quality of Ever-Married Women in Urban America and China: Detroit and Chengdu
Xiaohe Xu (Department of Sociology, Mississippi State University, USA)
Literature & research on marital quality & its determinants in the US & People's Republic of China (PRC) are reviewed, & it is hypothesized that, regardless of cultural & sociopolitical differences, marital quality can be constructed & empirically measured along the same dimensions. A 1984 study that surveyed 459 ever-married women, ages 18-75, in Detroit, MI, was replicated in 1987 in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, PRC, with 586 ever-married women, ages 20-70. Results confirm that quality of urban marriages can be conceptualized as a dual factorial & multidimensional phenomenon across culturally & structurally different societies. Meanings of marital quality in the urban US & the PRC appear comparable but are not identical. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 55-78]

Career-and Family-Related Preferences and Expectations of College Students: Some Inter-Gender and Inter-Ethnic Comparisons
Manual J. Carvajal, Julissa M. Barrios-Balbin, Beatriz M. Benitez, Sonia K. Chandra, Elsa I. Jaramillo, Lazaro C. Rodriguez, Erwin Rosenberg, Cristina M. Velarde & Pablo R. Velez (Florida International University, USA)
Explores intergender & interethnic differences in college students' career & family life preferences, expectations, & aspirations within a cumulative disadvantage context using survey data collected from a representative sample of 301 undergraduate students at the Florida International U, Miami. Career-related choices & preferences regarding students' plans immediately following graduation, whether they expect to find a suitable job in the short run, where they expect to spend most of their career, whether they are confident about finding an ideal job in the long run, & whether they expect to end up in a line of work different from the training they are receiving in college are addressed. Family-life choices & preferences are examined through specific questions about marriage, children, divorce, & willingness to sacrifice career for the sake of a happy marriage. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 79-100]

A Family Environment Model and Australian Young Adults' Social-Status Attainment: A Follow-Up Analysis
Kevin Marjoribanks (Harvard University, Massachusetts, USA)
Data were collected on 320 Australians at ages 11, 16, & 21 years to examine the relationship between family/context aspirations & adolescents' attainment. In the first survey, interviews assessed parents' educational & occupational aspirations & individualist-collectivistic achievement orientation for their 11-year-old children. In the second survey, structured questionnaires measured adolescents' perceptions of family & school settings & their own educational & occupational aspirations. In the third survey, social status attainment of the young adults was assessed. Results suggest that family contexts defined by parents' aspirations & orientation are significantly associated with parents' socialization practices, adolescents' perceptions of the practices & aspirations, & young adults' social status attainment; adolescents' perceptions of parent & school settings & their aspirations mediate relationships between family & status attainment; & there are family/context differences in the nature of the associations between perceptions of immediate setting, adolescents' aspirations, & young adults' social status attainment. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 101-112]

Incorporating and Distancing: Changing Roles and Images of the Family in a Brain Trauma Clinic
Malin Akerstrom (Department of Sociology, Lund University, Sweden)
Incidents from field observation & interviews (N = 15 ward staff) conducted in a neurological care facility in Sweden over a six-month period, 1991/92, demonstrate the change in the clinical staff's treatment of patients' families that occurred when a ward was established specifically for the treatment of brain trauma patients. In the separate facility, staff became involved in learning new treatment & communication methodologies that recognized family members as important actors in rehabilitation. The attitude of the staff toward the families changed from distancing themselves to incorporating the family in treatment, although incorporation brought new constraints that acknowledged the staff's need for distance. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 113-127]

Intergenerational Relationships in Black Families
Robert Strom, Shirley Strom, Pat Collinsworth, Paris Strom & Dianne Griswold (Office of Parent Development International, Arizona State University, USA)
Black grandparents are more likely than other grandparents to have a grandchild living with them & are often described as heroes by their grandchildren. In order to recommend guidelines for grandparent education programs to enhance their success, a sample of nonconsanguineous black Ss (N = 204 grandparents of grandchildren ages 6-8, 128 parents of children ages 6-8, 294 grandchildren ages 6-18 from the southeast & southwest US) was grouped by generation & administered a strengths & needs scaled inventory. Significant differences were found in how each group viewed grandparents' performance, but there was no variation in perceptions as a function of age, gender, formal education level, employment, income, or distance from grandchild. Recommendations for grandparent education programs, based on views expressed in the study & in classes for black grandparents, address how to support single mothers in child raising, helping grandchildren set goals & solve problems, developing own teaching strength, & knowing children as individuals. [Int. J. Sociol. Fam. 26(2), 1996: 129-141]

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