ERIC Number: ED308050
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1988-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
The Applicability of Olson's Circumplex Model to Native American Families.
Herring, Roger D.; Erchul, William P.
David H. Olson's circumplex model identifies 16 types of family systems based on the dimensions of cohesion, adaptability, and communication. This paper relates the circumplex model to Native American familial structures. The historical Native American family was a multigenerational extended family with no desire for change, a description apparently inconsistent with the model's requirements of nuclear and dynamic qualities in the balanced "normal" family. Nevertheless, historic Native Americans did live in a structurally open and balanced familial network that had provisions to adapt to crises. Family adaptations forced by non-Native coercive acts resulted in extreme family disruption and near dissolution. The resulting modern Native family types match circumplex model types to a degree: (1) the modern traditional Native family, similar to the model's rigidly enmeshed type, attempts to retain its cultural heritage through extreme family closeness and resistance to change; (2) the nontraditional Native family, similar to the rigidly disengaged type, is usually urban and bicultural, with little closeness between members; (3) the pantraditional family displays moderately high levels of cohesion and moderately low levels of adaptability in its attempt to return to historic family structures, and most closely resembles the model's structurally connected type. The model views the first two types as dysfunctional, and the latter as open and balanced. This report contains 41 references, and recommendations for therapists counseling Native American families. (SV)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A