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03-06-2016 | Original Paper | Uitgave 10/2016 Open Access

Journal of Child and Family Studies 10/2016

The Role of Rigidity in Adaptive and Maladaptive Families Assessed by FACES IV: The Points of View of Adolescents

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 10/2016
Marina Everri, Tiziana Mancini, Laura Fruggeri


Previous studies using Olson’s Circumplex Model and FACES IV, the self-report assessing family functioning, did not clarify the role of rigidity, a dimension of this model. Rigidity emerged as ambiguous: it was considered either as a functional or as a dysfunctional dimension. Building upon the results of previous studies, we provided a contribution intended to disambiguate the role of rigidity considering adolescents’ perceptions and using a non-a priori classification analysis. 320 Italian adolescents (13–21 years) participated in this study and responded to a questionnaire containing scales of the study variables. A latent class analysis was performed to identify the association of rigidity with the other dimensions of Olson’s model and with indicators of adaptive family functioning in adolescence: parental monitoring and family satisfaction. We found six clusters corresponding to family typologies and having different levels of functioning. Rigidity emerged as adaptive in the typologies named rigidly balanced and flexibly oscillating; it was associated with positive dimensions of family functioning, i.e. flexibility, cohesion, parental monitoring, and high levels of family satisfaction. Differently, when rigidity was associated with disengagement, low cohesion and flexibility, and lack of parental supervision, emerged as maladaptive. This was the case of two typologies: the rigidly disengaged and the chaotically disengaged. Adolescents of these families reported the lowest levels of satisfaction. In the two last typologies, the flexibly chaotic and the cohesively disorganized, rigidity indicated a mid-range functionality as these families were characterized by emotional connectedness but lack of containment. Clinical implications are discussed.

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