Contemporary Issues in Family Studies - GlobalPerspectives on Partnerships, Parenting andSupport in a Changing World
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More About This Title Contemporary Issues in Family Studies - GlobalPerspectives on Partnerships, Parenting andSupport in a Changing World


This volume tackles key issues in the changing nature of family life from a global perspective, and is essential reading for those studying and working with families.

  • Covers changes in couple relationships and the challenges these pose; parenting practices and their implications for child development; key contemporary global issues, such as migration, poverty, and the internet, and their impact on the family; and the role of the state in supporting family relationships
  • Includes a stellar cast of international contributors such as Paul Amato and John Coleman, and contributions from leading experts based in North Africa, Japan, Australia and New Zealand
  • Discusses topics such as cohabitation, divorce, single-parent households, same-sex partnerships, fertility,  and domestic violence
  • Links research and practice and provides policy recommendations at the end of each chapter


Angela Abela is Associate Professor andHead of the Department of Family Studies at the University of Malta, as well as a clinical psychologist, family therapist, and supervisor. She is a consultant for the Maltese government and the Standing Committee for Family Affairs in the Maltese Parliament, and is frequently engaged as an expert for the Council of Europe. She has published on a wide range of areas, including children in out-of-home care, the relationship between adolescents and their parents, families living in poverty, marital conflict, and supervision practice.  She is an associate editor ofClinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry and an international advisory editor of Contemporary Family Therapy.

Janet Walker is an Officer of the Order of the British Empire and Emeritus Professor of Family Policy in the Institute of Health and Society, Newcastle University.She has led over 50 research studies in the fields of marriage and divorce, parenting, policing, youth justice, and family law processes. She has published in a wide variety of academic journals, presented papers at over 200 conferences around the world, and advised governments on family mediation in England, China, Chile, Canada, and the Council of Europe. Currently, she is a board member of the Canadian Institute for Law and the Family and a trustee of Relate. She has held several public appointments, most recently as Deputy Chair of the UK Social Security Advisory Committee.


List of Figures xiv

List of Tables xv

Preface xvi

The Contributors xvi

About the Book xvii

Acknowledgements xviii

Contributors' Biographies xx

Part I Changing Couple and Family Relationships 1

1 Global Changes in Marriage, Parenting and Family Life: An Overview 5
Angela Abela and Janet Walker

2 Cohabitation or Marriage? Contemporary Living Arrangements in the West 16
Turid Noack, Eva Bernhardt and Kenneth Aarskaug Wiik

3 'Alone Together' Marriages and 'Living Apart Together' Relationships 31
Paul R. Amato and Lydia N. Hayes

4 Marriage and Divorce in the Western World 46
Jan Pryor

5 Divorce in the Arab Gulf Countries: A Major Challenge to Family and Society 59
Layachi Anser

6 Couple and Family Dynamics and Escalations in Violence 74
Justine van Lawick

7 Loving Diversity: Living in Intercultural Couple Relationships 87
Danika N. Hiew, W. Kim Halford and Shuang Liu

8 Growing Older in a Changing World: Opportunities and Challenges for Family Life and Social Support 100
John Bond

Part II Parenthood, Parenting and Family Life 115

9 The Transition to Parenthood: Choices and Responsibilities 119
Janet Walker

10 Why Fewer Babies? Understanding and Responding to Low Fertility in Europe 136
Maria Letizia Tanturri

11 Mothers, Fathers, Families and Child Development 151
Gabriela Misca and Jo Smith

12 Raising Children in Single-Parent Families 166
Jan M. Nicholson, Fabrizio D’Esposito, Nina Lucas and Elizabeth M. Westrupp

13 Sexual Orientation, Marriage and Parenthood: A Global Perspective 189
Charlotte J. Patterson, Rachel G. Riskind and Samantha L. Tornello

14 Parenting Teenagers 203
John Coleman

15 Working Families: Who Cares? 215
Simon B. Burnett, Jonathan Swan and Cary Cooper

16 Children and Divorce in World Perspective 227
Paul R. Amato and Lisa M. Boyd

Part III Global Impacts on Family Life 245

17 Globalisation and Family Life 249
Melinda Mills

18 The Internet and Its Implications for Children, Parents and Family Relationships 262
Monica T. Whitty

19 Immigrant Families Coming to the West 275
Ubaldo Martínez Veiga

20 The 'Quiet Migration': Challenges for Families with Children Adopted Internationally 288
Gabriela Misca

21 Families Living on the Margin in Affluent Societies 302
Angela Abela and Marie-Cécile Renoux

22 Mate Selection and Marriage Stability in the Maghreb 317
Sabah Ayachi

23 Demographic Change and Its Impact on Relationships in Japan and East Asia 328
James M. Raymo

24 I Say a Little Prayer for You: Do Prayers Matter in Marriage and Family Life? 341
Frank D. Fincham

Part IV Looking to the Future: The Role of States in Supporting Families 355

25 Why Should States Have an Interest in Making Families Stronger? 357
Ruth Farrugia

26 Making a Global Case for Family Policy: How Families Support Society and How Policies Support Families 369
Karen Bogenschneider

27 Partnership, Parenting and Protecting Children’s Best Interests: Implications for Policy and Practice 382
Janet Walker and Angela Abela

Index 393


This book is dedicated to discussing trulyimportant family issues across a number of continents, cultures, and countries. It is extraordinarily well organized and accessible-with summaries of key ideas throughout. I am pleased to recommend this book to anyone who wishes to gain an overview of the latest information on how to “support and strengthen families across cultures, regions, languages and forms”.
Professor D. Russell Crane, Brigham Young University and Editor of ‘Contemporary Family Therapy’

This cornucopia of research-based perspectives drawn from different cultural contexts on such an important nexus of issues is a timely gift for academics, practitioners and policy makers working to strengthen modern families. Governments across the world are belatedly recognising that partnering and parenting are not easily disentangled and support for couples is an indispensable dimension to 21st century family policy. This wide-ranging collection will be an important resource as they strive to respond to family change in nuanced, informed and effective ways.
Dr Samantha Callan, Associate Director for Families and Mental Health, Centre for Social Justice and Honorary Research Fellow, Centre for Research in Families and Relationships, University of Edinburgh.

Angela Abela and Jan walker are to be congratulated on their achievement. They have brought together leading international scholar practitioners to produce this elegant and influential inter-disciplinary compendium of research and theory in contemporary family studies. The book assumes the status of a Handbook, in my view, because of its continuing potential to inform policy, theory, research and practice in the field of family studies for many years to come. We shall all benefit!
Arlene Vetere, Professor of Clinical Psychology, Surrey University, UK