Diversity in Families: Pearson New International Edition

Maxine Baca Zinn / D. Stanley Eitzen / Barbara Wells  
Total pages
November 2013
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This award-winning text treats family diversity as the norm, while highlighting how race, class, gender, and sexuality produce varieties of familial relationships. 

Diversity in Families looks at families not as “building blocks of societies” but rather, as products of social forces within society. The authors undertake a critical examination of society, asking questions such as, “How do families really work?” and “Who benefits under the existing arrangements, and who does not?” Their goal is to demystify and demythologize the family by exposing existing myths, stereotypes, and dogmas.


  • Emphasizes the influences of social forces on family forms, by highlighting the effects that race, class, gender, and sexuality have on family diversity.
  • Each chapter takes a close look at the myths and realities about families.
  • Coverage of human agency shows how family members respond to various social conditions and actively produce change in their family environments.
  • Especially strong in its inclusion of feminist scholarship and conflict theory.
  • “Emergent Family Trends” boxes look at new family patterns and their possible effects on future families.
  • “Inside the Worlds of Diverse Families” boxes focus on global issues such as transnational families, conducting global research on families, and mini-ethnographies that help students learn about diverse families around the world.
  • Strong pedagogy to support student learning includes an extensive box program, featuring “Families in Global Perspective,” “Technology and the Family,” “Researching Families,” “Emergent Family Trends,” and “Inside the Worlds of Diverse Families.”
  • MyFamilyKit (www.myfamilykit.com). MyFamilyKit is an online resource that contains book-specific practice tests, chapter summaries, audio and video activities, writing and research tutorials, and access to scholarly literature on families through Research Navigator. MyFamilyKit is available with Diversity in Families 9/e when a MyFamilyKit access code card shrinkwrapped with the text.

Outstanding author team, winner of the 2003 William Holmes McGuffey Longevity Award for excellence over multiple editions from the Text and Academic Authors Association.



New to this Edition

  • The 9th edition has been updated to an all-new full color design that utilizes a larger format.
  • Many new photos have been added throughout the text in order to reinforce the concepts presented.
  • The effects of the Great Recession on families (Chapter 4)
  • Families in the Great Depression and differences by race, class, and gender (Chapter 3).
  • The effects of globalization on family life is reflected throughout the text.
  • Parental time with children, including marital employment and time with children (Chapter 9).
  • Expanded coverage of immigrant families, including second generation immigrants (Chapter 4).
  • The latest research on today’s work/family realities, including the high commitment workplace, the work/family experience of single mothers, and the growing care sector of the economy (Chapter 6).
  • Mate selection, marriage, and technology (Chapter 7).
  • The latest on communication and the sexual relationship in marriage (Chapter 7).
  • Current statistics update discussions and new references highlight the latest research, especially in debunking the myths and in substantiating the realities about families reflected throughout the text.
  • Updated weblinks that follow each chapter encourage further reading and research.

Table of Contents










Chapter 1 Images, Ideals, and Myths

Chapter 2 Preindustrial Families and the Emergence of a Modern Family Form

Chapter 3 The Historical Making of Family Diversity

Chapter 4 Macro Forces Affecting Families:  the Economy, Immigration, and Aging

Chapter 5 Class, Race, and Gender

Chapter 6 Meshing the Worlds of Work and Family

Chapter 7 The Social Construction of Intimacy

Chapter 8 Contemporary Marriages

Chapter 9 Parents and Children

Chapter 10 Violence in Families

Chapter 11 Divorce and Remarriage

Chapter 12 Emergent Families in the Global Era


Chapter 13 Family Policy for the Twenty-First Century





Chapter 1Images, Ideals, and Myths   

Images and Ideals

 Family as Haven

 Family as Fulfillment

 Family as Encumbrance

Images and Reality

The Mythical U.S. Family

 The Myth of a Stable and Harmonious Family of the Past

 The Myth of Separate Worlds

 The Myth of the Monolithic Family Form

 The Myth of a Unified Family Experience

 The Myth of Family Consensus

 The Myth of Family Decline as the Cause of Social Problems

A New Framework for Understanding Families

 The Sociological Perspective

 The Paradigm Shift in Family Studies

 The Structural Diversity Approach


Chapter 2Preindustrial Families and the Emergence of a Modern Family Form   

Family and the New Social History

 What Is “New” about Family History?

 Overview of Family History Themes

Family Life in Colonial America

 Agricultural Communities and Families

 Family Structure and Household Composition

 Wives and Husbands


The Emergence of Modern Family Life

 Industrialization and Families

 Agency, Adaptation, and Change

 Household Size and Composition

 Wives and Husbands


 Challenging a Uniform Definition of the Family


Chapter 3The Historical Making of Family Diversity

Industrialization and Family Life

 New Work Arrangements

Work and Family in Industrial Society

 Accordion Households

Immigration and Family Life

 The Social Breakdown Perspective

 Industrial Work and Immigrant Families

Racial Control and Family Life

 New Thinking about Minority Families

 Race, Labor, and Family Life

 African American Families in Slavery and Freedom

 Chicano Families in the Southwest

The Great Depression and Family Change

Chapter 4Macro Forces Affecting Families:  the Economy, Immigration, and Aging  

Globalization and the Structural Transformation of the Economy, the Great Recession, and Families


 Structural Changes in the United States Because of Globalization

 The Great Recession (2007-?)

Downward Social Mobility

Shifting Family Forms

The New Immigration and the Changing Racial Landscape

Demographic Trends and Increasing Diversity

Structural Diversity of Immigrant Families

The Effects of Immigration on Immigrant Families

Immigration and Agency

The Effects of Immigration on Family Dynamics

The New Second Generation

The Aging of Society

The Demographics of an Aging Society

The Consequences of an Aging Society on Families and the Elderly

Role Transitions

Responses by the Elderly: Human Agency

The Three Structural Transformations of Society

Chapter 5Class, Race, and Gender  

Class, Race, and Gender as Structural Inequalities


The Cultural Approach

The Structural Approach


Racial-Ethnic Families

Structural Inequalities and Racial-Ethnic Families

African American Families in the New Century

Latino Families in the New Century

More Racial Ethnic Diversity in Families: Asians, Native Americans, and Middle Easterners

Human Agency and Family Formation


The Traditional gender Roles Approach

 Shortcomings of the Gender Roles Approach

 The Family as a Gendered Institution

Chapter 6Meshing the Worlds of Work and Family  

The Changing Work Patterns of Women, Men, and Teens

Women’s Employment

Men’s Employment

Teens’ Employment

Integrating Work and Family

Diverse Work-Family Contexts

Gender Inequality

Work Characteristics

Family Characteristics

Invisible and Unpaid Family Work

Gendered Labor in the Household

Other Forms of Family Work

Coping with Work and Family

Family Coping Strategies

Family-Supportive Government and Employer Responses


Chapter 7The Social Construction of Intimacy

Intimacy in Social Context

Heterosexual Courtship and Mate Selection

Variations in “Dating” Practices

Factors in Mate Selection

Structural Influences on Mate Selection

Changing Sexual Behavior

Society and Sexuality   

Enlarging the Sexuality Frame

The Sexual Revolution   

Scientific Research on Sexuality


Teen Sexuality

Teenage Childbearing

Differentiated Forms of Intimacy

Gendered Love and Sex

Same-Sex Orientation and Intimacy

Social Class and Intimacy

Race and Intimacy

 Claiming Control of Intimacy


Chapter 8Contemporary Marriages

Marriage: Private and Public Spheres

    The Private Nature of Marriage

Macro Influences on Marriage

Recent Trends

Unmarried Adults

Age at First Marriage

Family Size

Interracial or Interethnic Marriages

Racial or Ethnic Mixed Marriages

Life Span and Marriage

Are There Benefits to Marriage?

The Benefits of Marriage

The Benefits of Marriage Reconsidered

Micro Aspects of Marriage

Marital Success

Communication in Marriage

The Sexual Relationship in Marriage

Power and Decision Making in Marriage

Reconstructing Gender Roles: Building an Egalitarian Marriage

The Future of Marriage: Changing or Dying?

Chapter 9Parents and Children

The Social Construction of Parenting

The Social Construction of Childhood

Demographic Patterns


Voluntary Childlessness

Infertility and New Technologies

Delayed Childbearing

Family Composition

The Impact of Children on Marriage

The Transition to Parenthood

The Benefits of Parenthood

The Costs of Parenthood

Gendered Parenting

The Impact of Parents on Children and of Children on Parents

The Structure of the Family Embedded in a Larger Network of Influences

Parental Time with Children

Family Structure

Extrafamilial Factors

Parents and Children in Dual-Earner Families

Maternal Employment and Time with Children

Social Supports for Working Parents

Single Parents and Their Children

Reprise: The Duality of Parenting

Chapter 10Violence in Families

Families in a Violent Society

U.S. Violence Rates in Comparative Perspective

Institutionally Sanctioned Violence

Violence in the Media

Customs and Beliefs

Violence and the Social Organization of the Family

Intimate Partner Violence

Violence Against Women

Contexts for Intimate Partner Violence

Types of Partner Violence

Does She Leave or Stay?

Domestic Violence in Same-Sex Relationships

Child Abuse and Neglect

What Is Child Abuse?

Incidence of Child Abuse  

Contexts for Child Abuse

Consequences of Child Abuse


Incidence of Incest

Explanations for Incest

Consequences of Incest

Sibling Abuse

Battered Elders

What Is Elder Abuse?

Incidence of Elder Abuse

Contexts for Elder Abuse

Macro and Micro Linkages


The Women’s Movement

The Battered Women’s Shelter Movement

Assessing Progress

Chapter 11Divorce and Remarriage

Divorce Rates

Trends in Divorce

Factors Correlated with Divorce

Predicting the Divorce Rate: Up or Down?

The Prediction of a Declining or Leveling of the Divorce Rate

The Prediction of a Rising Divorce Rate

The Consequences of Divorce for Spouses and Children

“His” Divorce

“Her” Divorce

Adjustment after Divorce for Ex-Spouses  

Children and Divorce

Remarriage after Divorce

Statistical Facts about Remarriage

The Uniqueness of Remarriage

The Outcomes for Stepchildren

The Special Case of Remarriage among the Elderly

The Politics of Divorce  

Is Marriage a Failed Institution? 

Chapter 12Emergent Families in the Global Era
The Rise in New Family Arrangements
Families in Transition
The Global Revolution in Family Life
How to Think about Family Diversification
Single Life
The Singles Population
 Gender, Race, and Class
Experiencing Single Life
Heterosexual Cohabitation
 The Rise of Cohabitation
 Who Are Cohabitors?
 Gender, Class, and Race
 Is Cohabitation a Prelude to Marriage or a Substitute for Marriage?
Same-Sex Partners and Families
Who Is Gay and What Are Gay Families?
Gay Couples and Families
 A Shifting Social Context for Same-Sex Partners
The Domestic Partner Movement
Families Separated by Time and Space
 Transnational Families

Commuter Marriages and Other Long-Distance Relationships


Chapter 13Family Policy for the Twenty-First Century

The Ideological Fault Lines

The Conservatives

The Progressives

The Government’s Limits on the Definition of Marriage

The Government and Reproductive Rights




The Shrinking Welfare State

The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA of 1996)

Is Welfare Reform Working? An Assessment after Ten Years

The Conservative Solution: Marriage

The Progressive Solution: A Stronger Safety Net  

Working Parents  

Parental Leave   

Child Care

Work-Related Policies and Gender Inequality

Meeting the Needs of Disadvantaged Children

Poor Children at Risk

The Societal Response to Disadvantaged Children

Funding Programs to Help Disadvantaged Children

Principles to Guide Family Policy: An Immodest Proposal