TCRM SPECIAL SESSION: Theory as a Prelude to Action

Special Session
10:00 AM
11:15 AM
Texas Ballroom F
Session #
Session Type
Special Session

About the Session


(Sponsored by the University of Maryland - Department of Family Science)

Facilitator: Adam M. Galovan, Ph.D., TCRM Co-chair

Greetings: Elaine A. Anderson on behalf of the University of Maryland - Department of Family Science, the Session Sponsor

Thomas Bradbury, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor, UCLA Department of Psychology

Organized by and made possible with the support of the Theory Construction and Research Methodology Workshop

Few tasks are more important, or more challenging, than enabling couples and families to function at their highest potential. Managing the complexity of this task requires an appreciation of basic processes that affect the behaviors of individuals, dyads, and entire family units, together with recognition of how interventions and social policies might modify and bolster focal patterns of interaction in these social systems. Conceptual frameworks and formal theories are crucial tools for organizing existing knowledge, for maximizing the value of future research, and, perhaps most importantly, for determining how best to intervene to promote strong and healthy partnerships. In this talk Dr. Bradbury will discuss his experiences developing and testing a conceptual framework that attempts to explain relationship development and deterioration as a function of the enduring vulnerabilities and experiences that partners would bring to any relationship, the stressful events circumstances that can dysregulate partners and their partnership, and the adaptive interpersonal processes by which couples contend with various challenges while striving to remain close and connected (Vulnerability-Stress-Adaptation Model; Karney & Bradbury, 1995). Reviews of recent longitudinal research on how couples develop and change naturally, combined with analyses of recent clinical and policy-oriented interventions intended to strengthen couples and families, will be used to illustrate critical gaps in this model and to highlight promising next steps for developing informed and informative theories of couple and family functioning.

(TCRM is made possible with the support of NCFR’s Journal of Family Theory & Review. Organized by and made possible with the support of the Theory Construction and Research Methodology Workshop.)


--Participants will better understand the value of theory in driving basic and applied research on couples and families.
--Participants will learn about current approaches to theory in the field, including their strengths and limitations.
--Participants will learn how to evaluate, critique, and develop conceptual frameworks relating to couples and families.

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Conference Session