Family Science 5: Research & Researchers in the Media in March 2024

Welcome to the Family Science 5, helping you catch up on some of the Family Science research and researchers featured in the media during March 2024.

NCFR member journal subscribers can access full text of journal articles through the NCFR website; you may be prompted to log in.

  1. Scientific American referenced two scholarly articles from NCFR's Journal of Family Theory & Review (JFTR) in its piece about how families with LGBTQ children are attempting to handle and cope with anti-LGBTQ legislation in the U.S. The piece mentions work led by NCFR member Jenifer K. McGuire, Ph.D., that "suggests transgender children can experience ambiguous loss when their family responds to their identity in conflicting ways."
    The JFTR articles referenced are:
  2. On the Unlocking Us podcast with Brené Brown, psychotherapist Esther Perel highlighted ambiguous loss and NCFR Fellow Pauline Boss, Ph.D., as the pioneer of the concept. In addressing the idea of "artificial intimacy" — "all the experiences that we currently have that are pseudo experiences" — Ms. Perel mentioned potential parallels between the loneliness and grief people can feel from the lack of connection of artificial intimacy and an experience of ambiguous loss where people can experience grief around a person who is still present physically but not psychologically or emotionally.
  3. Pennsylvania's VISTA Today spotlighted NCFR President-Elect Debra L. Berke, Ph.D., CFLE, celebrating the five-year milestone of her leadership in helping Delaware become a trauma-informed state.
    "Job loss, violence, racial injustice, accidents, natural disasters, illnesses — some degree of trauma affects almost everyone at some point in their lives," the article reads. "That’s why, in October 2018, Delaware Gov. John Carney signed an executive order calling for trauma awareness and training." Through her work at Wilmington University and Trauma Matters Delaware, Dr. Berke was integral to the development of Delaware's status as a trauma-informed state.
  4. University of Rhode Island's Rhody Today news featured an initiative for marriage and family therapists (MFT) led by the university's Department of Human Development and Family Science and NCFR member Jessica Cless, Ph.D., which "will allow therapists with provisional licenses to provide supervised treatment while working toward their full licenses." The effort is attempting to fill a shortage of licensed MFTs in Rhode Island qualified to work with those with substance use disorders and their families.
    “When someone with a substance use disorder is treated as an individual, of course that can be helpful and effective to help them heal, but what happens when that person goes back into an unchanged family system, or an unchanged social support system? Sometimes it doesn’t stick,” Dr. Cless said in the article. “What is important as part of that process is the involvement of the family. Couple and family therapists see the entire system that person lives in—and you really have to address the whole system in order to give people a more effective chance at healing. It is less common for a treatment center to have family services embedded into the treatment. There’s this gap of need.”
  5. The Conversation and other outlets linked to a 2020 article from NCFR's Journal of Marriage and Family (JMF) in a report about a new digital platform designed "to help people weave new family ties according to a range of desired constellations," as family forms continue to diversify.
    The JMF article, "Kinship Practices Among Alternative Family Forms in Western Industrialized Societies," addresses "how kinship is construed and enacted in diverse forms of the family that are now part of the culturally pluralistic family system of Western societies." NCFR members Lauren E. Harris, Ph.D., and Megan N. Reed, Ph.D., are included as authors.