Michigan Family Review is an open access, peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary publication focusing on professional application and scholarly inquiry. MFR is published once a year with each volume highlighting a single theme. More...

Editorial Board

  • Gloria Albrecht (University of Detroit Mercy)
  • Gary Bischof (Western Michigan University)
  • Thomas W. Blume (Oakland University)
  • Katie Bozek (Transitions Therapy, PLLC)
  • Clifford Broman (Michigan State University)
  • Kathleen Burns-Jager (Michigan State University)
  • Heather E. Dillaway (Wayne State University)
  • Karen Erlandson (Albion College)
  • Sharon Lindhorst Everhardt (Troy University)
  • Roy Gerard (Michigan State University)
  • Chris Latty (Central Michigan University)
  • Carey Wexler Sherman (University of Michigan)

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Volume 20 (2016): 20th Anniversary Issue Current Issue

Looking Back on 20 Years: The Michigan Family Review

Heather Dillaway

As the fourth General Editor of Michigan Family Review (MFR), I am happy to present the 20th anniversary volume of this peer-reviewed, interdisciplinary journal. MFR was founded in 1995 by the Michigan Council on Family Relations and by Founding Editor, Libby Balter Blume (Professor of Psychology, University of Detroit Mercy). While the Michigan Council on Family Relations no longer exists, this journal lives on and fulfills its legacy. MFR has provided a local and regional forum for professionals and scholars interested in understanding and strengthening families. There have been many special issue editors throughout the years, adding to the interdisciplinary and diverse nature of the journal’s volumes and its focus on both scholarly inquiry and professional application. In most years, MFR has represented an annual peer-reviewed volume highlighting a single theme or focus on families. Themes have been varied across volumes, including family-related topics such as death and dying, educational reform, health care, feminism, unemployment, welfare reform, time, religion, legal matters, and intergenerational relationships, to name a few. Contributors have also been a varied bunch as editors have tried to make sure that researchers, teachers, and practitioners in a variety of fields and disciplines have been invited to submit manuscripts to MFR. Some accepted articles have been based in empirical research and others have represented policy review, literature reviews, theoretical work, and scholarly reports on practice.

Update on Social Understandings of Violence

Thomas W. Blume

In a 1996 Michigan Family Review article I explored ways of understanding violence in social context. That article was written during a time of escalating increased community violence in the U.S. — and heightened public concern with public safety. I applied three socially oriented perspectives to understanding community violence and its prevention: functional analysis, social constructionism, and systems theory. In this update I reflect on 20 years of changing patterns of violence, changing social understandings of violence, and implications for prevention as well as treatment.

A Review of the Recent Trends in the Relationship between Unemployment and Families

Moushumi Roy Choudhury and Clifford L. Broman

Past research shows that economic instability, financial hardship, and job loss can have profound impact on the well-being of individuals and family. Equipped with new findings, we return to the critical review of the impact of job loss on family formation. This review follows from and updates the prior research data on the impact of broadly defined economic hardship on families. Our findings indicate that the relationship between unemployment and family is multifaceted and multilevel. Furthermore, a closer look at the family dynamics show that structural economic transformations move beyond the loss of income further speeding up a momentum of social downfall. More specifically, the socially constructed economic transformation embodies powerful mechanisms that lead to intergenerational family outcomes. While we find the positive effects of family resiliency during periods of structural instability, based on our critical analysis of the past research we advocate for urgent and overtime social and economic welfare support to the families during the times of crisis until their socioeconomic stability with proactive structural engagement.

Family Health and Care of Older Adults: Universal Solutions to Unique Caregiving Challenges

Rosemary Ziemba

In 2002, I published an article in Michigan Family Review about taking care of elderly parents, a literature review hot off the press of a newly earned PhD in nursing. My dissertation research unexpectedly coincided with the “lived experience” of taking care of my own suddenly and seriously ill 80 year-old mother. Well, not really all that unexpected—after spouses, the most likely primary caregiver of an older adult was (and still is) an adult daughter. Still, I was taken aback when the demand hit home. My distraught feelings then didn’t come close to the sympathetic, earnest calm with which I had regarded the phenomenon from my ivory tower. Nor did they match the confident reassurances that I had dispensed to the worried families of patients throughout years of clinical practice. In short, literature, dissertation, and personal experience confirmed that parent care could be hard and stressful.

Mothering in an Increasingly Uncertain Economic Marketplace: Revisiting the Call for Broader Conceptualizations of Parenthood and Paid Work

Elizabeth R. Paré

Over ten years ago, my co-author and I wrote our article, “Staying at Home" versus "Working": A Call for Broader Conceptualizations of Parenthood and Paid Work,” for the Michigan Family Review. Like other feminist scholars before us (e.g., Garey, 1999; Hondagneu-Sotelo, 2001; Uttal, 2004), we argued that “the dichotomous construction of mother versus worker oversimplifies the complexities of motherhood” (Paré & Dillaway, 2005). Further, we argued that current cultural discourse on working versus stay-at-home mothers oversimplified and ignored the level of interaction that mothers, regardless their labor force status, have with their children and that it supported an unattainable expectation of being a “good” and “intensive” mother. In reviewing the landscape in the early 2000s we also recognized that a false dichotomy between working and stay-at-home mothers ignored a changing economic reality that required maternal workforce participation, discounted the roles fathers have in raising children, and was not inclusive of women’s diverse mothering experiences. In this updated essay, I argue that current discussions on motherhood and work, while altered due to recent structural transformations in the economy, have strengthened the “intensive mothering” expectations. Further, cultural discourse still oversimplifies the reality of mothers’ and families’ lives, and continues to mask the variation of women or men’s roles in families.

Couple Relationships of Transgender Individuals and their Partners: A 2017 Update

Gary H. Bischof, Codie Stone, Mariam M. Mustafa, and Theodore J. Wampuszyc

This article provides an update to “Thematic Analysis of the Experiences of Wives Who Stay with Husbands Who Transition Male-to-Female,” which was published in Michigan Family Review in 2011. A lot has happened in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, asexual+ (LGBTQA+) arena since the initial article. This current article begins with a brief overview of the recent sociopolitical context and evolving vocabulary regarding transgender individuals and couples, and then addresses recent literature and thinking on transgender couple and sexual issues, gender non-conforming partnerships, self-esteem issues for cisgender partners, faith and spirituality as resources, and recommendations for future research.