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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 164004 Find in a Library
Title: Runaway Adolescents: A Family Systems Perspective
Author(s): B K Melson
Date Published: 1995
Page Count: 122
Sponsoring Agency: Garland Publishing, Inc.
New York, NY 10003-3304
Publication Number: ISBN 0-8153-2334-4
Sale Source: Garland Publishing, Inc.
19 Union Square
West Floor 8
New York, NY 10003-3304
United States of America
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study proposes family systems theory as a comprehensive theoretical framework that can be applied to understand the complex adolescent runaway phenomenon.
Abstract: This framework should prove useful to practitioners and service providers in their understanding and treatment of runaways, to educators and counselors in their teaching and guidance of adolescents, and to researchers in their further study of the adolescent runaway phenomenon. The design of the study is historical, theoretical, and case study. From the historical perspective, the runaway literature is examined and major themes summarized. Issues discussed from the literature review are history; definition; incidence/occurrence/description; reasons/predisposing factors; typologies/classification systems; recommendations for prevention and treatment; and suggestions for future research and evaluation. From the theoretical perspective, the study outlines systems theory in general and key concepts of the theory as it applies to families. Family systems theory does not stand against the linear perspective, but includes those views in integrating and embracing the essential systems concepts of contextuality and reciprocity. An adolescent's running away from home is a "problem" only as it is understood and defined in relation to context. From the systems perspective, individuals are viewed relative to context rather than as types of individuals who have particular psychological traits. The context includes time, place, other persons, and relationships between and among all aspects of the phenomenon. These contextual variables and the behaviors in question are in reciprocal, mutually influencing, and ongoing relationships. Case examples are presented to demonstrate the applicability of family systems theory to the adolescent runaway phenomenon. Suggestions for further study are offered. 108 references and a subject index
Main Term(s): Parent-Child Relations
Index Term(s): Home environment; Juvenile status offenders; Models; Runaways
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