Silicon Valley Notebook


This study evaluated the ways family (in childhood and adulthood) and romantic relationships differentially affected the self-concept of those raised in traditional and non-traditional families. Analyses of survey data from the 2012 New Family Structures survey (n=2,765, a subset of the original 15,058 respondents), and interviews with eight helping professionals, revealed that romantic relationships were the most relevant for positive adult self-concept, irrespective of early family structure. These findings reinforced the Chicago school of symbolic interactionism and self-concept. However, childhood family, and to some extent romantic relationships, were more influential for the self-concept of those who grew up in traditional than in non-traditional families, specifying the “boundary limiting” parameters of family influence. The findings also added to the literature on family structures, relationships, and well-being.