D. Gorman-Smith, P. H. Tolan, A. Zelli, & L. R. Huesmann (1996) highlight important issues for the treatment of conduct problems. Their results suggest that the concept of family and the family treatment of serious delinquency should target two dimensions: parenting practices and family characteristics. Additionally, they raise important questions about the meaning, and hence the measurement, of family. The debate articulated in this comment focuses on whether the family is considered to be a collection of individuals with unique perspectives, a unique whole with its own beliefs and emotions, or both a collection of individuals and a whole. In this article, the author argues that family research can be improved if researchers specify three components of the measurement of family: (a) target of the assessment, (b) method of the assessment, and (c) method of aggregation.
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