Systems theory and the family: A critique

John W. Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In this paper systems theory is criticized as outlining an inappropriate model of the family. Because of the basic tenets of this philosophy, family life is conceived abstractly and reified. Although the systems approach is currently gaining popularity among practitioners, the authors contend this viewpoint must be overcome. Instead of a system the family should be conceived as a matrix of interlocking experiences. In this way, socially sensitive family interventions can be instituted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-176
Number of pages14
JournalEarly Child Development and Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Systems Theory
  • The Family

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics


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