Family Roles, Family Dysfunction, and Depressive Symptoms

Hanna Zagefka, Joshua Jones, Alara Caglar, Ritu Girish, Carly Matos

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This work focusses on different roles individuals might adopt in their family of origin: hero, scapegoat, lost child, mascot, caretaker, and mastermind. It was explored whether family dysfunction in the family of origin makes it more likely that individuals will take on certain roles, in particular those of ‘scapegoat’ and ‘lost child’. Further, it was tested whether the problematic roles of ‘scapegoat’ and ‘lost child’ are linked to greater depressive symptoms later on during adulthood. Support for these predictions was found in two correlational survey studies of young and older adults retrospectively reporting the roles they assumed in their family-of-origin (Ns = 176; 366). Findings are discussed in terms of their implications for family therapy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFamily Journal
Early online date25 Nov 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Nov 2020

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