July 19, 2010

Blame Canada Mary Tyler Moore

A three-year study of 234 families of kindergarteners published in Child Development found that behavior problems in school are linked to two types of families: Emeshed, like "the emotionally messy Barone family in the family sitcom Everybody Loves Raymond," and Disengaged, like the "seemingly pleasant suburban family in the movie Ordinary People."

Everyone else in the study was classified as Cohesive. "Think the Cosby family," said the lead researcher, University of Rochester assistant professor of psychology Melissa Sturge-Apple.

By focusing on 6-year-olds, researchers have finally solved a developmental mystery hinted at in the groundbreaking research conducted in a library one Saturday by Assistant Principal Vernon, which identified problem children as one of five types: Brain, Athlete, Basket Case, Princess, or Criminal.

A larger study, which will examine whether research methodologies involving videotape analysis produce results based entirely on fictional media, and how it's possible that academics who couch everything in terms of sitcoms nevertheless can't come up with a reference that's less than fifteen years old, is hopefully already underway, mkay?

Behavior Problems In School Linked To Two Types Of Families [medicalnewstoday]
Typologies of Family Functioning and Children's Adjustment During the Early School Years [abstract, wiley.com]

1 Comment

I always feel weary when I hear that kids are being identified into certain types. I think it would do more good for kids and their families if these researchers read some Mel Levine, and realized that kids are like snowflakes, and there's always a way to crack the code to figure out how to help them succeed.

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