Expanding Family Life Cycle, 5th Edition


By Monica McGoldrick, Nydia Garcia Preto & Betty Carter.


This is the seminal text on the Family Life Cycle which has been a best seller since it was first published in 1980, 5 editions and 37 years ago. The book now has an expanded delineation of the individual life cycle and how it intersects with the family life cycle along with chapters on sexuality over the life cycle and a life cycle perspective on friendship.

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There is an expanded discussion of men’s issues through the life cycle, complementing the already extensive discussion of women’s issues. The discussion of phases of the life cycle have been revised and expanded to include the expanding phase between adolescence and adulthood, often referred to as “adultolescence” where young people are requiring more time to develop their ability to support themselves and a new generation of family. Discussion of spiritual and cultural aspects of diagnostic categories in the DSM5 has been expanded and revised. And finally, this edition expands the discussion of the rapidly changing patterns of coupling and marriage through the life cycle.


This book bridges the traditionally separate spheres of individual development and the family life cycle in a way that transforms the traditional categories and proposes a new, more comprehensive way to think about human development and the life cycle within the larger context of cultural and social perspectives. Our expanded view of family actively includes the reciprocal impact of stresses at multiple levels of the human system: the individual, the immediate family household(s), the extended family, the community, the cultural group, and the larger society.


This edition celebrates the diversity of the twenty-first century. We refer not only to cultural diversity, but also to the diversity of family forms. There are many ways to go through life in a caring, productive manner, and no specific family structure is ideal. Indeed, most life cycle theory has focused theoretical and research attention to the developmental stages of just one family form: the White, Anglo, middle-class, nuclear families of a once-married heterosexual couple, their children, and (occasionally) their extended families. This book expands that definition of family in ways that attempt to include everyone in our society. We have widened our lens to deal more concretely in large and small ways with the fact that every family is a group of individuals embedded in communities and in the larger society whose impact is definitive and must be taken into account for interventions at the family level to succeed.



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