Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Family Environment


This research examines the variation in individual symptoms of family members and generates a categorical variable, family symptom type, from data. Theory concerning individual and family stress is used to set the stage for the empirical thrust of this research. Although many studies of individual stress processes have suggested the possibility of patterns of symptoms in stress response, few researchers in family stress have explored this phenomenon. The usefulness of the variable, family symptomology, to family stress research is explored. Demographic characteristics and stressor experience of families are examined for each symptom type to test whether or not these phenomena are uniformly distributed across symptom patterns;Multivariate analyses are used to summarize individual symptom data and then group or cluster families with similar symptom patterns. Scores on individual symptom factors are used as variables to cluster families. Families with similar symptom patterns are identified in each of six family types. Since each symptom score for each individual in the family is retained in the clustering procedure, variation within and between family members is preserved. Each family symptom pattern is described according to the demographic characteristics and stressor loads of its component families;Analyses of variance test for the unequal distribution of demographic characteristics and stressor experience among family symptomology types. Results indicate that family symptom types identified in this research are (1) potentially meaningful to family stress theory and (2) significantly different with regard to ages of family members and stressor experience. Interpretation of the results provides a basis for advocating increased use of multivariate descriptive statistics in family social science.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

James Richard Hulbert



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

124 pages