Sample Critical Thinking Paper on Family Structural Theory


            The structural family theory is a theory and techniques that draw closer family’s social and relational contexts by considering issues arising in the family structure, the manner the family operates and interacts to be functional or dysfunctional(Salvador, 1974). This theory ensures nurses are able to identify the interaction of family members with each other to establish a baseline. These interactions and transaction patterns provide behavior patterns that the nurse focuses on during family dysfunction assessment.

            First, I will use structural family theory as a baseline for checking family cohesiveness and adaptability. As a family therapy, the theory considers cohesiveness and adaptability as the key characteristics of a functional family whereby emotional connectedness and autonomy changes as the family mature. Moreover, this theory helps evaluate whether the family is living within its life cycle transitions.

            Secondly, structural family theory considers a functional family as a psychosocial system. The theory ensures embedment of the family to the wider social systems and functions under transactions patterns. Transactions are patterns within which family members interact with one another. Therefore, I would use this theory as a platform for checking regular transaction pattern in the family and this will help know whether the family is functional or dysfunctional.

            Third, I would use the theory to check for hierarchical organization of the family. This theory suggests that a functional family have subsystems organized hierarchically whereby the family structure regulates power within and between the subsystems (Markus 1990). In this kind of family setting, tasks are performed according to the subsystems requirement. These subsystems are composed of individuals on permanent or temporary basis whose roles differ within the family. On contrast, a dysfunctional family will lack hierarchical subsystems and the tasks are not done according to the bounded subsystems.


Markus, E., Lange, A., & Pettigrew, T. F. (1990). Effectiveness of family therapy: a          meta‐analysis. Journal of Family Therapy, 12(3), 205-221.

Salvador MINUCHIN. (1974). Families and family therapy. Harvard University Press.