Development of a New Growth and Development Sectors for the Family System Unit

Friday, 25 July 2014

Junko Honda, PhD, RN, PHN
Naohiro Hohashi, PhD, RN, PHN, LSN
Division of Family Health Care Nursing, Department of Nursing, Kobe University Graduate School of Health Sciences, Kobe, Hyogo, Japan

Purpose: "Family Development Theory" is a theory utilized when performing family assessment in the area of family nursing. However in modern families diversity has become pronounced, and it has become difficult to apply family development theories that are based on the traditional family model. The authors, based on family members' perception of changes in the structure and function of families, have developed and repeatedly revised the "Growth and Development Sectors for the Family System Unit" which they are proposing as a replacement for family development theory. In this study, in order to further advance the "Growth and Development Sectors for the Family System Unit," surveys of Japanese families residing overseas were conducted, and the effectiveness of the "Growth and Development Sectors for the Family System Unit" was tested in families in a particular environment. After additions and modifications, more diverse families were categorized and comprehended, with the objective of revising a portion of these sectors to enable resolution of family problem phenomena. 

Methods: We obtained approval from the university’s Institutional Review Board (IRB). We searched articles utilizing Ichushi-Web (Japanese database), by key words, e.g., family growth, family development, families assigned overseas, and obtained 60 articles in Japanese matched the purpose of this study. Three experts in family nursing performed content analysis on the articles, and identified categories, that is, growth and development sectors for the family system unit. Hong Kong has two Japanese primary schools, and most Japanese families on overseas work assignments send their school-age children to these schools. The authors visited each of these schools, explained the study particulars verbally and in writing to the directors or principals, and requested their participation. These schools agreed to participate, and cooperation was requested in writing to 718 Japanese families on family-accompanied assignments with children enrolled at the schools. Consequently semi-structured interviews of about two hours in length were conducted with nine families. Interviews were recorded on an IC recorder and a verbatim transcript was prepared later, and categories were identified by using content analysis. Analysis was carried out in the following order: (a) identification of the recording unit (the smallest body of content to be analyzed); (b) identification of the context unit (the largest body of content that may be examined in characterizing a recording unit); and (c) coding and conferring of names for categories, that is, growth and development sectors for the family system unit. 

Results: First, 60 papers concerning families posted on overseas assignments were reviewed and from this we added three new sectors: "period of plunging into confusion," "period of confusion, and "period of getting out of confusion." Then, as a result of a semi-structured interviews with nine Japanese families posted to Hong Kong, the number of growth and development sectors for the family system unit was modified to the following 14 items: 1) family formation period; 2) family expansion period; 3) family reduction period; 4) family completion period; 5) child nursing period; 6) child education period; 7) child independence period; 8) nursing care period; 9) period of embodiment of hope; 10) initial application process period; 11) stability and fulfillment period; 12) period of plunging into trouble/confusion; 13) period of trouble/confusion; and 14) period of getting out of trouble/confusion. In addition, during interviews we received opinions concerning the definitions of the various sectors, revising and refining the text accordingly.

Conclusion: This resulted in a more refined "Growth and Development Sectors for the Family System Unit" with greater applicability, and we suppose these sectors will make a contribution to family nursing support and address the gaps in the science of family nursing.