Pub. date: 2006 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952453 | Print ISBN: 9780761930297 | Online ISBN: 9781412952453| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Patricia B. Christian
The nuclear family is one type of conjugal, or marriage-based, family, consisting of a husband, wife, and their children who reside together. Characteristics of the nuclear family that set it apart from some other family types is that it contains only two generations and that it contains a married couple. A single-parent family is considered a nonconjugal family. In large-scale, Western, industrial societies, nuclear and single-parent families are the predominant type of family form, but in other, smaller-scale, less Westernized cultures, the nuclear family may be relatively rare and unimportant, or even nonexistent. In larger-scale societies, individuals can function more independently of their families, and the functions that larger, extended families used to supply to their members have been ...