Sonja Kerlen


This descriptive study e x p l o r e d the r e l a t i o n s h i p between family structure and infant caretaking role patterns in multigenerational rural Black families that included an adolescent mother, her infant, and the grandmother. The variables considered in relation to family structure were family cohesion and adaptability, which were conceptualized by Olson's (1983) Circumplex Model. Smith’s (1983) model of family roles formed the basis for the conceptualization of role sharing behaviors of infant caretaking r e s p o n s i b i l i ­ ties . Data were obtained using O l s o n ’s (1983) FACES III, measuring family cohesion and adaptability, and an Infant Caretaking Questionnaire. The sample included 19 adolescent mothers and grandmothers in their homes in a Southern rural county in Mississippi, up to 10 months after delivery. The null hypothesis for this study was that there is no relationship between family cohesion and a d a p t a b i l i t y functions and role patterns in relation to infant caretaking responsibilities assumed rural Black adolescent mothers and grandmothers. Data were analyzed using chi-square analysis. Although a trend toward a positive relationship between role sharing and balanced families was identified, no s i g n i f i c a n t r e l a t i o n s h i p was found at the .05 level. Therefore, the null hypothesis was retained. Recommen­ dations for future research included using a larger sample in both rural and urban settings and using a more compre­ hensive instrument for identifying role patterns.


Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)


Graduate Nursing

Degree Date


Publication Number


First Advisor

Virginia Lee

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Patricia Curtis

Third Advisor

Deboroha Jackson Harris

Document Type


Included in

Nursing Commons