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November 1971

Intimacy and Problem-SolvingAn Automated Procedure for Testing a Theory of Consensual Experience in Families

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md
From the Section on Experimental Group and Family Studies, Adult Psychiatry Branch, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1971;25(5):442-455. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1971.01750170058010

A computer-automated procedure for testing a theory of family problemsolving was developed. The theory distinguishes between "environmentsensitive families" who view their world as intriguing, orderly, and masterable, and "consensus-sensitive families" who view their world as chaotic, threatening, and uncontrollable. Using a computer and five teletypes, the procedure permitted contact between family members to be varied while information about the problem to be solved was kept constant. The procedure revealed predicted differences in the performance of environment-sensitive families and consensus-sensitive families. The former showed no change in family problem-solving abilities as intermember access was diminished whereas, the latter showed improvement.