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May 1981

The Family Meets the HospitalPredicting the Family's Perception of the Treatment Program From Its Problem Solving Style

Author Affiliations

From the Center for Family Research, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, George Washington University School of Medicine, Washington, DC.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1981;38(5):569-577. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1980.01780300081010

• A family's perception of a treatment program may determine whether it becomes productively engaged or destructively withdrawn. A theory of family types, in conjunction with a standardized laboratory problem solving procedure, was used to predict the nature of families' shared perceptions of a psychiatric ward. The individual and shared perceptions of thirty families were determined by means of a specially designed Q-sort. Two dimensions of problem solving behavior successfully predicted significant differences between families in their shared perceptions. Configuration, or the family's capacity to derive effective solutions in the laboratory, predicted the subtlety of their perception of the ward. Coordination, or the capacity of family members to dovetail their problem solving efforts with one another, predicted the family's sense of comfort and engagement in the ward setting.