SOC 2500 Marriage and Family

Exam 2 Study Questions


  1. Discuss the following as they relate to mate selection:  (a) free vs. arranged marriages, (b) selections based on practical concerns vs. romantic love, (c) the role of physical attractiveness, and (d) norms of endogamy, exogamy, and homogamy. 
  2. How have dating and the mate selection process changed in the U.S. since the 1800s?  What accounts for these changes?
  3. Discuss each of the following indicating how they are related:  (a) increases in cohabitation, (b) increases in the number of people remaining single or marrying later in life, and (c) increases in the number of single parent families.
  4. How have American attitudes toward marriage changed in last 50 years?  Is this shift in attitudes good or bad?  What accounts for these changes?
  5. What is the relationship between length of marriage and marital satisfaction?  How do you explain these patterns?  How does the relationship between married couples change over time?  How does sex change over time within marriage?
  6. Discuss the statement that sex involves both biological and social processes.
  7. What are sexual scripts?  How do they differ for men and women?  How have they changed in recent years?
  8. How have attitudes toward premarital sex changed over the past 100 years?  What accounts for these changes?  Under what circumstances is premarital sex considered acceptable today?
  9. Discuss sex within the context of marriage.  What is the relationship between length of marriage and sexual activity?  What accounts for this pattern? 
  10. How would you describe our society's current attitudes toward extramarital sex?  How do our attitudes differ from actual behavior?  What is the relationship between gender and both attitudes and behavior?
  11. Discuss some of the moral and ethical questions raised by birth control.  What are some of the more popular methods of birth control?  Discuss some of the strengths and weaknesses of each method.
  12. What is natural childbirth?  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of natural childbirth?  What childbirth options are available other than having your baby delivered by a doctor in a hospital?  What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of these options?
  13. Discuss the pros and cons of the various options available to infertile couples wanting children.  What are some of the ethical questions raised by these options?
  14. Discuss the diverse ways children have been (are) viewed historically and cross-culturally. How do these differing views of children affect the way parents treat their children? How have the way children are viewed and parenting styles changed in the U.S. from the colonial period to the present?
  15. How is the rise of the individual/private family related to parenting? Who was responsible for raising and socializing children in many traditional societies? Who is responsible in most modern industrial societies? How does this shift affect parenting in contemporary American culture?
  16. Distinguish between the three parenting styles discussed in class. Which of these styles do experts typically favor? How are these parenting styles related to social class? How can class differences in parenting styles be explained?
  17. What was the view of motherhood that came to prominence during the post WWII "cult of domesticity?" How did this image of motherhood change as women entered the workforce in large numbers during the 1970's and 1980's? How would you describe contemporary American culture's image of the a good mother?
  18. Do women have a "mothering" instinct? Are they "natural" mothers? Why or why not? What does your response to this question say about gender roles and mothering in particular?
  19. What is the "fatherhood continuum?" Using the father continuum, discuss how fathering has varied historically and cross-culturally. What are some of the social, cultural, historic, and economic factors associated with variations in the fatherhood continuum, particularly in the U.S.?
  20. What is the "good provider" role? How has it changed over time? Have traditional notions of fathers as breadwinners and mothers as homemakers disappeared entirely? Explain your answer.
  21. How has the relationship between work and family life changed as societies have modernized and industrialized? How has this impacted the gender division of labor in contemporary families?
  22. In contemporary American families, who does the out-of-home for-pay work? Who does the in-home domestic work? Is this division of labor fair? Why or why not? Is it likely to change? If so, how? How are current patterns related to traditional notions of the gender-based division of labor that dominated during the "cult of domesticity" era?
  23. Discuss the following statement: While we tend to see work and family as separate and make efforts to keep them separate in contemporary American families, they regularly infringed on each other and interfere with each other. Discuss some recent trends that suggest the separation between work and family may be lessening.
  24. What is the family life cycle?  Briefly outline and discuss the family life cycle in America?  Do all American families follow this cycle?  Explain your answer?

  25. What are some of the more common experiences of families during the latter half of the family life course?  Would you describe these experiences as positive or negative?  Why do think family scholars have focused so little attention on latter life families?  Is this likely to change?  Explain your answers.

  26. What is the "empty nest" period?  What is the "refilling of the empty nest?"  What are some of the causes and consequences of the refilling of the empty nest?

  27. Discuss family care giving in later life families?  Who provides care for whom?  Who are the "sandwich generation" and "women in the middle?"  Discuss the aging of the baby-boomers and "caregiver crunch."