SOC 2500 Marriage and Family
Exam 2 Study Questions
- 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.
- How have dating and the mate selection
process changed in the U.S. since the 1800s? What
accounts for these changes?
- 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.
- How have American attitudes toward marriage changed in
last 50 years? Is this shift in attitudes good or bad? What
accounts for these changes?
- 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?
- Discuss the statement that sex involves
both biological and social processes.
- What are sexual scripts? How do they differ for
men and women? How have they changed in recent years?
- 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?
- Discuss sex within the context of
marriage. What is the relationship between length
of marriage and sexual activity? What accounts for
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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?
- 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?
- 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
- 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
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.?
- 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.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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?
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.
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?
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."