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Examining premises of boundary ambiguity and proposing boundary consensus as a concept Desfosses, Danielle A.

Abstract

This study fills a gap in the literature by examining premises of boundary ambiguity theory. First, whether boundary ambiguity is a family or individual construct is measured by testing family functioning as the dependent variable. Second, family membership and structure measures agreement on boundaries as it relates to family functioning. Boundary consensus is a proposed variable herein that examines perceived agreement on family boundaries. Each of these variables will be tested for the first time as dependent variables on the variable parent marital status, which is a group of students whose parents have separated/divorced, compared to students whose parents in their first union/marriages. Data were collected from university undergraduate classes with 130 students having parents in their first marriages and 30 having parents who had separated/divorced. Multiple regression was used to test the hypotheses. Results indicate that parent marital status is a predictor of both boundary ambiguity and family membership and structure, and that these two variables also predict students' family functioning. Boundary consensus is significantly related to parents' family functioning. The findings uphold certain premises of Boss' boundary ambiguity theory and implicate areas for improvement. The findings also suggest further research on boundary consensus to explore its possibility as a concept.

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