Life Span/Development


McGoldrick, M., Carter, B., Garcia-Preto, N. (2010). The expanded family life cycle: Individual, family and social perspectives (Fourth Edition). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

This classic text, by three respected leaders in family therapy, integrates life cycle theory and current research with clinical guidelines and cases . This expanded view of the family includes multiple levels of the human system: the individual, the nuclear and extended family, the community, the cultural group, and the larger society. 

McGoldrick, M., Gerson, R., Petry, S. (2008). Genograms: Assessment and intervention (3rd Edition). New York, NY: W.W. Norton.This updated and expanded edition features revised genograms for easier reading, reflecting the growth and widespread use of genograms in clinical practice. It provides a standard method for constructing a genogram, doing a genogram interview, and interpreting the results. This book is clinically applicable in both family therapy and family medicine settings.

Books and Chapters

Korin, E., McGoldrick, M., Watson, M. (2002). "The individual and family life cycle". In M. Mengel, W. Holleman & S. Fields (Eds.) Fundamentals of Clinical Practice (pp. 21-47). New York, NY: Springer.

This is a useful resource to introduce medical students and residents to the life cycle concept and its application to medical practice. Using case discussions, it describes typical clinical issues presented at different life stages from an individual and family perspective and illustrates how a life cycle perspective can facilitate clinical interventions. (Chapter copy available through local medical library or by contacting

Rolland, J. (1994). "Chronic disorders in the life cycle." In J. Rolland. Families, Illness and Disability: An Integrative Model (pp.101-126). New York, NY: Basic Books.
The author presents us with a psychosocial framework to understand chronic illness as it intersects with the different life cycle stages, family dynamics and medical care. It is an easy to read primer that uses a family systems approach to understand and address chronic and life-threatening illnesses.

Candib, L. (1995). "The family life cycle." In L.Candib, Medicine and The Family (pp. 37-46). New York, NY: Basic Books.

This chapter offers a critical analysis of a normative view of the concept of family life cycle as it is often applied in FM textbooks. The chapter is a helpful reminder to practitioners and teachers of the risk of using a life cycle perspective without a necessary consideration of issues related to gender, culture and social diversity.


Basics: Articles

Klein D, Goldenring JM, Adelman WP. HEEADSSS 3.0: The psychosocial interview for adolescent updated for a new century fueled by media. Contemp Pediatr.2014 (Jan) 16-28

Daaleman T P, Elder G H. Family medicine and the life course paradigm. J.Am Board Fam Med 2007;20:85-92.
This article describes the life course paradigm that views health and illness in light of the social and historical trajectories of individuals.

Medalie, J H. The family life cycle and its implication for family practice. J Fam Pract 1979;9:47-56.
This article is a classic from one of the fathers of Family Medicine that highlights the usefulness of the concept to family practice


Online Resources

Family Caregiver Briefcase for Psychologists was developed by members of the 2010 APA Presidential Task Force on Caregivers: A. F. Pataenaude (Chair), M. Crowther, T. Elliot, W. Haley, B.J. Jacobs, and S. H. Qualls.
This resource can be used for teaching, practice or research. Brief case components include: caregiving facts and figures, caregiving interventions, assessment tools and teaching material.



Hill, R. Family development in three generations. (1970), Cambridge, MA, Schenkman.

Roberts, L . The family life cycle in medical practice. In M.Crouch, L Roberts (Eds) The Family in Medical Practice: A Family Systems Primer, pp74-96. Springer-Verlag,1987.

Combrick-Graham, L. Adolescent sexuality in the family life spiral. In C.J. Falicov, Family transitions: Continuity and change over the life cycle pp.107-131. New York: The Guilford Press, 1988