Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Cliff McKinney

Committee Member

Arazais Oliveros

Committee Member

Danielle Nadorff

Committee Member

Kevin Armstrong

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Applied Psychology (Clinical Psychology concentration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Psychology


The Circumplex Model of family functioning posits that balanced levels of cohesion and adaptability are associated with positive familial outcomes, whereas extremely high or low levels of these factors are associated with deleterious outcomes. Despite the popularity and utility of this model in Western cultures, there is a dearth of empirical data supporting its use in less Western or more culturally diverse cultures. The current study assessed the Circumplex Model of family functioning, cultural factors, and emerging adult outcomes (e.g., substance use, risky sexual behavior, emotional problems, prosocial behavior) across 18 U.S. sites, China, Nigeria, Switzerland, Iran, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. Participants were N = 3593 emerging adults, the majority of which were women (71.3%) and White (59.1%). Collaborators were participants in Psi Chi's Network for International Collaborative Exchange (NICE) and administered measures of family dynamics, cultural orientation, substance use, risky sexual behavior, and mental health outcomes to participants in a random order. The Circumplex Model of Family Functioning did not fit cross-culturally. A global six-factor model was created through factor analytic techniques that was invariant across samples and between genders. Culture significantly moderated the relation between family model variables and emerging adult outcomes. The current study suggests the cultural context in which family dynamics occur should be taken into consideration when evaluating behavioral outcomes. The best strategies for promoting positive outcomes in emerging adults may depend on the family's cultural orientation and may require adaptation in intervention.


Psi Chi's Network for International Collaborative Exchange