Sociology Index


Familism refers to core values of a family type which emphasizes commitment to the family as a unit. Staying together for the sake of the children would be an indication of this familism value. Familism refers to a model of social organization, based on the prevalence of the family group and its well-being placed against the interests and necessities of each one of its members. Amoral familism is social behaviour that is solely focussed on the economic well-being of the family. Societies based on amoral familism are not concerned with using collective action for the good of wider society. The idea was proposed by American political scientist Edward C. Banfield in his book, The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, as an explanation for why certain societies have failed to achieve economic progress.

Familism is part of a traditional view of society that highlights loyalty, trust, and cooperative attitudes within the family group. Familism is found in the bourgeois class family and reflects the cultural belief that it is the family that is the foundation of society and the source of human identification and moral discipline.

In his 1958 book The Moral Basis of a Backward Society, Edward Banfield used the term Amoral Familism to describe what he saw as the tendency of poor rural Italians to concern themselves only with the condition of their own family members to the exclusion of outsiders. The modern conjugal family, is typically described as having a central value of individualism than familism, that de-emphasizes the importance of the family unit.

Familism is a cluster of attitudes that emphasizes the relevance of the family for personal and social life, the development of a feeling of duty among the members of the family group, and the belief that to have children is a requirement for personal and social realization.

In familism three main orientations can be distinguished:

Familism as a classical social position;

Familism as a sociopolitical formulation; and

Familism as a psychological re-elaboration.

Familism as a form of system justification: A cross-cultural analysis of the USA and Italy - Pacilli, Maria Giuseppina, Jost, John. Abstract: The present study investigated the relations among familism, system justification, and family justification, that is, between familism and the rationalization of the large-scale social system and of the family as a small-scale social system. Familism is a cultural value that describes a strong attachment and loyalty to one’s family. Familism as the justification of family norms fits Jost and Banaji’s (1994) definition of system justification insofar as familistic rules apply not only to the family as a system but also to the family as an institution that is linked to the broader society. We hypothesized that the stronger the familism, the greater the tendency to endorse system justification. American participants with high system justification scores perceived family norms to be especially strong, but no relationship emerged with respect to the perceived importance of family support. A different pattern emerged in the Italian context, where a stronger perception of family norms was related to a greater tendency to engage in family justification.

Familism, Social Network Characteristics, and Well-being among Older Adults in Mexico - Heather R. Fuller-Iglesias & Toni C. Antonucci. Abstract: Familism, is a cultural value considered to be central to Mexican culture. Older generations are thought to more strongly adhere to familistic values; however, little is known about the implications of familism in late-life. The goal of the current study was to examine links between familism, social network characteristics, and well-being among Mexican older adults. Various aspects of social network characteristics and familism varied by age, gender, and education status. Familism was correlated with contact frequency and geographic proximity, but not proportion of family in network.

A New Familism Scale for Use with Latino Populations - Angel G. Lugo Steidel, Josefina M. Contreras, Kent State University. The goal of this study was to develop an attitudinal familism scale that can be used with relatively less acculturated Latinos and that assesses all relevant aspects of the construct. An 18-item scale composed of original items and adapted items from previous scales was tested on a sample of 124 Latino adults. An exploratory factor analysis revealed the following four factors, accounting for 51.23% of the total variance: Familial Support, Familial Interconnectedness, Familial Honor, and Subjugation of Self for Family. Cronbach’s alpha for the scale was found to be .83. Validity analyses revealed significant negative correlations between some aspects of familism and acculturation scores and indicators of exposure to the U.S. culture, confirming previous findings on the subject.

Managers’ Dilemma: Institutions, Familism, and Trust in China’s Private Businesses - Ma, Li. Abstract: The classical principal-agent problem finds more complications in private businesses in transitional China. Incremental processes of deinstitutionalization, partial privatization, delayed legitimization of private property right, and informal consent allowing private wealth accumulation resulted in a high level of uncertainty for private businesses. Relaxation of ideological taboo against wealth accumulation stirred up enormous private initiatives and reinvigorated the Chinese entrepreneurial spirit. Familism gains stronger hold in the normative system in the private sector. In these relatively closed systems, managers and owners undergo psychological processes similar to players in a prisoners’ dilemma game.

Measuring Amoral Familism: A Tentative Approach - Stefano Morandini. Abstract: This paper focuses on amoral familism in public institutions and suggests a way to measure it. Amoral familism may be discussed in terms of its association with public sector corruption or of misallocation of human capital. Here I describe a methodology to estimate familism that I call amoral familism rate. However, the measurement of familism involves several uncertainties concerning the data collection and how to obtain useful indications about the efficiency and the integrity of the public sphere.

Workplace Familism and Psychological Contract Breach in the Philippines - Restubog, Simon Lloyd D.; Bordia, Prashant. Abstract: The present study addresses the call for theory-based investigations on workplace familism. It contributes to the literature by proposing and testing the moderating role of workplace familism between psychological contract breach and civic virtue behaviour. We surveyed 267 full-time employees and found main effects of both types of workplace familism (workplace organisational and workplace supervisor familism) and breach of relational obligations on civic virtue behaviour. Workplace supervisor familism also moderated the relationship between breach and civic virtue behaviour, with the negative relationship between breach and civic virtue behavior stronger when workplace supervisor familism was high.

The role of attitudinal familism in academic outcomes: a study of urban, Latino high school seniors. Esparza, Patricia, Sanchez, Bernadette. Abstract: The aim of this study was to examine the role of attitudinal familism on Latino high school students' academic grades, effort, motivation, and truancy. Results in this study reveal that having high attitudinal familism predicts fewer classes missed and greater academic effort. Also, when mothers' educational level is low, attitudinal familism is positively associated to students' academic grades.

Hispanic college students' adjustment: The influence of familism, acculturation, and social support - Regina Jean-Van Hell, Boston College. Abstract: Hispanic college students' value of familism, acculturation, and social support were examined in relation to these students' adjustment to college. The analyses of the data revealed that familism attitudes of Hispanic college students were not related to their college adjustment. Levels of familism were not related to acculturation to the Anglo culture or to the Hispanic culture. Consequently, it was not demonstrated whether familism remains constant or changes as individuals become more acculturated to the Anglo culture. This study found that familism in Hispanic college students is not related to social support, as it was expected since the value of familism implies social support.

Acculturation, familism, and alcohol use among Latino adolescent males: Longitudinal relations - Andres G. Gil, Eric F. Wagner, William A. Vega. Abstract: This article advances our understanding of factors associated with patterns and consequences of early alcohol involvement among Latino teens, with an emphasis on how nativity may influence longitudinal relations among variables including acculturation, familism, and alcohol involvement. Results from structural equation modeling suggest acculturation and acculturative stress influence alcohol use primarily through the deterioration of Latino family values, attitudes, and familistic behavior. However, the relationship between acculturative stress and alcohol use differs in important ways depending on the adolescent's birthplace.