1.0 The Canadian Psychological Review from 1976 to 1980.
2.0 Canadian Psychology from 1981 to 1985
2.1.1 The Zeitgeist
2.1.2 The Research
2.1.3 The Zeitgeist's Influence on the Research
2.2.0 Canadian Psychology from 1986 to 1990
2.3.0 Canadian Psychology from 1990 to 1995
This paper will examine a portion of the history of modern psychology from 1976 to 1980 by examining the journal Canadian Psychological Review (which became Canadian Psychology). The focus will be on the family and gender issues within the family. The zeitgeist of this time period will be described and the research on family in the journal will be summarized, followed by a discussion of the influence of the zeitgeist on the research.
The years between 1976 and 1980 saw a general rise in divorce rates in Canada. In this five-year span the divorce rate increased by over 3.5% from 985.6 in 1976 to almost 1100 in 1980 (Statistics Canada, 1983). At the same time, there was also a dramatic increase in lone-parent families. In 1976 families headed by lone-parents consisted of 14.0% of all families with children (Statistics Canada, 1992). Lone-parent families during these years were usually headed by women.
During this time there was a greater recognition of feminist issues at a social and political level. Women's participation outside the home in the paid workforce was on the rise. In 1976, 37.6% of the labour force consisted of women, and by 1980 the figure had risen to 40.1% (Statistics Canada, 1985). This increase of women in the labour force likely contributed to changing gender roles within the family. There was more gender equality in marriage. For example, financial responsibilities were now being shared by both partners.
At a political level, matrimonial laws and divorce laws also reflected the zeitgeist of the years 1976 - 1980. Marital, family, and divorce legislation instituted greater gender equality regarding property, assets, financial accountability, and family responsibilities. In particular, the Marital Property Act and the Family Maintenance Act established marriage as an economic and social partnership of equal status. Feminist issues were also reflected at the judicial level. As women often lacked the financial stability to endure a lengthy divorce process, the unified divorce court system developed in the late 1970s protected women's rights by providing easier access to legal aid.
Research articles on family issues were sparse during the period 1976 - 1980. This was likely a result of the zeitgeist of the time, since dramatic changes in the family were just beginning to emerge. In the following paragraphs, the four articles located on family issues from 1978 to 1980 will be described and discussed in terms of the zeitgeist.
The research article entitled "Denial of responsibility, videotape feedback and attribution theory: Relevance for behavioral marital therapy" (Wright & Fichter, 1976) focussed upon the effects of marital counselling among couples who were facing conflicts in their marriage. Various strategies were also suggested as an attempt to resolve these conflicts. Among them, considerable emphasis was placed on the couples to listen to one another whenever an argument seemed inevitable. This research also emphasized that the roles of both husbands and wives be equal. As such, mutual respect and recognition of equality were two of the main themes reflected in this body of research.
In the 1970s, there was an alarming increase in divorce rates. As a result, these researchers might have published this article as a strategy to help couples resolve their differences without filing for divorce. Furthermore, changing gender roles were prevalent in society during this time frame. As such, this likely had a direct impact on the researchers, as they emphasized gender equality in marriage. In addition, they did not portray any sexist role models, such as suggesting that only mothers should care for the children in the home.
The article titled "The status of family and marital therapy outcomes: Methodological and substantive considerations" (Paquin, 1977) reviews and assesses current knowledge of family therapy techniques by focusing on the results of outcome studies. This review reveals the inadequacies of the current research. With this in mind, the goal of the study is to offer suggestions for further research to help bridge the gap between clinicians and researchers in marital and family therapy.
The above study reflects a shift in the area of marital therapy towards a greater scientific orientation. In doing so, researchers were able to draw stronger conclusions regarding the influence of divorce rates, lone-parent families, and gender issues. The need to draw stronger conclusions reflects the growing recognition of the effects that these social factors had on the direction of research on family and marital therapy. In addition, Paquin consistently used unbiased language throughout the paper which reflects the growing importance of feminism and women's issues in the time period 1976 - 1980.
The article "Guidelines for therapy and counselling with women" (Pettifor & Cammaert, 1980) provides clarification, elaboration, and application of existing ethical standards with respect to a specific client group: women. There are ten guidelines outlined which refer to the ethical considerations to be given women clientele. These guidelines acknowledge the changing role of women in Canadian society during this time. They address the shift occurring in the role of motherhood, in marriage, and in the workplace, and they provide a standard for the following years.
The zeitgeist of the times is reflected in the terminology and ethical consideration of these guidelines. They recognize that women were increasingly becoming lone-parents, that women were more involved in the workforce, and that there was an increase in gender equality at this time. The first set of guidelines acknowledge that a woman may have problems that are created or solved outside of marriage and motherhood. The therapist / counsellor is urged to help her/his female clients explore optional lifestyles in addition to those that are culturally defined, acknowledge the existence of a social bias against women, and avoid usage of negative stereotypes about women. Subsequent guidelines acknowledge that women may experience psychological problems that are not related to reproductive / biological functioning, they urge the clinician to avoid the use of sexist language or jokes, and they state that physical abuse and sexual violence are crimes not to be tolerated. The last few guidelines reflect the role of a woman as autonomous from a man and expect that equality will be shown to women by their therapist / counsellor. These guidelines clearly reflect zeitgeist of the time period.
The book Single Father's Handbook was reviewed by Canadian Psychology in 1980. This handbook is a guide for separated and divorced fathers and provides practical solutions for common problems encountered by fathers who don't have custody of their children. The book calls for fathers to become liberated from previous narrow roles as husband and provider to a new status of parent and 'houseperson.'
The above book review reflects the zeitgeist of its time in a number of ways. The title and focus of the book, Single Father's Handbook, reflects the increasing divorce rates of the time period as well as the rise in lone-parent families. In addition, the handbook assumes that most or all single fathers do not have custody of their children, another sign of the times. The author's push for new roles for fathers as parent and 'houseperson' reflects changing gender roles within the family and is clearly influenced by the trend toward more gender equality in marriage, including shared family responsibilities. The language throughout the book review is in keeping with the social and political concern with feminism and women's issues prevalent at the time; terms such as parenting and 'houseperson' were used rather than mother and housewife. The lack of fathers with sole or even shared custody of children was left unquestioned by the author, and this omission clearly follows from the zeitgeist of the period. That is, it was generally accepted at that time that mothers would get custody of children if a married couple separated or divorced; consequently, the author was not inclined to question that norm. In general, Single Father's Handbook was very timely, and it reflected the zeitgeist in a number of ways.
In conclusion, the zeitgeist of 1976 - 1980 was one of increasing divorce and lone-parenting, concern for feminist issues, rising numbers of women in the workforce, and increasing gender equality in marriage. This social climate is clearly reflected in the research on the family in those years.
Burke, R.J. (1980). Single father's handbook. (book review). Canadian Psychology
Paquin, M.J. (1977). The status of family and marital therapy outcomes: Methodological and substantive considerations. Canadian Psychological Review
Pettifor, J. & Cammaert, L. (1980). Guidelines for therapy and counselling with women. Canadian Psychology.
Statistics Canada. (1985). Women in Canada: A Statistical Report. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services.
Statistics Canada. (1983). Divorce: Law and the Family in Canada. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services.
Statistics Canada. (1992). Lone Parent Families in Canada: Target groups project. Ottawa: Minister of Supply and Services.
Wright, J. & Fichter, C. (1976). Denial of responsibility, videotape feedback and attrition theory: Relevance for behavioral marital therapy. Canadian Psychological Review
The time period of 1981 to 1985 was characterized by an increased focus on family issues in society due to a variety of factors. Changing gender roles brought about by the rise of feminism caused fundamental changes in the status of the family, including an increase in the number of working mothers and an increased demand for day-care spaces. Divorce rates continued to rise throughout this period, and greater attention was focused on domestic violence in the home. Legal issues such as abortion affected changes in social policy law. Mass media, especially television, brought sex and violence into the home to be easily accessed by children. Sexually transmitted diseases not only affected adults, but children in the schools. Finally, the issue of homosexuality resulted in the stretching of the traditional family structure and demands for changes in laws to recognize gay families.
As a result of these societal Zeitgeist factors, research in psychology reflected the concerns of the early 1980s. An abundance of research examined the changing gender roles in society as a whole, especially in the work-force and the corresponding effects on the family unit. The age-old controversy over biological or environmental causes for sex differences was debated once again. Not only did the research simply identify the family and gender issues, but some research offered suggestions for improving the state of society by dealing with family problems through intervention strategies and general policy reform.
Society's zeitgeist and research literature of this era are by no means mutually exclusive. Any changes in society or focus on particular issues is inevitably reflected in an increased amount of research on those issues. Throughout the period from 1981 to 1985, the preceding examples of family and gender research literature were explicitly influenced by societal concerns.
From examining articles in Time Magazine and Maclean's Magazine, the zeitgeist trends regarding family roles of the years 1981 to 1985 became clear. First, a major characteristic of this time period was the increase of the number of women in the work-force. In fact, the number of working moms increased to the point where the number of working moms exceeded the number of moms at home. Various results from this increase included more mothers being forced to juggle work and family, and an increase in the number of "latch-key kids". Another phenomenon changing the face of the family in the early 1980s was the increase in the divorce rate. This was party due to the liberalization of Canada's divorce laws in 1969, and the results of this change in laws continued through the 1980s.
Changing gender roles played a role in defining women's family roles and obligations. 1981 to 1985 saw a rise in feminism and feminist issues. There was an obvious rise in the number of feminist books and authors. In the United States, the failure of the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution provoked outrage among many American women. The wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana gained international attention in 1981. Of interest here was that Diana was the first woman to be seen on the cover of Maclean's Magazine during this year. Much to the feminists' dismay the caption read "Di - the perfect choice - a girl with a history of no past". Furthermore, throughout this period the emphasis on female beauty was seen as society's ideal for women. Many of these trends provided ammunition for the feminist movement: as never before, women began to demand equality with men.
Further legal issues which affected the changing face of the family included the abortion issue, and various concerns regarding domestic violence. In 1984 Henry Morgentaler was acquitted on charges of conspiracy to procure abortion, resulting in a demand to review Canada's existing abortion laws. Domestic violence began to receive more and more attention throughout this time period, including the aspects of rape and child and spousal abuse. In all cases of domestic violence, the results on the family are clear: a family cannot continue to function effectively under abuse or threats of violence. The abortion issue raised questions whether laws should be changed; with regard to domestic violence, much of society would agree that laws should become stricter.
Television gained attention throughout this period as a cultural medium capable of influencing the values and beliefs of society. Television's role as a purveyor of societal values mostly focused on negative aspects, including sex and violence. Increasingly, children were able to gain easy access to programming containing sexual innuendo, gratuitous violence, and coarse language. Various interest groups began to demand television censorship.
The final major trend of the period from 1981 to 1985 was the rise of sexually transmitted diseases and homosexuality. The outbreak of AIDS focused attention on STDs as never before, and caused great societal concern and fear. As one example, in 1985 Time Magazine reported on the problem children with AIDS were causing America's schools. Along with the issue of AIDS, the rise of homosexuality inevitably received much attention as well. Specifically with regard to the family, gay families began to demand more legal rights, including the right to adopt children.
The majority of articles on gender and family during this period were done by women, raising questions of researcher bias and lack of objectivity in scientific studies. Several articles, especially those dealing with gender roles, identified the authors as feminists, substantiating the rise of feminism as a mass societal movement. Much of the research not only empirically examined or reviewed books on family and gender-role problems, but offered suggestions for eliminating these problems. The major research completed during 1981 to 1985 falls into the following categories.
First, with regard to gender roles, one article identified a healthy women's distinguishing characteristics compared to those of a man as: more submissive, less independent, greater emotionality and more time spent feeling hurt, and greater conceit about their appearance. The typical "male" qualities were seen as ideal. Alternatively, other research tackled the issue of androgyny, suggesting that women were equal to men and that where inferiority was observed this was due to ideological influences or the effect of differential socialization for boys and girls. Despite these claims, another major research article concluded that sex and gender cannot be empirically evaluated due to researcher bias.
Two book reviews on gender roles examined women's roles in the work-force as well as women's socialization into society as a whole. With regard to work opportunities based on sex differences, women not only have fewer avenues for success, but contribute to the maintenance of their subordinate positions. But these differences are due to differential power bases as opposed to inherent traits. This issue of power applies to women's roles in many areas, including sexuality, the family, organizations and groups.
The second review on sex, gender, and sex-role differences analyzes the perspective of the culture in which gender-based behaviour occurs, as well as the social and cultural context of the research itself. The socialization of gender roles includes the influences of television and children's books, and the author concludes that sex differences in sexuality, the family, employment, psychopathology and cognitive abilities and achievement are evident in the research of the early 1980s.
Research also evaluated social policy and laws concerning children. As policies of the early 1980s existed, the decision makers' personal values were prominent, at the expense of factual knowledge, causes, and effects of the policies. In other words, policy makers failed to include empirical evidence of the functioning of the family in the policy creation process. Basically, it was suggested that family structures are changing and society has little knowledge of the impact on children. Family policy research should be viewed critically, not only at face value. Finally, this type of research is important because this research explicitly serves the interest of society, not only the researchers.
Finally, an entire article was devoted to society's desperate need for better and a greater number of day-care and day treatment facilities. A day care facility is simply a place for children to stay under supervised care while their parents are working. The purpose of a day treatment program is to use the strengths and resources known and available in the family and local community in order to enhance the functioning of family members. In other words, the day treatment program attempts to deal with the negative influence of family disintegration by using clinical techniques to help children from dysfunctional families.
The Zeitgeist of society profoundly influenced psychological research of 1981 to 1985, especially in the area of gender roles and sex differences. Changing gender roles resulting from the feminist movement greatly contributed to the change in North America's family values.
First, the research suggested that male qualities were seen as the ideal qualities to possess, while traditionally stereotyped female qualities such as submission, lack of independence and emotionality were less desirable. Much of the research focus on these specific qualities and general sex differences arose from the increased attention of women on equality and equal rights. Feminists of this era argued that sex differences were environmental, not biological in origin, and used the model of androgyny to substantiate this claim. Furthermore, this quest for equality led to research focusing on how ideology in gender roles influences the interpretation of research results. In other words, researcher bias due to gender differences gained prominence as the feminist movement increased in strength. Throughout this period, feminists questioned many of society's traditional gender roles and orientations - the research literature was not exempt from the feminists' critique.
In the early 1980s, females were generally paid less money for completing the same or similar jobs as those of men. For example, in administrative positions men were paid almost twice as much as females. Furthermore, it was generally accepted that women did not receive the same work opportunities as men. The obvious question to be asked regarding this issue is why this apparent double standard should exist. The research of this era also attempted to answer this question. It was suggested that differential power bases, rather than stable inherited traits, explain differential opportunities for men and women. Another suggestion was that women and men are now educating themselves for non-traditional occupations, which would inevitably result in differentiated jobs for men and women. Again, it is interesting to note that the previous conclusions were reached by women researchers. On the topic of gender roles and sex differences, men seemed to have very little to say.
The changes in divorce laws and the increasing number of divorces led to obvious changes in family structures. For example, the number of occurrences of one parent families increased greatly throughout the early 1980s. This phenomenon serves as an good argument against the lack of empirical social policy research in Canada. The change in divorce laws in 1969 could not have been based on factual knowledge regarding the effects of divorce on the family, because the occurrence of divorce in 1969 was much less than it was in the early 1980s. The 1969 divorce policy is the type of social policy that is explicitly attacked within this particular examination of social policy research. Not only was it suggested that lack of empiricism in policy-making is counter-productive to society as a whole, but more specifically, could result in further degeneration of the family.
Social culture during this era was gaining a mass media orientation, especially toward television and books. Specifically as it relates to the family, sex and violence were reinforced in television at the expense of family values. Although much research on the influence of television sex and violence on children has been conducted, much of this research has been inconclusive. If nothing else, society's orientation to television and media during this era increased the focus of the research to include the effects of such media on children. In the past, children were not exposed to sex and violence to this degree, and therefore researchers would not have been concerned about negative consequences.
Finally, the general increase in the number of women leaving home to work led to a marked need for daycare spaces for children. This issue is not entirely dissimilar to the problem of dysfunctional families: both situations require increased facilities for dealing with effects on children of an absent or abusive caregiver. As mentioned previously, research specifically targeted the issue of daycare and day treatment programs, and indicated that the need for these two institutions was great. Furthermore, the need for competent caregivers, able to support and encourage children, was paramount. As the number of women in the work-force and the number of dysfunctional families increased, so did the research examining how to effectively deal with these issues.
It has become evident through this examination of societal family and gender issues, that a substantial amount of research was conducted during the years 1981 to 1985 regarding these and other issues. As is the case in every time period throughout history, society's Zeitgeist profoundly affected the research during this era.
This paper will focus on the zeitgeist during 1986-1990. Information is extracted through articles, book reviews, and Maclean's magazines. Relevant topics pertaining to family issue and gender roles will be discussed. Furthermore, it will emphasize how the zeitgeist either influences or bias the research studies or book reviews.
The events succeeding 1986 up to and including 1990 demonstrate a radically changing world. In 1986, it is found that the unemployment rate had doubled. There was a growing concern with daycare because so many mothers were working. AIDS awareness increased with the death of movie star Rock Hudson, and coincidentally, it was found that most Canadians prefer monogamous relationships. A study showed that the number of homeless is increasing and that the homeless population is made up mostly of families, women, and young people as compared to before. There was a 50% increase in reported child sexual abuse and there was a new legislation which cracks down on abusers.
In 1987, there was an increased awareness of child care and social change. There was a growing epidemic of fear on AIDS. The issue of immigration sparked debates on how the country should treat people seeking a new home. Finally, the issue of Canada's national deficit sparked tremendous controversy over the governments spending.
In 1988, Free Trade dominated Canada's agendas. There were growing environmental concerns for the planet's stability. Fragile financial markets hindered Canada's economic growth. The rise of computers (PC) and cellular phones foreshadowed how technology is affecting our lives.
Furthermore, in 1989, we saw overlapping issues of the past year. For instance, it was the passing of Free Trade. Abortion issues took front page, as the developing debate between pro- choice and religious factions. In the international scene, the world saw one of the greatest symbols of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, come crashing down.
Finally, 1990 saw the continuing awareness and fear of AIDS. Violent sex crimes against women were on the rise and received recognition and publicity. The exodus of East German immigrants to West Germany saw a world economic strain in financial institutions. In other words, the declining value of the mark had a strong repercussion in global financial stability.
The zeitgeist within the years of 1986-1990 show continuing trends away from the nuclear family and towards the prominence of women in the field of psychology and society. During the five year span, there were various factors that contribute to the break up of the nuclear family.
As such, a continuing trend towards the acceptance of feminist values ensues throughout society. However, the science of psychology was lagging far behind in its efforts to keep up with this trend. Previously established theories have been constructed during different social mileus. Psychology has previously shown little effort to catch up to the changing society. This issue is slowly being recognized as shown in an article by Janet Stoppard. This article shows a lack of well- developed cognitive/behavioural theories dealing with feminist issues. Stoppard's article depicts a gradual trend in the representation of females in psychology and society. There has been a moderate increase of female presence in psychology, but lagging far behind are the theories of a psychology that had been dominated by males. This article shows that the earlier theories created by men failed to appreciate the need for understanding the female gender.
During these years, numerous journal articles written show that there seems to be an increasing trend away from the traditional nuclear family and towards the single parent environment. A follow-up article on parents in custody disputes shows significant statistics of rising divorce and single parent families. In another article, the dilemmas of child care contrast the differences between Canada and the United States. The Canadian population is increasingly aging, producing fewer children, and creating a need for more family financial support. Furthermore that Canadians emphasize more federal funding towards child care than the people in the United States.
The late 1980s has seen a large increase in the investigation of pornography. Studies show that pornography plays an increasing role in the probability of subsequent anti- social behavior, especially those concerning violence against women. In the Meese Commission, Donalstein and Malamouth gathered evidence suggesting that a strong correlation exists between violent acts against women and explicit demoralizing sexual acts portrayed in pornography.
At this time, many self-help books were being written to deal with various family issues such as marital conflict and parent-child relationships. It appeared that psychology was aiming to empower the public with psychological know-how so that family problems could be solved by the individuals, free from a third person, (i.e.: therapist). This demonstrates that the public put a great deal of faith in psychology to solve their everyday problems as shown by consumer interest.
The zeitgeist during 1986-1990 has influenced research studies and book reviews that have been mentioned. The declining economy during the late 1980s increased the need for more women to enter the work force. Due to the increased employment of women, there has been a direct strain in family relations. In addition to rising female employment, there has been a growing interest in women issues. One of the hidden biases has been that men are traditionally head of the family and much of the research was biased towards male-dominated family structures. As the proportion of women in the work force increases, more women have achieved leadership roles in the family structure. Studies reveal that this can create confusions of power between women and men. The articles examined reveal that although more feminist research is being conducted, there is still a need for more. Up until recently, it was stated that there were negative consequences for children when both parents worked. However, research does not support this assumption and shows that children can be well-adjusted when both parents are working.
In conclusion, the spirit of the time has had a great impact on psychological theory and research regarding family and gender issues. There has been a growing body of research pertaining to family structure and gender due to such factors as violence against women and increases in female employment. Finally, it seems that there is a need for more research on the psychology of women.
Canada experienced some major changes between the years of 1990 and 1995. The economy became a major concern. Gone were the days of the frivolous spending habits of the throw away society of the 80s. The governments came under increasing pressure to balance their budgets. In this effort, the governments, both federally and provincially, directly affected the economic and sociocultural dimensions of Canadian society. The early recession coupled with government spending cuts caused distress in social programs such as welfare, unemployment insurance, multicultural funding and various others. The family was also directly influenced by the spending cuts since primary care-givers found it increasingly difficult to make ends meet. Politically, Canada was in a state of turmoil during this period. In Quebec, the overlooming question of separation raged on. In British Columbia, a new party with a right wing ideology exploded onto the scene, claiming many voters disillusioned by the existing status quo. Other than those observations, this period lacked major themes or forces that prevailed throughout. In fact, social concern was fragmented amongst various issues, however, if one issue did qualify as a theme for this period, it would have to be economics.
The weak economy, as well as the government spending cuts effected a multitude of dimensions. For psychology, a reduction in funding meant cutbacks in research, which in turn led to an increase in competition between research groups for limited resources. Research groups that were not able to find funds had to abandon their projects. This trend is directly reflected in the Canadian Journal of Psychologywere research on family life has greatly diminished since the 1980s. Research was to take a back seat to the more important issues facing Canadian society, namely, economics and politics.
Canada was filled with political upheaval between the years of 1990 and 1995. Political issues effected every Canadian in these years. The Bloc Quebecois, threatening to separate Quebec from the rest of Canada, placed doubt in every Canadian's mind about the future of Canada. Environmental issues prevailed and crime among Canada's youth led to cries for changes to the Young Offenders Act. Abortion and euthanasia were issues that created heart-felt debate among politicians. Mulroney introduced the G.S.T. and the Meech Lake Accord. More women were found in government. For example, Kim Campbell became the first woman prime minister and Rita Johnston became the first woman premier. Aboriginal groups fought for their land and Canadian troops were ready to go to war with the U.N. against Iraq in the Persian Gulf crisis. The Reform Party led by Preston Manning and in British Columbia a new party with a right wing ideology burst onto the scene.
The economic field during the period from 1990 to 1995 was preoccupied with free-trade and the recession. Concerns over these economic conditions appeared to preoccupy the concerns of the public and the mass media. Newspapers, television news broadcasts sensationalized the prevailing economic conditions. An important concern was the free-trade movement between U.S. and Canada that began in 1989. Its implications had great effects on the economy. The free-trade agreement hurt the Canadian economy. Dairy farmers argued that their livelihood would be threatened if Canada agrees to free trade in agriculture. Fear over the free- trade was not uncommon. A large amount of media coverage was devoted to the free-trade issue. Furthermore, this period was marked by rising interest rates. For example, at Bank of Canada, interest rates increased to 13.8% from 12.14%. The recession effected all spheres of the economy. Government spending cuts were prevalent. In addition, the Goods and Services Tax was proposed in 1990 and was set in regulation January, 1991. As well, unemployment was on the rise, there were more people unemployed and jobless. Also, government cut backs effected the situation on single mothers. It is obvious that the economic scene in Canada was not a pretty picture. It was marked by the Free-trade agreement, recession, increased interest rates, the Goods and Services Tax, and high unemployment rates.
Due to the economic recession and government spending cuts, the big emphasis on the family got pushed into the shadows. Mothers/women in the workforce were discouraged from working out of the home, but rather encouraged to say at home in the traditional female role. Many argued that children's development and education would be severely effected by the involvement and amount of time spent with the nurturing adult. In the past five years there has been an increase in the rates of spousal abuse and murders due to the increased tension in the home. One reason for the increase in divorce rates could be attributed to the tension in the home.
The tension in the marriage and the economic depression has lead more couples to limit their family size. In order to accomplish this goal, the Morning After Pill was introduced, as well as a National Awareness Program promoting contraceptives and birth control pills.
In the last five years, many changes have resulted regarding abortion. There has slowly been an increase, resulting in the government enforcing stricter laws, defining who is eligible to have a legal abortion. The government has clearly stated that women must be physically and/or psychologically in danger if the pregnancy were to be carried to full term. Overall, society seems to have moved in a general trend towards free choice, which appears to be a fair choice for all people involved.
Unfortunately, there has also been an increase in what is known as "portable ultrasounds". This term basically identifies the controversial actions that some doctors have been practising. Some women have been pre-determining the sex of their child. If it was found to be a girl, some were choosing to abort the fetus. To stop this ethically questionable practice of pre-determined sex tests, the Canadian government has made it illegal. But, for some women this is not a deterrent. They instead turn to the States, where the practice has not been condemned.
With the increase of violence against women, the issue of feminism in the 90s is examined throughout the Journal. More women were being murdered at the hands of violent men, as such traditional, stereotypical myths re-entered the atmosphere. Women were having to fight against the oppression that they thought had already been broken down.
The social climate between the years of 1990 and 1995 were filled with issues of awareness, as there was a rise in media attention due to exposure of several prominent public figures. The onslaught of AIDS and both the remarkable number of deaths and predicted future deaths reached new heights. Suddenly, people began to question what was going on around them. This was also influenced by the barrage of reports on both the physical environment and local environment. Multiculturalism became the hot topic of debate and its examination will continue to lead us into the 21st century as Canadians question their identities. Such topics as these are increasingly being expressed in the Journal.
The family began to experience a breakdown in traditional values. The common roles held by women as being that of the care- giver and wife were being dismantled. Divorce rates skyrocketed, as one in every two marriages would result in it. Such issues as spousal abuse came to the forefront of the media, research was examining the topic of the battered woman syndrome in the court and battling to overcome violence against women.
As well, there was an increase in teen-age pregnancy and suicide. Young adults were being exposed to the hard-core issues of sex and drugs at earlier ages. They did not have the appropriate coping skills and felt alone in their battle to overcome peer pressures.
Only nine articles were found between the years of 1990 and 1995 in Canadian Psychology. The lack of research related to family relations and gender issues is reflective of the zeitgeist of the time. As was apparent, only a few articles were devoted to family and gender issues. According to Kurt Danziger (1990), the social-political-economic climate dictates what research is important and where funding should go. Because the period from 1990 to 1995 was marked by a preoccupation with the economic and political situation, little attention was focused on family relations. The zeitgeist was more focused on the political issues and economic recession. Governmental cutbacks limited the type and quantity of research. In other words, there was a backlash on family and gender relations. This backlash is reflected in the research produced.
In view of a changing world contending with rapid growth in technology and globalism, family issues have left center stage. Headlines that once addressed family issues such as abortion, day- care, and schooling have been largely replaced by political and economic concerns.
Family research articles found in Canadian Psychology were poorly represented. Articles discussed applied research and theoretical reviews. The families depletion of media representation should not however delude us from reality. Increased abortion, introduction of the "morning after pill", decreased government funding for medical care and schooling, and increasing family violence are leading a trend toward smaller families and less support. The dialectic between political and social issues is becoming increasingly imbalanced which inevitably must be rectified as each is ultimately contingent on the other.