Today I'm going to introduce you to a number of dimensions of family function and some of the ways psychologists measure them.  Let's revisit household chaos for a moment.  Home chaos is a broad term that includes obvious problems like clutter, dirt, and disorganization.  But it also can include less obvious things like people traffic, and frequent changes in who lives in the home, mom's boyfriends, or dad's girlfriends, etc...  It can even mean frequent job changes or losses.  Financial problems alone can cause lots of chaos.  So, it's not a simple term, and can have different definitions depending on the family...but though it has different forms, its effects look pretty much the same.     

Chaos stresses adults who then are more likely to respond harshly to children. Children who are parented harshly, and live in chaotic environments have higher levels of behavior problems, including opposition, aggression, and delinquency.  Even more shocking was some research done in 2000 found that even in cases of serious abuse, children in organized, predictable, though abusive homes faired better.  These researchers advised professionals to "focus on family structure and organization...because the effects of a disorganized family may be as detrimental to these children as are the specific forms of maltreatment they suffer."  Need I say more?



Well, maybe I better.  Despite the fact that this is a big problem, there's a lot we still don't know about home chaos.  My research added some important information to our knowledge base...to learn more, click to the Hypotheses page.