Integrating the familial and the cultural: An approach for analysing intergenerational family relationships in social work practice

Chaya Koren, Shiran Simhi-Meidai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


When analysing (intergenerational) family relationships for social work practice, it is often unclear what relates to familial and what to cultural bodies of knowledge. Often the conclusion is that ‘they are both’, which challenges family assessment processes. We aim to address this by suggesting an integration between the familial and the cultural, through presenting their shared parameters and constructs. This results in a non-judgemental approach for social work practice analysis. Integration is illustrated using data from a stepfamily that participated in a large qualitative study on the meaning of late-life repartnering, from an intergenerational family and multicultural perspective in Israel, as a case example. The stepfamily included both partners and an adult child and grandchild of each partner. Individual interviews were conducted with each stepfamily member separately and transcribed verbatim. In late-life repartnering, two multigenerational families with potentially diverse cultural backgrounds encounter each other late in their life history and become a stepfamily. This is especially relevant in immigration societies that practice both collectivist and individualist familial norms. A multigenerational stepfamily perspective provides a rich source for examining our familial–cultural integration approach for social work practice analysis and could be applied to other family contexts. Conclusions and implications are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2152-2171
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
# The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The British Association of Social Workers. All rights reserved.


  • Analysis
  • Culture
  • Family
  • Late-life repartnering
  • Social work
  • Stepfamilies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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