Chaos, Culture, and Covariance Structures: A Dynamic Systems View of Children's Experiences at Home

Robert H. Bradley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


This Special Issue contains several efforts aimed at constructing efficient, yet valid measures of the home environment that can be used for a wide variety of families. This commentary reflects on those efforts with a view that devolves from the nature of what is being measured and a view of children as members of diverse and dynamic family systems. Attention is given to the critical distinction between "cause" and "effect" indicators and its implications for constructing and evaluating measures of the home environment. Attention is also given to the importance of establishing functional relations between indicators used in home environment measures and measures of child well-being. In addition, there is a focus on the importance of having sufficient indicators of environmental constructs so that there is adequate coverage of the diverse ways that different cultures might accomplish the same goals for children. Particular attention is given to the challenge of selecting and organizing indicators of key environmental constructs for dynamic systems, with specific focus on the implications of several systems principles for environmental measurement. Finally, recommendations are made regarding how to accommodate the competing needs of feasibility and validity when devising a strategy to measure environments in large-scale studies: the strategy of "targeted complement.".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-257
Number of pages15
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - May 1 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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