Communication Analysis Paper 1
January 31, 2012
The Circumplex Model of Family Functioning, developed by family systems theorist David Olson, can be considered the “premier model of family function.” It operates on two basic dimensions; adaptability, newly known as flexibility, and cohesion. These two dimensions are what make up a functioning family. A third dimension is communication. Communication allows “families to change their degree of adaptability and cohesion in response to the demands they face.” With this model we are able to analyze families and determine their degree of functionality. When examining the family from the movie “Easy A,” The Penderghasts, it is plain to see that the family is a functional one. They are adaptable or flexible and cohesive even when rumors are flying about their daughter and her exaggerated sexual promiscuity. The Circumplex Model will help us explore why the family from “Easy A” is a functioning one.
The Circumplex Model of Family Functioning operates on levels of flexibility and cohesion. There are different levels of each. The different levels of cohesion are disengaged, separated, connected, and enmeshed. The levels of flexibility are chaotic, flexible, structured, and rigid. “Easy A” involves a family consisting of a mother, a father, a daughter, and an adopted son. Their general family dynamic is flexibly connected. A flexible family has shared leadership, participates in role sharing, has democratic discipline, and changes when necessary. A connected family has moderate “I” and high “we,” has some loyalty, and is interdependent; although they are more dependent than interdependent. All of these characteristics are apparent in “Easy A.” They display loyalty throughout the movie. One example of the family loyalty is when the daughter, Olive, asks her parents to vouch for her that she was home the entire weekend. The father responds saying he would rather take a bullet than say...