Differentiation of Self and Family Functioning and their Relationship with Social Anxiety and Depression in College Students

Jehad Mahmoud Alaedein


This study aims to examine Differentiation of Self (DOS) and Family Functioning and its relationships to anxiety and depression among 305 Jordanian college students. Findings showed that differentiation of self inventory (DSI) composites demonstrate different influences, with I-Position (IP) and Emotional Reactivity (ER) were predictive of both family cohesion and adaptability. Also, it was found that while differentiation of self (DSI) was the strongest predictor of social anxiety (22.0%) more strongly than cohesion does (4.8%), cohesion was the best predictor of depression (36.4%) more strongly than (DOS) does (2.2%). Furthermore, male compared with female students reported higher levels on (DSI) and its subscales significantly. Partially, these findings validate Bowen family system theory' tenets regarding differentiation of self, and suggest the differentiating importance of family functioning and differentiation of self in determining offsprings' well-being. Implications of the results for counselors and future researchers are provided


Bowen Family Systems Theory (BFST); Differentiation of Self; family functioning; family cohesion; family adaptability; social anxiety; depression; well-being; college students; public Jordanian university.


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