What are Some Research Topics for a Family Counseling Doctoral Student?

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Updated August 4, 2020

Students who have recently finished a master's degree and are preparing for a doctoral degree should be starting the process of reviewing and selecting a research topic. While doctoral research is typically a continuation of master's work, there could be new paths available to explore at the advanced level. As you evaluate your options, here are a few research topics to further stimulate your thinking along these lines.

Related Resource: 10 Most Affordable PhD in Family Counseling Online Programs 2018

Men With Eating Disorders

The topic of men with eating disorders is a contemporary subject for investigation in the doctoral field of family counseling. In the past, a great deal of focus has been placed on eating disorders involving women. Today, it is becoming evident that vast numbers of men suffer with eating disorders, too. While women are more likely to report having issues with food, the tendency for men to be forthcoming with such issues is less prevalent. Men, in general, are more closed off about their health than women. Yet, when probed on a deeper level, men exhibit many of the same eating disorders observed in women, but they are not as open with viewing these disorders as being items to share with medical professionals. In fact, men who do not want to come off as weak or lacking masculinity will undoubtedly be unwilling to speak of eating disorders at all.

Relational Aggression in Adolescent Girls

According to verywell.com, the study of relational aggression, sometimes referred to as the mean girl phenomenon, seeks to explore the harm adolescent girls actively cause to the relationships of other adolescent girls. While this phenomenon is common among adolescent girls, it will often extend into adulthood. Understanding how this phenomenon manifests in young girls will help to explain why it carries over into other contexts like the workplace environment or other social group dynamics. If there is a tendency for girls to be destructive to the relationships of other girls their age, this type of investigation is going to reveal its importance through the identification of the motivations driving these behavioral patterns.

The Impact of Forced Immigration on the Family

While some families immigrate willingly, for purposes like better work opportunities or lifestyle improvements, other families are forced to immigrate. The reasons for this type of immigration could be as common as to escape ethnic persecution or as politically motivated as being banished by a governing body. How this impacts a family can open questions about the effects of such experiences on different genders, childhood behavior and issues involving how the elderly adjust to their new cultural surroundings.

The field of counseling, as it pertains to the family, has a rich and diverse scope of specialization that lends itself to touch upon many of the aspects of the human experience, both within and without the family structure. A good deal of what students will be engaged in researching centers around what impacts the behavior of individuals in various contexts of life and relational experience. While the above only scratches the surface of the available topics for study in this discipline, these ideas provide a starting point for the questions and curiosities that fuel great doctoral research.

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