Family life is organized by rules, and most of them are unspokenly agreed-upon by family members and may be even out of awareness. Implicit family process and couple rules may facilitate or constrain family relationship and intimate couple relationship growth. Prevalence of family rules may be different across cultures. Family members may perceive their rules and family functioning differently according to their family position and gender. Married couples may view their relationship rules differently than couples who cohabit. This study utilized the Family Implicit Rules Profile (FIRP) and the Couples Implicit Rules Profile (CIRP) Questionnaires to answer these research questions. The questionnaires were translated into Hungarian, and the content validity of the Hungarian translation was established. Hungarian non-clinical families and couples were compared to American (U.S.) non-clinical families and couples to examine how prevalent implicit rules were in the two cultures. According to the findings, Hungarian families and couples scored lower on the total FIRP and CIRP scores. Hungarian families perceived implicit family rules regarding kindness and monitoring less prevalent, and rules regarding constraining their thoughts, feelings and self more prevalent than American families. No differences were found in expressiveness and connection and inappropriate caretaking of parents between the two cultures. Hungarian couples perceived their implicit relationship rules regarding kindness, expressiveness and connection and monitoring less prevalent than American couples. No differences in implicit rules about constraining thoughts, feelings and self and inappropriate caretaking of partner were found between the two cultures. Mothers in both cultures viewed their families in a more positive light than other family members, and female family members (mothers and daughters) were more positive than their male counterparts (fathers and sons) about rules in their families in both cultures. Sons in both cultures perceived more responsibility to protect their parents emotionally than did daughters. Married couples in both cultures perceived their relationship rules more favorably in terms of kindness and monitoring than cohabiting couples. Results were interpreted in the context of cultural differences between the American and the Hungarian cultures. Limitations and the possibility of future research are discussed.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Family Life; Marriage and Family Therapy



Date Submitted


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rule, implicit, unspoken, family, couple, Hungary, American, gender, parent, father, mother, son, daughter, cohabiting, married, marital status, questionnaire, Family Implicit Rules Profile, Couples Implicit Rules Profile, FIRP, CIRP, kindness, expression, connection, constraining, caretaking, monitoring, culture, relationship, back-translation