■ Family is the most crucial social institution, tasked with primary socialization and emotional support of its members. The state of family life has been in flux, especially in terms of gender roles, longevity, and composition. Definitions of family extend beyond blood or legal relationships. Close friendships can define “family,” especially for single people. The varieties constituting family life make it very difficult to come up with a meaningful definition of family, though it remains an essential aspect of identity.