Family, Social, Cultural, and Religious Influences on Child Health Promotion

Family, Social, Cultural, and Religious Influences on Child Health Promotion

  • Family Systems Theory
    • A change in any part of a family system affects all other parts of the family
  • Family Stress Theory
    • Stress is an inevitable part of family life and any event can be stressful on the family
  • Developmental Theory 
    • Families develop and change over time in similar and consistent ways
Assumptions Strengths Limitations Applications
Family Systems Theory
  • A change in any one part of a family system affects all other parts of the family system (circular causality).
  • Family systems are characterized by periods of rapid growth and change and periods of relative stability.
  • Both too little change and too much change are dysfunctional for the family system; therefore, a balance between morphogenesis (change) and morphostasis (no change) is necessary.
  • Family systems can initiate change, as well as react to it.
  • Applicable for family in normal everyday life, as well as for family dysfunction and pathology.
  • Useful for families of varying structure and various stages of life cycle.
  • More difficult to determine cause-and-effect relationships because of circular causality.
  • Mate selection, courtship processes, family communication, boundary maintenance, power and control within family, parent-child relationships, adolescent pregnancy, and parenthood.
Family Stress Theory
  • Stress is an inevitable part of family life, and any event, even if positive, can be stressful for the family.
  • Family encounters both normative expected stressors and unexpected situational stressors over life cycle.
  • Stress has a cumulative effect on family.
  • Families cope with and respond to stressors with a wide range of responses and effectiveness.
  • Potential to explain and predict family behavior in response to stressors and to develop effective interventions to promote family adaptation.
  • Focuses on positive contribution of resources, coping, and social support to adaptive outcomes.
  • Can be used by many disciplines in health field.
  • Relationships between all variables in framework not yet adequately described. Not yet known if certain combinations of resources and coping strategies are applicable to all stressful events.
  • Transition to parenthood and other normative transitions, single-parent families, families experiencing work-related stressors (dual-earner family, unemployment), acute or chronic childhood illness or disability, infertility, death of a child, divorce, and adolescent pregnancy and parenthood.
Developmental Theory
  • Families develop and change over time in similar and consistent ways.
  • Family and its members must perform certain time-specific tasks set by themselves and by people in the broader society.
  • Family role performance at one stage of family life cycle influences family’s behavioral options at next stage.
  • Family tends to be in stage of disequilibrium when entering a new life cycle stage and strives toward homeostasis within stages.
  • Provides a dynamic, rather than static, view of family.
  • Addresses both changes within family and changes in family as a social system over its life history.
  • Anticipates potential stressors that normally accompany transitions to various stages and when problems may peak because of lack of resources.
  • Traditional model more easily applied to two-parent families with children. 
  • Use of age of oldest child and marital duration as marker of stage transition sometimes problematic (e.g., in stepfamilies, single-parent families).
  • Anticipatory guidance, educational strategies, and developing or strengthening family resources for management of transition to parenthood; family adjustment to children entering school, becoming adolescents, leaving home; management of “empty nest” years and retirement.

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