Families and Health: A Review

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This review of research on the role of family relations in shaping individuals’ health (and vice versa) conceptualizes health as a multidimensional outcome with objective and subjective components. The family-health nexus is considered from the adult’s perspective (focusing on partnership and parenthood) as well as from the child’s perspective (focusing on the consequences of parental separation and divorce). We also review findings from research addressing the association of childhood circumstances and intergenerational relations with health. While our primary interest is on universal relationships between individuals’ family circumstances and different health outcomes, we particularly seek to include current European evidence. The evidence reviewed here suggests that family matters greatly—and in various ways—for individuals’ health across the entire life-course: from early childhood, through adulthood, to very old-age. We conclude with a brief outlook on directions for future research.




Hank, K., & Steinbach, A. (2018). Families and Health: A Review. In A Demographic Perspective on Gender, Family and Health in Europe (pp. 23–39). Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-72356-3_3

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