Integrating Perspectives on Child Health
Penn State’s 19th Annual Symposium on Family Issues incorporated diverse disciplinary perspectives on families and child health to advance understanding of how family processes contribute to health and health inequalities during childhood. This chapter critically examines the symposium’s contribution to understanding family influences on child health via social structural, psychosocial, and physiological pathways and their interactions. Advantages and disadvantages of potential health improvement strategies ranging from broadscale policies to interventions targeting at-risk groups are discussed. Incorporating multiple strategies via a portfolio approach is one means of addressing a wide range of long- and short-term goals relevant to multiple health domains. Directions for future research are considered. Priorities should include more precise conceptualization and measurement of child health and risk factors in large-scale studies along with development and testing of middle-range theories to unravel the complex processes connecting families and child health outcomes. Focusing on these priorities and fostering interdisciplinary collaborations are critical steps for generating the evidence that can be used by policy creators and other key decision makers.
KeywordsChild Health Health Inequality Mental Health Outcome Family Process Child Health Outcome
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