How Families Affect Illness

Research on the Family’s Impact on Health
  • Susan H. McDaniel
  • Thomas L. Campbell
  • David B. Seaburn


A basic premise of the biopsychosocial model is that various subsystems (biological, individual, family, community, etc.) impact each other in ways that affect both health and illness. Clinical experience supports the premise that families influence and are influenced by the health of their members and that family-oriented primary care can lead to better care and improved health for both the individual and the family as a whole. However, assumptions and experiences that point toward a new approach to medical care should be scientifically validated through empirical research. This chapter will examine some important lines of research on the family’s impact on health. While much of the family and health research suffers from conceptual and methodological problems (1), there is now a body of well-designed studies and randomized controlled trials (see Table 2.1) which demonstrate that the family has a powerful influence on health. The clinical implications of this research are presented in the Protocol section of the chapter. This research lends support to the contention of family-oriented medical care that a partnership among physician, patient, and family may provide the most effective and efficient form of health care.


Social Support Anorexia Nervosa Family Stress Marital Quality Diabetic Child 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan H. McDaniel
    • 1
  • Thomas L. Campbell
    • 1
  • David B. Seaburn
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Medicine and Highland Hospital, Jacob B. Holler Family Medicine CenterUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA

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