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Flourishing Through Family Connections: A Formula for Wellness

May 26, 2022

Much of our time with patients is spent on treating illness, injury, and other health problems. Have you ever considered what is needed to help a child flourish, meaning having them grow and develop with a positive wellbeing, even when faced with adversity? Whitaker et al (10.1542/peds.2021-055263) in a new study being early released this month in Pediatrics share a cross-sectional analysis of cross-sectional of the International Survey of Children’s Wellbeing, a survey completed by more than 37,000 children ages 11 to 13 years in 26 countries from 2016 to 2019.  These youths were asked to assess themselves in terms of a flourishing score based on asking them about their feelings of self-acceptance, purpose in life, positive relations with others, their personal growth, environmental mastery, and autonomy. They were also asked about their connection with family in terms of their feeling cared for, supported, safe, respected, and included with other family members.

What is most interesting is that the authors found that the stronger the reported family connections, the stronger the flourishing score.

What do these findings mean for your ability to help your patients flourish? We invited Drs. Tracy King and Rosalind King from the Eunice Kennedy Schriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to share their thoughts regarding ways to promote flourishing in an accompanying commentary (10.1542/peds.2021-056040).  Their description of ongoing research efforts to promote health and reduce harm suggests that more studies on this important topic will be forthcoming.

If you want to see your approach to care go from ‘cup is half full’ to ‘cup overflowing’ with ways to instill optimism and achieve positive health outcomes for your patients, then link to this study and commentary. By doing so, you’ll discover ways to promote better family connections and establishment of flourishing in the patients in your practice and hopefully that sense of flourishing will occur in you as well.

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