The family is an important social environment for children’s, adolescents’ and adults’ health. However, studies mostly focused on dyadic and unidirectional influences of parents on their children. Studies addressing influences arising from daily family life and including family-level influences are rare and the existing studies solely focus on the relevance for children’s health or health-related behaviors. We use a qualitative approach to explore how daily family life and its inherent health-related cues affect family members’ physical activity and eating behavior.
Semi-structured interviews utilizing an interview guide were conducted. Since we aimed to examine family life, we analyzed both parents’ and their children’s views on health-related interaction patterns and family environmental influences on individuals’ health-related behavior. Twenty-two members of seven families were interviewed. Transcripts of the interviews were systematically analyzed following Grounded Theory principles.
The interviews revealed that various individual as well as environmental factors shape health-related aspects of daily family life. ... mehrA model was developed that organizes these influencing factors on family life with regard to health-related interactions and the emergence of the Family Health Climate (FHC) – reflecting shared perceptions and cognitions regarding a healthy lifestyle within families – and its consequences. Family interactions and family time, often realized through shared family meals, are key factors for families’ health with regard to nutrition and physical activity. The FHC showed to affect various aspects related to health behavior of individual family members.
The model sheds light on underlying processes and mechanisms of family life that influences individuals’ health-related behavior. Based on a better understanding of the association between family life and individual health behavior the development of family-based interventions can be informed. Furthermore, the insights can help to guide further research focusing on families as a system.