Family Assessment: Health Strengths and Weaknesses
The Interview Questionnaire
D.B. – the 46-year-old father
A.B. – the 43-year-old mother
M.B. – the 17-year-old son
J.M.B. – the 13-year-old daughter
How can you describe your house?
D.B.: We live in our own stand-alone two-storied house. There are sustainable and energy-efficient cooling and heating systems that allow us to individually control the temperature in every room. We also have indoor plumbing and all the necessary cooking facilities.
Does anyone in your family smoke or consume alcohol?
A.B.: I quit smoking seven years ago, but my husband still has several cigarettes per day. We also suspect our son of smoking, but we cannot blame him since he sees us as role models. As for drinking alcohol, my husband and I usually have a glass of red wine at dinner.
How do you assess your family health status?
A.B.: I believe that our family is rather healthy, and we have great relationships. Of course, sometimes we have arguments with M.B., but I know that this is normal, and we are working on improving our understanding of our son’s behavior. Our daughter has down syndrome, so it may be challenging in some situations, but our love is stronger than the circumstances.
Who is the head of your family?
M.B.: Our dad. He usually has the final say, but I do not think that he somehow suppresses mom’s opinion. They both discuss and share their views, but my mother is not a decision-maker, so she prefers to allow our father to make choices.
How are roles assigned in your family?
D.B.: I love cooking, and J.M.B. enjoys singing while washing the dishes. M.B. only eats and plays computer games. My wife helps J.M.B. with bathing and homework because her down syndrome makes it harder for her to do it herself.
Do you have any problems at work or school?
A.B.: My husband and I have no issues at our workplaces, but both of our children have poor academic performance.
How can you describe your family relationships?
D.B.: I think we all have great and healthy relationships and no problems.
What are your family’s health-related behaviors?
M.B.: I play basketball.
D.B.: Yes, he does. However, he has an inconsistent sleep schedule and eats fast food. Our daughter has a healthy diet and exercise at school, I do not have time for sports because of work, and my wife has asthma and avoids sport. We try to sleep at least six hours but rarely succeed.
Please tell about your jobs.
A.B.: Both of us work and have decent salaries. I am an accountant, and my husband is a lawyer.
Do you use home remedies or other complementary health methods?
A.B.: No, I think it is always better to consult a specialist instead of using home remedies.
The Family’s Eco-Map
This is a middle-class family with two parents and two children, a seventeen-year-old boy and a thirteen-year-old girl. Their mother and father are forty-three and forty-six, respectively, and all family members are white Christians. They live in a safe environment; their neighborhood is one of the friendliest and securest in the city, so the parents do not worry about their son and daughter getting in danger. At first, the interview results may indicate that the overall environment is rather positive and healthy, and no severe problems appear to be in the family. It is promising that none of its members has reported psychological or physical violence. On the contrary, the parents seem to in a harmonious and loving relationship, and they do their best to raise their children properly.
Nevertheless, when assessing and analyzing the family members’ health behaviors, it becomes evident that all of them need improvements. Health behaviors are those particular actions taken by persons that may either benefit or harm their condition (Conner & Norman, 2017). Parents and children in this family tend to have a poor lifestyle and reduce their health resources. First, smoking is a serious problem, and it affects both the father and the son, who is still a minor. What is more, the mother also used to smoke before developing asthma seven years ago. Therefore, the boy had two role models smoking his entire life, and there was little chance of him not getting this adverse habit. The fact that neither D.B. nor A.B. tries to prevent their son from continuing smoking contributes to the issue.
Further, this family has a flawed idea of healthy dieting and the necessity of weekly sports activities. M.B. sometimes plays basketball but eats a lot of fast food, so his attempts to do sports are not very beneficial. He also has a poor sleep schedule and often plays computer games at night. His sister sticks to a balanced meal plan, though it is possible to suggest that the parents control it because of her down syndrome. J.M.B. also plays a sport at school since she is encouraged by her teachers and friends. Thus, she is the only family member with relatively healthy habits.
As for the parents, they actually prove to be negative role models for their kids in terms of a healthy lifestyle. First of all, neither father nor mother exercises at home or goes to the gym. Their excuses are having too much work and asthma, respectively, even though it is always possible to find two free hours a week to do sports, and some exercises are beneficial for asthmatic people. Further, just like their son, they have an inconsistent sleep schedule and do not get enough rest.
At the same time, the current medical health of the family is relatively stable. Neither of its members has any new problems with health, A.B.’s asthma is not worsening, and they rarely catch a cold, which is a good sign. As for their relationships, they require specific improvements, especially between M.B. and his parents. Overall, the atmosphere in the family is neutral, and if all members accept the changes and developments in their behaviors, the environment in their house will become much better and more positive.
Several functional health pattern strengths of the family were noted during the interview. To begin with, the roles in the family are divided rather successfully. It is remarkable that all members are satisfied with their household chores, and neither of them is made to do something they do not want. Moreover, the fact that precisely the father is the family cook shows that they are free of biases and wrong perceptions of gender roles. Another advantage is that they may switch the roles if one of them is too tired to wash the dishes or bathe the daughter. This is the sign of a healthy spousal relationship. Further, it is also great that, though the parents are concerned with their son’s behavior, they still provide him with freedom of choice and try to earn his trust by supporting him and not demanding his participation in the household chores.
As for the health problem areas, they are nutritional-metabolic, sleep and rest, and activity and exercise. If the parents do not begin to pay extra attention to these three areas, more severe issues are likely to appear within the family. They need to talk to their son and explain the necessity of exercising and following a sleep schedule and healthy diet plan. If the whole family starts doing that together, there will be faster results.
Conner, M., & Norman, P. (2017). Health behavior: Current issues and challenges. Psychology & Health, 32(8), 895-906.