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1 - Positive Well-Being in the Family System: Implications for Parent and Youth Development

Thu, March 21, 2:15 to 3:45pm, Baltimore Convention Center, Floor: Level 3, Room 319

Session Type: Paper Symposium

Integrative Statement

Family systems theorists have long recognized the family unit as inherently complex, operating through processes of interdependence and reciprocal influence (e.g., Cox & Paley, 1997; Minuchin, 1985). Consequently, the well-being of one family member is intricately intertwined with others in the family. Historically, developmental research has emphasized family processes as determinants of children’s well-being, leaving parents’ well-being often overlooked as an equally important outcome. This symposium highlights a variety of approaches across four presentations to examine family processes, emphasizing both parents’ and children’s positive well-being (PWB) within the family system.

Group 1 focuses on the complexity of mothers’ emotions when caring for their toddlers through examination of emotion dynamics across caregiving contexts, broadening our understanding of how family processes and PWB unfold in real-time. Group 2 identifies parent characteristics that shape parents’ PWB and parenting behaviors, underscoring the robust power of fostering parents’ compassion and gratitude as promotive factors for parent and child PWB. Group 3 focuses on parent and adolescent emotion regulation strategies as predictors of parents’ happiness, emphasizing the importance of understanding regulatory strategies as a family process that contributes to PWB. Finally, Group 4 presents a dyadic analysis of parent-adolescent connectedness as a predictor of PWB among families that participated in a 21-day daily diary study. These findings offer compelling support for within-dyad effects for connectedness and PWB for parents and adolescents. Together, these presentations highlight the importance of considering both parents’ and children’s PWB for gaining a comprehensive understanding of the complex family system.

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