ABSTRACT

What images come to mind when you think about a healthy family? What impacts the health of families? While these questions may seem relatively easy, answers are less easy as we gain a better appreciation of a complex process we call family health . The study of family health incorporates biosocial research of family processes. Those working with family health issues recognize that the biomedical approach holds the promise of genomics and a blending of conventional and complementary medicines . The biopsychosocial model has played an important role in the development of patient-centered medicine, where families and physicians work as partners on family health concerns. This shift toward blending of Western and Eastern health care approaches is demonstrated in integrative medicine . In order to more accurately understand family health, family studies scholars engage in biosocial research in which researchers work across disciplines through transdisciplinary approaches. The transdisciplinary concept is used in family health research and will be used in place of “interdisciplinary” in this chapter. The Interactive Determinants of Family Health Model is an example of a transdisciplinary approach to exploring the impacts that interactive health determinants have on family health and family health histories . These determinants include biological (genetics), behavioral, social (health disparities), environmental, and political (health care policies and services). Even with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, health care coverage, preventive care, plus access to quality and effective care remain challenging for many American families until full enactment of the legislature slated for 2014. With the Family Health Interactive Determinants Model as a lens, we explore the interactions of factors related to two signifi cant family health issues, obesity and depression . Complex health conditions, such as obesity and depression, require that professionals attempting to aid families in modifying health behaviors use a family ecology theoretical approach.