The Well-Being of Children and Families

Research and Data Needs
Arland Thornton, Editor
An interdisciplinary examination of how well American families and children are faring at the start of the third millennium


This book addresses the well-being of families and children in America today. The volume is primarily motivated by the number of scientific and policy questions being raised about the level of well-being among America's children and families, the factors influencing today's children and families, and what interventions might improve the prospects for current and future generations of parents and children. Although much is currently known about family and child well-being, the book focuses mainly on the limitations and gaps in our understanding and, most importantly, addresses unanswered research questions. In addition, it makes suggestions concerning research designs and data collections to answer these questions.

The book is unique in that it grows out of the work of the Family and Child Well-Being Research Network, a multidisciplinary research and policy network of the National Institutes of Health that includes a vast range of fields. The Network and this volume take the position that child development and family life are so complex and multifaceted that they cannot be satisfactorily described and explained by only one—or even a few—disciplinary perspectives.

The Well-Being of Children and Families includes contributions from some of the very best people from a broad range of disciplines, including anthropology, demography, economics, education, family science, genetics, medicine, psychology, public policy, and sociology. Thus, the book will be of particular interest to professionals in these fields and other disciplines where there have been dramatic expansions in the number of people interested in families and children.

Arland Thornton is Professor of Sociology, University of Michigan.

Praise / Awards

  • "The Family and Child Well-being Network is one of the most productive creations of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. This book is a compendium of the best ideas of that distinguished group of researchers. Every family researcher and family policy-maker will need to keep it at hand for guidance on how to think about and what to do about family and child well-being."
    —J. Richard Udry, Carolina Population Center. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • "In this one volume can be found a lucid and critical compendium of the theoretical perspectives, research, and critical new questions in child and family well-being from genetics to neighborhoods."
    —Marie C. McCormick M.D., Sc.D., Harvard University School Of Public Health
  • "As a whole, this volume promotes a paradigm shift in family research by advocating an understanding of well-being as more than the absence of negative outcomes. Well-being can be conceptualized and operationalized in terms of physical health, psychological adjustment, social activity, and financial stability. . . . The real heart of this volume, and its potentially most significant contribution, lies in the three themes that I have addressed in this review: well-being, interdisciniplinary collaboration, and holistic perspectives. These themes represent the true paradigm shift in research on children and families. I, for one, am betting that this volume is just the beginning."
    —Robert Crosnoe, University of Texas, Austin, Contemporary Sociology, Volume 31: No. 5

Look Inside

Copyright © 1998, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 480pp.
  • 10 drawings, 11 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Paper
  • 2001
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-06758-9

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  • $44.95 U.S.