The Nature of Family Engagement in Interventions for Children With Chronic Conditions

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Recognizing the bi-directional relationship between family functioning and child well-being in the context of childhood chronic conditions, researchers have tested family-focused interventions aimed at promoting both child and family well-being through improving the family’s condition management capacity. Based on a sample of 70 interventions for families in which there was a child with a chronic physical condition, this analysis examined the nature of family engagement in the interventions. Data were extracted from the intervention reports using a standardized template; conventional content analysis was used to describe family engagement. Interventions varied in focus, structure, and level of family engagement. Investigators most often sought to improve condition control or management, with parent engagement focused on improving capacity to manage the treatment regimen. Few investigators addressed capacity building in the context of family functioning. Recommendations are made for reporting standards for family-focused interventions and for enhancing the family systems grounding of interventions.

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