Volume 5, Article 5

Volume 5, Article 5

Meta-Analysis of the Relationships Between Family Strengths and Parent, Family and Child Well-Being
Carl J. Dunst, Ana Maria Serrano, Joana Maria Mas, and Marilyn Espe-Sherwindt

Citation: Dunst, C. J., Serrano, A. M., Mas, J. M., & Espe-Sherwindt, M. (2021). Meta-Analysis of the Relationships Between Family Strengths and Parent, Family and Child Well-Being.’ European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 5, 1-23. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-5/

Processing dates: Submitted 1 August 2020; Resubmitted 23 December 2020; Accepted 11 January 2021; Published 22 February 2021.

Volume 5, Article 5


Background: Positive psychology considers human strengths the intersection between positive life experiences and healthy functioning. Little evidence exists to support or refute the contention that family strengths are the intersection between positive family life experiences and healthy family functioning.

Aims: The purpose of this meta-analysis was to evaluate the relationships between family strengths and five dimensions of well-being: personal well-being, personal belief appraisals, positive parenting practices, family well-being, and child well-being.

Methods: Studies were included if the effect sizes (correlations) between family strengths and one or more well-being measures were the focus of investigation. The independent variable for
measuring family strengths was the Family Functioning Style Scale. The meta-analysis included 33 studies conducted in 12 countries. The studies included 7,065 participants. The 33 studies included 61 effect sizes where only one effect size per study for any one dimension of well-being was included in the analyses.

Results: Findings indicated no publication bias for peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed research reports. The omnibus size of effect between family strengths and well-being was r = .40 (95% CI =.35, .44). Family strengths were positively related to each of the five well-being measures but were differentially related to the different types of well-being. The size of effect was largest for family well-being, r = .54 (95% CI = .43, .63) and smallest for child well-being, r = .26 (95% CI = .18, .33). There was evidence for inconsistency in the results due to the heterogeneity of the studies and several study-related factors.

Conclusion: The results illustrate how family strengths are an important source of variation in parent, family, and child well-being and provide support for the contention that family strengths
are related to well-being in a manner similar to how human strengths are related to healthy individual functioning.

Keywords: family strengths, personal well-being, belief appraisals, parenting practices, family well-being, child well-being, meta-analysis


Carl J. Dunst is with the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute, Asheville, North Carolina, USA. Email: cdusnt@puckett.org

Ana Maria Serrano is with the University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. Email: serrano@ie.uminho.pt

Joana Maria Mas is with the Ramon Llull University, Barcelona, Spain. Email: joanamariamm@blanquerna.url.edu

Marilyn Espe-Sherwindt is with the European Association on Early Childhood Intervention Tallmadge, Ohio, USA. Email: mespeshe@kent.edu