A focus on family is key to personal health.
Surveys in the social sciences, such as those measuring happiness or health, tend to the smallest unit: the individual. But two new studies, each surveying tens of thousands of people, show that primary analysis may need to scale up. One study suggests that people who adhere to public safety guidelines are less likely to protect themselves than their loved ones. Another study provides an explanation for why this is so: People prioritize the world over their family happiness.
Science News headlines in your inbox
Headlines and summaries of the latest Science News articles, delivered to your email inbox every Thursday.
Thank you, because I want up!
I’m having trouble subscribing to you.
Neither research team defined the term “family,” but respondents were free to interpret the word as they saw fit. What the results suggest is the exact nature of the family, whether nuclear, blood related, or extended, is irrelevant.
The findings have important implications for society, says Karen Bogenschneider, a family policy expert at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who was not involved in either study. That’s why policy makers sometimes rely on research findings to develop programs aimed at reducing substance abuse or inequality. When researchers solve social problems based on an individual or a community, so do policy makers. And those programs are less effective as a.
For example, several studies over the past two decades have shown that among family members in addiction treatment programs, the risk of relapse and family relationships increase.
These studies, however, challenge the presumption that individualism has turned itself into the ultimate survivalist.SN: 10/7/19).
Family bonds have forced individuals to embrace pandemic-related health behaviors
The idea that policy makers can target families to change behavior is not surprising to Martha Newson, an anthropologist at the University of Kent in England. Over the years, Newson studied the concept of fusion, where a person is so involved in a larger social group that she is willing to either sacrifice her personal safety, or even survive, for the sake of the group.SN: 6/23/16).
In the wake of the pandemic, Newson and his team began studying how social fusion might influence behavior around the world around the pandemic.
Subscribe to Science News
Journalistic knowledge delivered to your doorstep from a reliable source.
From March to May 2020, over 13,000 participants from 122 countries were shown a series of five pictures, each with two circles, one for themselves and one for a specific group such as family, country or all people. In the first picture, the circles are far apart, but in the subsequent pictures they grow closer and closer until they completely overlap. Participants had to choose one of five images to indicate their degree of fusion with the group. The participant had to choose the circles that were fully overlapping looking at the group.
Participants also filled out scales to indicate how much they had taken public health measures, such as social distancing or masking, in the previous week.
Participants who had a fixed family among them reported stronger adherence to public health pathways, Newson and colleagues reported on January 13. Science is promoted. For example, despite representing one-fourth of the participant pool, participants with strong family ties constituted three-quarters of those who reported following social distancing norms. And nearly half of the participants with strong family bonds reported frequent hand washing compared with about a third of the participants with weaker family bonds.
Newson says that people in small societies have evolved. “When we have crises … these smaller units remain very important.”
On average, people value their family’s happiness more than their own
Meanwhile, another group of researchers began to question the widely accepted belief that many happy people lead to a happy society. That idea originated in the West, and is often treated as universal, says Kuba Krys, a cross-cultural psychologist at the Warsaw Academy of Sciences.
But research over the years has shown that non-Westerners don’t value personal happiness as much as people in the West. For example, outside the West, people tend to see happiness as more dependent on, or based on harmony and equality with, others than independent or self-based..
If happiness exists at least partially outside of the human, then Krys and his team wondered what the unit researchers should study. They looked back to the family.
A team of approximately 13,000 participants from 49 countries indicate how much the perfect or ideal person would agree with statements about being well-being in two joint surveys. The statements were seen both in the “I” sign and in the new version of the family. Participants consider how an ideal person would respond to both statements: “In most ways, my life is close to ideal” and “In most ways, my family’s life is close to ideal.”
Almost half of the participants valued family well-being above personal well-being, while less than a third prioritized their own happiness, the team reports in an upcoming paper. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. And in addition, the participants of even individual countries, including the United States, valued the family, on average, more than the self.
The word “family” is associated with conservatism, Krys says. And the family remains the center of people’s lives, regardless of geography or political affiliation. “The form of the family has changed but the family as an idea, as a basic unit, has not changed,” he said. “I advise progressives … not to be afraid of family matters.”
Bogenschneider’s research backs this point up. In a study of more than 200 state legislators, she and her colleagues found that while abortion and same-sex marriage remain highly polarized, policy makers tend to focus on domestic issues other than family issues, such as those involving domestic violence, juvenile crime or teen pregnancy. bipartisan
This suggests that issues that are not typically centered around the family, such as climate change or inequality, can be framed in terms of the family to provide broader support for protection, Bogenschneider says. Researchers who seek to translate their findings into policy and advocates who could promote particular causes, he adds, “raise the policy of artists in those matters, placing the contributions of families and families.”
#Prioritize #family #real #world #effects