Family Health Model

Developed by Sharon Denham, DSN, RN and described in “Family Health: A Framework for Nursing” (2003). A free copy of the book is available from: The Family Health Model was created as a result of a comprehensive literature review, the author’s professional nursing practice, life experiences, and findings from a series of three qualitative research studies about ways Appalachian families defined and practiced family health within their households. This ecological model is a way to conceptualize the complex interactive relational systems relevant to families and their health. It is important to note that the Family Health Model is a model of family health, not merely a theory or model to explain the family or its functions. Thus, the context and variables are more inclusive than merely considering family processes. In other words, family health is influenced by the inter-related contextual aspects as well aspects linked with individual members and the family as a whole. Family health involves all members who reside in the household, but includes ways relationships and environments affect health over time. Findings from the qualitative research conducted by the author have provided evidence that indicate a need to conceptualize family health from ecological and process perspectives. Health or its absence can all be viewed from the model’s precepts and ways to consider clinical practice can be considered from a variety of perspectives.

For more information about the model, visit the Website and hear Dr. Denham provide an explanation of her model. In addition, the Diabetes: A Family Matter program and toolkit of materials have been developed from the concepts of the Family Health Model.