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The Meaning of a Healthy Family in Sub-Saharan Africa: Perspectives of Two-Parent Families in Urban Malawi Open Access


Other title
Healthy Family
Sub-Saharan Africa
Family Functioning
Urban Malawi
Family Health
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Lazaro, Mayeso C.
Supervisor and department
Skrypnek, Berna (Human Ecology)
Examining committee member and department
Skrypnek, Berna (Human Ecology)
Williamson, Deanna (Human Ecology)
Dashora, Pushpanjali (Human Ecology)
Kushner, Kaysi (Faculty of Nursing)
Department of Human Ecology
Family Ecology and Practice
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Science
Degree level
To explore how healthy family functioning is conceptualized by families in sub-Saharan Africa, 10 mothers and 9 fathers participated in in-depth interviews and discussed the meaning of a healthy family for them, and described the practices they engage in to support having a healthy family. Analyses revealed that participants described a healthy family holistically, captured under four major themes: physical health, relationship health, spiritual health, and mental health. Participants described a range of practices or family processes that they intentionally engaged in to ensure that the physical, relationship, spiritual, and mental health needs of their family were met. Participants’ conceptualizations of what it means to have a healthy family were compared to North American scholarly models of family functioning highlighting the need to consider culture when conceptualizing or measuring family functioning. Implications of the findings for policy, programming and services for families in sub-Saharan Africa are discussed.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
Citation for previous publication
Not applicable

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