Family-Centered Care and Positive Developmental Outcomes for Youth With Special Health Care Needs: Variations Across Family Structures

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Drawing on a social determinants of health framework, we evaluated associations between perceived family-centered care (FCC) and positive developmental outcomes for youth with special health care needs across six different family structures (married biological families, cohabiting biological families, married stepfamilies, cohabiting stepfamilies, divorced/separated single-mother families, and never-married single-mother families). Using data from the 2011-2012 National Survey of Children’s Health, we found that married biological families perceive greater FCC than do other family structures. Perceived FCC was positively associated with all three positive youth outcomes evaluated (children’s health, participation in extracurricular activities, and flourishing) in married biological families, and two of the three outcomes (children’s health and flourishing) in married stepfamilies and divorced/separated single-mother families. Implications for health care provision and future research with structurally diverse families are discussed.


This article was originally published as Russell, L. T., Beckmeyer, J. J., & Su-Russell, C. (2018). Family-centered care and positive developmental outcomes for youth with special health care needs: Variations across family structures. Journal of family nursing, 24(1), 29-59. https://doi.org/10.1177/1074840717745520.