Resource-enhancing psychosocial support in family situations: needs and benefits from family members’ own perspectives

Authors

  • Hanna-Mari Tanninen,

    1. Hanna-Mari Tanninen MNSc RN Head Nurse Manager Social and Health Service, Health Service, Samaria Health Centre, City of Espoo, Finland
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  • Arja Häggman-Laitila,

    1. Arja Häggman-Laitila PhD RN Docent and R&D Manager Faculty of Health Care and Nursing, Helsinki Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Metropolia, Finland
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  • Anna-Maija Pietilä

    1. Anna-Maija Pietilä PhD RN Professor Department of Nursing Science, University of Kuopio, Kuopio, Finland
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A. Häggman-Laitila: e-mail: arja.haggman-laitila@metropolia.fi

Abstract

Title. Resource-enhancing psychosocial support in family situations: needs and benefits from family members’ own perspectives.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to evaluate a resource-enhancing family nursing intervention to identify and meet mothers’, fathers’ and children’s psychosocial support needs.

Background.  Although a family’s resources are a central concept in nursing science, descriptions of the content of the concept and ways to enhance families’ resources are scant. Studies have usually identified the need for support by families with children from the perspective of one family member, most often the mother.

Method.  A total of 75 family members from 30 families with small children participated in the study in 2004–2005. The data were collected before and after intervention, using structured questionnaires called the Family Situation Barometer. Descriptive statistics and nonparametric Wilcoxon tests were used as statistical methods.

Results.  Participants’ need for psychosocial support was reduced or alleviated during the family nursing intervention. The mental health of the mothers and fathers improved, as did their marital relationships and emotional lives. Furthermore, their social support networks increased and their employment situation improved. There were also positive changes in the mental health and sleep-related issues of the children.

Conclusion.  The resource-enhancing family nursing proved to be useful in improving the well-being and health of family members. The Family Situation Barometer proved to be a practical tool in the home context and can supplement the instruments developed earlier in family nursing science. Research into supporting interpersonal and family-systems nursing remains a future challenge.

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