The Influence of Family Multi-Institutional Involvement on Children’s Health Management Practices

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Given the increasing prevalence of youths with chronic medical conditions and the racial, gender, and class disparities in health in the U.S., it is important to understand how families manage their youths’ health condition during the transitional time of adolescence when parents and youths are renegotiating their respective roles and responsibilities related to that condition. This paper explores a relatively understudied factor to this fraught and often confusing process: family involvement in multiple institutions for both health and non-health related issues. Based on qualitative fieldwork with 33 families in New York City whose youths have chronic health conditions (e.g., diabetes, asthma, obesity), the paper shows how family multi-institutional involvement can sap family resources in often unexpected ways. This type of institutional involvement has greater implications for poor and minority families who are more likely to be compelled to participate in these organizations with less influence to shape their cases as opposed to middle class and white families. In sum, this paper provides a more nuanced perspective of parental involvement in youths’ health management practices as a fluid evolving process shaped in part by family involvement in other institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number828
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • adolescent health
  • chronic illness
  • cultural health capital
  • family involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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