Family and Friendship

Mariage, Parenting and Flourishing


Family, Marriage, and Parenting

The project on family,  marraige, and parenting aims to carry out original empirical research on marital and family stability and on parenting and how these relate to relational, health, and life outcomes for spouses and children. The project also aims to summarize the most rigorous research in this area that employs longitudinal designs to examine how decisions about marriage, divorce, parenting, and family structure relate to human flourishing outcomes such as health, happiness, character, meaning and purpose in life, financial stability, and close social relationships.

Publications on Family, Marriage, and Parenting

Chen, Y., Hinton, C., and VanderWeele, T.J. (2021). School types in adolescence and subsequent health and well-being in young adulthood: An outcome-wide analysis. PLoS One 16(11): e0258723.

VanderWeele, T.J., Mathur, M.B., and Chen, Y. (2019). Media portrayals and public health implications for suicide and other behaviors. JAMA Psychiatry, 76:891-892.

Mathur, M. and VanderWeele, T.J. (2019). Finding common ground in meta-analysis “wars” on violent video games. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 14:705–708.

Chen, Y., Haines, J. Charlton, B., and VanderWeele, T.J. (2019). Positive parenting improves multiple aspects of health and well-being in young adulthood. Nature Human Behavior, 3:684-691.

Chen, Y. Kubzansky, L., and VanderWeele, T.J. (2019). Parental warmth and flourishing in mid-lifeSocial Science and Medicine, 220:65-72.

Im, Y. and VanderWeele, T.J. (2018). The role of first-year maternal employment and paternal involvement in behavioral and cognitive development of young children. Infant Mental Health Journal, 39(4):449-465.

Li, S., Kubzansky, L.D., VanderWeele, T.J. (2018). Religious service attendance, divorce, and remarriage among U.S. Nurses in mid and late life. PLoS One, 13(12): e0207778.

Chen, Y. and VanderWeele, T.J. (2018). Associations of religious upbringing with subsequent health and well-being from adolescence to young adulthood: an outcome-wide analysisAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, 187:2355–2364.

Social Connectedness and Belonging

Social Connectedness by Geralt/AdobeSpark

In the Social Connectedness and Belonging Project, we aim to carry out empirical, historical, philosophical, and theological research and scholarship on how strong social connections affect human flourishing. We aim to better understand and promote the character traits (benevolence, gratitude, forgiveness, etc.) that lead to stronger social connections for human flourishing. We will also seek to connect this research to public audiences through symposia, a documentary film, and public commentary in popular media outlets. This initiative will aim to understand why friendship and community participation are declining in multiple societies. We also aim to explore new ways to measure social relationships, provide a new etiology of the so-called “loneliness epidemic,” and understand the social determinants (cultural, economic and technological, etc.) of declining social connectedness. Drawing on analytic, descriptive, and practical discourses, we aim to think about what loneliness is, identify its causes, and support practitioners and policymakers in finding solutions. Close social relationships may in some cases affect life evaluations even more than economic or health conditions, yet prominent policy frameworks and indices for social progress omit social connectedness from their political goals or merely instrumentalize social connections for purely material ends; some policies may even weaken social connections. We aim to explore why these disconnects and omissions are happening and how to bridge these gaps in understanding in the policymaking process. Included within the Social Connectedness and Belonging Project is an initiative and symposium on Trust and Belonging.

Publications on Social Connectedness and Belonging

Weziak-Bialowolska, D., Bialowolski, P., Lee, M.T., Chen, Y., VanderWeele, T.J., and McNeely, E. (2022). Prospective associations between social connectedness and mental health. Evidence from a longitudinal survey and health insurance claims data. International Journal of Public Health, 67, Article 1604710: 1-9.

Kim, E.S., Chen, Y., Kawachi, I., and VanderWeele, T.J. (2020). Perceived neighborhood social cohesion and subsequent health and well-being in older adults: an outcome-wide longitudinal approach. Health and Place, 66:102420.

Kim, E.S., Whillans, A.V., Lee, M.T., Chen, Y. and VanderWeele, T.J. (2020). Volunteering and subsequent health and well-being in older adults: an outcome-wide longitudinal approach. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 59:176-186.

VanderWeele, T.J. (2019). Measures of community well-being: a template. International Journal of Community Well-Being, 2:253-275.

Li, S., Hagan, K., Grodstein, F., and VanderWeele, T.J. (2018). Social integration and healthy aging among U.S. women. Preventive Medicine Reports, 9:144-148.