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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Family Science and Public Health: Strange Bedfellows or Match Made in Heaven?

Kristina GordonArts and Sciences

Relationship dysfunction and dissolution are serious public health issues, as their occurrence increases the likelihood of a number of mental and physical health problems. Other indirect effects include increased probability of child abuse and maltreatment, childhood poverty, as well as lower academic achievement and poorer physical and mental health in children. Taking into account only the effects of divorce on poverty rates, the United States is estimated to spend $112 billion dollars per year on costs of family breakdown. This talk will provide an overview of research on the public health costs of relationship dysfunction and then discuss a series of studies demonstrating how brief family-based health interventions provided in a home-visitation format might be an attractive and efficient strategy to address multiple public health problems simultaneously.

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