Family closeness and connectivity refer to the frequency and intensity of participation in shared activities (1). Additionally, it is also about how warm, affectionate, supportive and responsive these relationships are (2).
Closeness and connectivity provide individuals with greater social support (3); which is a protective factor for mental health. Furthermore it can provide a feeling of belonging, which has been linked to child well-being (4). High family cohesion and support reportedly lead to lower levels of suicidal ideation and depression (5).
Closeness to caregiver was associated with protecting against internalising behaviours (such as anxiety or depressive symptoms) in young people (6). Regarding siblings, poor relationships have been suggested to be a risk factor for development of depression in adulthood (7).
A further aspect of family closeness and connectivity is marital quality. Happy marriages have been associated with lower stress and depression in the couple and improved mental health in their children (8,9).
1. Berscheid E, Snyder M, Omoto AM. The relationship closeness inventory: Assessing the closeness of interpersonal relationships. J Pers Soc Psychol. 1989;57(5):792–807.
2. Manzi C, Brambilla M. Family Connectedness. In: Michalos A, editor. Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research [Internet]. Springer Netherlands; 2014 [cited 2021 Jan 14]. p. 2167–8. Available from: https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_998
3. Campos B, Ullman JB, Aguilera A, Dunkel Schetter C. Familism and psychological health: the intervening role of closeness and social support. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol. 2014 Apr 1;20(2):191–201.
4. King V, Boyd LM, Pragg B. Parent-Adolescent Closeness, Family Belonging, and Adolescent Well-Being Across Family Structures. J Fam Issues [Internet]. 2018 May 7 [cited 2021 Jan 22];39(7):2007–36. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29805189
5. Harris TL, Molock SD. Cultural orientation, family cohesion, and family support in suicide ideation and depression among African American college students. Suicide Life Threat Behav [Internet]. 2000 Dec 1 [cited 2021 Feb 9];30(4):341–53. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11210059
6. Cederbaum JA, He AS, Fulginiti A, Sullivan K, Krauss MD, Amutah N, et al. Caregiver qualities, family closeness, and the well-being of adolescents engaged in the child welfare system. Child Youth Serv Rev. 2017 Feb 1;73:113–20.
7. Waldinger RJ, Vaillant GE, Orav EJ. Childhood sibling relationships as a predictor of major depression in adulthood: A 30-year prospective study. Am J Psychiatry [Internet]. 2007 Jun [cited 2021 Feb 18];164(6):949–54. Available from: http://psychiatryonline.org/doi/abs/10.1176/ajp.2007.164.6.949
8. Li C, Jiang S, Fan X, Zhang Q. Exploring the impact of marital relationship on the mental health of children: Does parent–child relationship matter? J Health Psychol [Internet]. 2020 Sep 1 [cited 2021 Jan 21];25(10–11):1669–80. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/1359105318769348
9. Kiecolt-Glaser JK, Newton TL. Marriage and health. Psychol Bull. 2001;127(4).