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Family Emotional Climate and Mental Health

  • By: David J. Kavanagh
  • In: Encyclopedia of Family Health
  • Edited by: Martha Craft-Rosenberg & Shelley-Rae Pehler
  • Subject:Family Health, Family Policy, Family Law

Just as climate is a summary of weather patterns, so the emotional climate of a household is a summary of patterns of interactions between members. These interactions have long been known to have an impact on the mental health of members. Among the most vulnerable to these effects are people with mental disorders. Mental disorders involve problems with thinking, emotions, or behaviors that have a significant impact on one's ability to function and can cause distress. Criteria to define mental disorders are in the World Health Organization's International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems and in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Mental disorders are very common—around 1 in 5 people in Western communities fulfill criteria for a ...

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