UCLA Sloan Center on Everyday Lives of Families Working Paper No. 25 2003
How does one go about studying health and well-being in dual-career middle-class families living in southern California? Existing research concerned with health and well-being in relation to everyday family life rarely examines the on-the-ground processes through which matters of well-being and health become part of daily life. Further, there is no interdisciplinary research that attempts to build an integrated picture by drawing on diverse methods and sources of data relating to health and well-being in family life. The project undertaken by the Center for the Everyday Lives of Families (CELF) presents a unique opportunity for advancing understanding on both of these fronts. While the video recordings of everyday family activities are at the heart of the CELF project, the overall design also reflects the diverse disciplinary perspectives of our research team, with multiple methods available for posing and addressing questions relating to individual and family health and well-being. After describing some relevant and key aspects of the CELF study design, we show how we will draw upon these diverse sources of information to construct what we refer to as “family health portraits” (or, more fittingly, “working family health and well-being portraits”). These family portraits provide a basis for addressing specific questions and topics about health and well-being in everyday life, and a basis for comparative research, including research carried out in other cultural settings.