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Making Family History Helps

Build Resilient Children


Marshall Duke, a Professor of Psychology at Emory University, conducted a study in which he gave children a set of “Do You Know” (DYK) questions regarding stories about their family history. Included where questions such as, “Do you know how your parents met?” and “Do you know some of the lessons that your parents learned from good or bad experiences?”


Duke reports, “…in our research, higher scores on the DYK scale were associated with higher levels of self-esteem, an internal locus of control (a belief in one's own capacity to control what happens to him or her), better family functioning, lower levels of anxiety, fewer behavioral problems, and better chances for good outcomes if a child faces educational or emotional/behavioral difficulties.”[1]


Bruce Feiler wrote an article about this study in the New York Times that reiterates,  “The bottom line is if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell the story of your family’s positive moments and your ability to bounce back from the difficult ones. That act alone may increase the odds that your family will thrive for many generations to come.”[2]


By making family history the youth are actively engaging in their family narrative. They are becoming familiar with it, they are participating in it, and they are able to contribute to it.





[1] Duke, Marshall P. “The Stories That Bind Us: What Are the Twenty Questions?” Huffington Post 23 Mar. 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014. 


[2] Feiler, Bruce. “The Stories That Bind Us.” New York Times. 15 March 2013. Web. 20 Feb. 2014.

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