Penn LPS Coronavirus COVID-19 Update
The College of Liberal and Professional Studies staff is working remotely to comply with University protocols as we navigate the COVID-19 virus. Penn is committed to maintaining a safe campus and workplace for faculty, students, staff, and visitors. While we are not onsite, we are still available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. by phone and online in case you need support: (215) 898-7326 or

Visit, the University's dedicated coronavirus COVID-19 web page, for the latest updates.
close alert box button

Are All Happy Families Alike? Conceptualizing a Dashboard of Family Flourishing

You are here

By Joel Treisman

In the opening line of Tolstoy’s "Anna Karenina," we read that all happy families are alike, yet all unhappy families are unhappy in their own way. The Anna Karenina Principle is derived from this and is understood to mean that success in any endeavor is so elusive that failure to achieve even one condition for success will lead to certain doom. Applying this principle to the family, one might say that a deficiency in any one element of family well-being will prevent family flourishing and doom a family to be unhappy. Thus, there are many more ways for a family to be unhappy than to flourish. Is this a helpful frame through which to view family well-being and happiness? What have scholars from the science of human flourishing learned about the conditions for family well-being? How does individual well-being relate to family flourishing? How do positive psychologists conceptualize, define, and measure family well-being? I present findings from a broad survey of the positive psychology literature related to defining and measuring individual and family flourishing. I conclude with a conceptual framework for a Family Flourishing Dashboard (FFD). The dashboard incorporates a curated subset of scales for measuring subjective individual and family well-being. Such a dashboard may help families and the practitioners who work with them by promoting informed and constructive discussion about individual family members’ hopes and goals for the family. Practitioners who work with families may find this dashboard of value in planning and developing positive interventions intended to boost family well-being.

Penn LPS

The lifelong learning division of Penn Arts & Sciences

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326