Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 26, Issue 10, pp 2852–2864 | Cite as

Happy Family Kitchen: Behavioral Outcomes of a Brief Community-Based Family Intervention in Hong Kong

  • Henry C. Y. Ho
  • Moses Mui
  • Alice Wan
  • Sunita M. Stewart
  • Carol Yew
  • Tai Hing LamEmail author
  • Sophia S. Chan
Original Paper


Positive psychology interventions commonly involve behavioral exercises to improve psychosocial well-being. Intervention effect on behavior is unclear. The Happy Family Kitchen project, one of the community-based brief intervention projects under The FAMILY: A Jockey Club Initiative for a Harmonious Society, was conducted in Hong Kong to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a positive psychology family intervention. We have previously reported positive intervention effects on family communication, family well-being, and subjective happiness. This paper aims to explore the effectiveness of the intervention on behavioral outcomes and their associations with psychosocial well-being. A total of 23 social service units organized and conducted intervention programs for 1419 individuals from 612 families in Hong Kong. Each intervention was developed with emphasis on one of five positive psychology themes: gratitude, flow, happiness, health, and savoring. Intervention outcomes were assessed at pre-intervention, immediate post-intervention, and 6 weeks and 12 weeks post-intervention. Results showed that family communication time and frequency of meal preparation with family members increased with sustainable small effects up to 12 weeks. Theme-specific behavior change was observed in the gratitude, flow, and happiness interventions, respectively. Family communication time, frequency of eating with family members, and theme-specific behaviors, including gratitude, flow, happiness behavior, health attitude, and health behavior, were positively associated with psychosocial well-being. Qualitative data provided additional evidence of effectiveness with in-depth insights into behavior change. The positive associations between target behaviors and well-being suggest that improvements in well-being as a function of the intervention may be associated with behavior change.


Community-based intervention Positive psychology Behavior change Family communication Psychosocial well-being 



We thank our community collaborators and research participants for their coordination, implementation, and participation in the community programs. We are also grateful to our research team (Paul Wong, Jenny Leung, Terence Li, and Joe Chiu) for their important contributions. This study was a part of the project entitled “FAMILY: A Jockey Club Initiative for a Harmonious Society”, which was funded by the Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. The funder had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis and interpretation, preparation of the manuscript, or decision to publish.

Author Contributions

H.H. performed the statistical analysis, interpreted the data, and wrote the manuscript; M.M. participated in the design, implementation, and coordination; A.W. participated in the design, implementation, and coordination; S.S. contributed to the conceptualization and writing of the manuscript; C.Y. participated in the design and implementation; T.H.L. participated in the design, coordination, and conceptualization and writing of the manuscript; and S.C. participated in the design, coordination, and conceptualization. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Henry C. Y. Ho
    • 1
  • Moses Mui
    • 2
  • Alice Wan
    • 1
  • Sunita M. Stewart
    • 3
  • Carol Yew
    • 4
  • Tai Hing Lam
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sophia S. Chan
    • 5
  1. 1.School of Public HealthUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong
  2. 2.Service Development, Hong Kong Council of Social ServiceWanchaiHong Kong
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at DallasDallasUSA
  4. 4.United Centre of Emotional Health and Positive Living, United Christian Nethersole Community Health ServiceKowloonHong Kong
  5. 5.School of NursingUniversity of Hong KongPokfulamHong Kong

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