Family, Health and illness: the repetition in families


1.      To understand the role of a holistic approach in Medicine, focusing in the family, and specially on the phenomenon of the transmission of transgenerational behaviours and interaction patterns.


2.      To recognise the social context ant the organization of primary healthcare in Portugal.

To train conducting interview with systemic focus with users of primary health care units in the context of fieldworks.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Prof.ª Doutora Teresa Ventura


Weekly - Available soon

Total - Available soon

Teaching language





McWhinney IR, Freeman T. Textbook of Family Medicine. New York: Oxford University Press; 2009.

Alarcão M. (Des)Equilíbrios Familiares. Coimbra: Quarteto; 2006.

Rebelo L. Genograma familiar: o bisturi do médico de família. Revista Portuguesa de Clínica Geral 2007;309-17.

Disponível em:

Ogden J. Psicologia da Saúde. Lisboa: Climepsi Editores; 2004.

Nunes J. Comunicação em Contexto Clínico. Lisboa; 2010. Disponível em:

Teaching method

1.      Lectures

2.      Visits to primary healthcare units


3.      Patient interviews

4.      Group discussion

5.      Critical appraisal of fieldwork reports.

Evaluation method

Positive assessment requires completion of the fieldwork assignments.

Assessment is based on two components.



1st Component (75% of final marking)

Summative assessment is based on a student portfolio, completed at the end of the curricular unit and marked from 0 to 20 points. 

2nd Component (25% of final marking)

Final examination with 40 multiple choice questions, marked from 0 to 20 points.

Subject matter

1.      The social context and the organization of healthcare. Primary healthcare in Portugal.

2.      The holistic approach. General systems theory.

3.      Family-related concepts and family types.

4.      Genogram: definition, main elements, indications and interpretation. Heredity and behavioural transmission.

5.      Family transmission of concepts and values related to health and illness, health and illness beliefs, patterns of intra and extra-family interactions, patterns of healthcare use by family members. Family narratives. Social support.

6.      Revolutions in health. Health behaviours. Health education. Frameworks for health education activities.


7.      Principles of motivational interviewing

8.      Principles of healthy nutrition. Psychosocial factors.


Programs where the course is taught: