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Family Stress Theory

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Brittany Whitehurst

on 19 November 2012

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Transcript of Family Stress Theory

The Family Stress Theory Reuben Hill Developments of Theory Roller Coaster Profile of Adjustment to Crisis ABC-X Model -Father of Family Stress Theory
-Born in 1912 and died in 1985
-Received his BS in Sociology at Utah State University in 1935
-Received his Masters in Philosophy in Social Psychology at the University of Wisconsin in 1936
-Received his PhD in 1938 at University of Wisconsin

Was a Mormon Missionary in several countries from 1930-1933
Was an associate professor at several universities from 1941-1973 4 Steps:
-Crisis
-Disorganization
-Recovery
-Reorganizatioin Reuban Hill built on this theory and became father of the modern stress theory with the ABC-X model.

He used this model to explain the crisis proneness and freedom from crisis among families.

This model focuses primarily on precrisis variables (A: The crisis /precipitating event B: The family's crisis-meeting resources, C: The definition the family makes of the event X: The Crisis. Other Scholars: McCubbin and Patterson added to this theory in 1982
Burr and Klein (1994) attempted to simplify this theory
Lazarus and Folkman (1984) built upon this theory. -Developed after the great depression when theorists noted the stress families were under due to unemployment.

-First by theorist Angell in 1936
-Then by Cavan and Ranck in 1938
-Added upon in 1946 by Koos
-Theory was built upon again by Hill in 1949 adding the roller coaster profile of adjustment to crisis.

According to this model families will eventually reach a new level of organization; for some it will be the same as the previous level of organization, for others it will be better than it was before; but for still others things become stable but not as good as they were prior to the stressful event. -MucCubbin and Patterson (1982, 1983b) added to the ABCX model (1) additional life stressors and strains (2) psychological, intrafamilial, and social resources (3) changes in the family’s definition (4) family coping strategies and (5) a range of outcomes, with family coping strategies being the double ABCX model’s major contribution to stress theory.

-Part A of the ABCX model is neither negative or positive, since situations are neutral prior to our interpretation of them. Additions to the ABCX Model: 8 Criteria for the degree of a stressor event (Lipman-Bluman 1975): 1. Is the stressor internal or external to the family?
2. Is the stressor focused on one member of the family or all members of the family?
3. Was the stressor sudden or gradual?
4. How severe is the stressor?
5. How long do you have to adjust to the stressor?
6. Was the stressor expected or unexpected?
7. Was the stressor natural or artificial/human-made? (hurricane or technology)
8. Is the crisis or stressor solvable?
Definitions of Stressors: -Olson, Lavee, and McCubbin (1988) define stressors as “discrete life events or transitions that have an impact upon the family unit and produce, or have the potential to produce, change in the family system.”

-Stressors become negative or positive based on how we define them. A negative situation could be very positive for another person.

--Stressors can be normative or non-normative. A normative even has three primary components; it is something that occurs in all families, you can anticipate its occurrence, and it is short-term rather than chronic.
-Non-normative stressors such as losing an infant to sudden infant death syndrome or the separation of family members due to war are not anticipated and, thus, are more likely to lead to a crisis.
Problems with the Theory: -Linear model trying to explain complex families and situations, IOW it is not one single event that causes family to become stressed to the point of crisis but rather an accumulation of events.
-It focuses on only one issue: stress. The theory will never be considered a grand theory or a theory that one can apply to any discipline or situation.
Strengths of the theory: --Applicable to real life situations
--Used as a basis for therapy
FAAR Model (Family Adjustment and Adaptation Response): --Families attempt to balance the demands they face with their capacity to deal with them as influenced by the family meaning or definition/interpretation of the situation. The model looks at the processes families use in an attempt to restore balance while also including what is added by individual family members, the family unit itself, and the community.
--Model has been tested in the field of family resiliency. Resiliency means thriving or succeeding despite adverse circumstances.
ACTIVITY --Families have boundaries, and there can be a place of boundary ambiguity where family members are uncertain in their perception of who is in or out of the family or who is performing what roles and tasks within the family system. This can occur when a family member is (1) physically present but psychologically absent or (2) is physically absent but psychologically present Family Stress Boundaries: References • Weber, J. (2010 ). Individual and family stress and crises . Los Angeles: Sage Publications.
• Reuben hill. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.isa-sociology.org/about/presidents/isa-president-reuben-hill.htm
• Rothwell, D. W., & Han, C. H. (2010). Exploring the relationship between assets and family stress among low-income families . Family relations: interdisciplinary journal of applied family studies , 59(4), 396-407.
• Walsh, F. (2002). A family resilience framework: Innovative practice applications. Family relations, 51(2), 130-137. doi: JSTOR
• Ingoldsby, B., Smith, S., & Miller, J. E. (2004). Exploring family theories. (1 ed.).
• Patterson, J., & Garwick, A. (1994). Levels of meaning in family stress. Family practice, (33), 287-304.
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