Family stress theory


Family stress adaptation theory was first explored after the Great Depression. The idea was brought forth by Reuben Hill whose ABCX theory is still the gold standard from which other ideas are based. Today, with the economy, nationally and internationally, struggling and affecting families in profound ways, family stress adaptation theory is being revisited in current context to see if the challenges are the same for keeping families together.

The idea is that if you see the stressors coming, if you are in the middle of it, you can do something to combat the negative effect and turn it into a positive. In fact, when handled effectively, these terrible events can strengthen a family.

Stress may be introduced through a member of the family or through an uncontrollable environmental event. This can be through individual drug or alcohol abuse, mental or physical ailment, divorce, or death. From the outside there are economic stressors like job loss, a natural disaster or any kind of violence.

Some coping mechanisms include directly addressing its impact on the family, basically talking about it and working with it directly and openly. Add the wheelchair ramps, aggressively cut the budget, start researching facilities for memory impaired, discuss the job hunt. Focus on solving the problem, but in order to do that, you must name it together as a family.

Talk honestly with an outsider about the problem. This can be a counselor or a clergy member. Get objective perspective from an outsider.

Substance and physical abuse must be dealt with professionally. These are serious problems with serious consequences. Don’t go it alone.

Turn to friends, family, the church, wherever your community is for help and support. Just talking about it helps. Reaching out when help is needed from these trusted friends will bolster the family through a difficult time. Many families fail through stressful times. It doesn’t have to happen.



This information is solely for informational and educational purposes only. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, family planning, child psychology, marriage counseling and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care or mental health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of or the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, application of medication or any other action involving the care of yourself or any family members which results from reading this site. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. Additional information contained in our Legal Statement

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The whole family dines together at home
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Parents and children eat separately
Whoever is around eats together
Every family member for themselves!
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