Theory of Family Stress and Adaptation

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Running Head: Theory of Family Stress and Adaptation Theory of Family Stress and Adaptation Jana Brazier, BSN, RN Regents Online Degree Program Austin Peay State University Fall Semester 2011 Theory of Family Stress and Adaptation There are many things that can cause family stress, such as a sudden illness, financial problems, an unexpected death, violence, or substance abuse. Some families are able to remain stable during difficult circumstances, while other families deteriorate during a crisis. While most people try to avoid stress, no family is immune to it. Researchers are uncovering how some families are better at using coping strategies than others, and adaptation is a factor in their ability to stay strong through the hard times. Development of the Theory Reuben Hill developed the original Theory of Family Stress in 1949. Hill studied families that survived the Great Depression, and contrasted those families with ones that did not remain intact after the Depression. Hill theorized and came up with the ABCX Model of family stress and adaptation. There were four assumptions within the original family stress model; an unexpected or unplanned events are usually perceived as stressful; events within the families, such as a serious illness, and defined as stressful, are more disruptive that stressors that occur outside the family such as war, flood, or depression; lack of previous experience with stressor events leads to increased perceptions of stress; and ambiguous stressor events are more stressful than non-ambiguous events (Friedman, 1998). Hill theorized that there are many events that can disrupt a family equilibrium. In Hill’s model, the letter “A” refers to the event that disrupts equilibrium. There are two complex variables that act to buffer the family from acute stressors and reduce the direct correlation between multiple
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