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Family Stress Management


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Authors Chapter 1- Family Stress: An Overview Defining Family Stress Defining Family An Example of Diversity in Family Structure: Grandparents Parenting Grandchildren What Were Our Own Families Like? General Systems Theory: The Family as System Symbolic Interaction as a Basis for Studying Perceptions and Meanings Is There a Family Perception? Problematic Perceptions Diversity and Multiculturalism in Family Stress Management Minority Stress Acculturative and Bicultural Stress The Stress of Discrimination and Racism Gender and Family Stress Trends in the 1970s Trends in the 1980s Trends in the 1990s Current Trends Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Note Additional Readings Chapter 2- The Contextual Model of Family Stress Why a Contextual Model? The Family's External Context Cultural Context Historical Context Economic Context Developmental Context Hereditary Context Summary The Family's Internal Context (Structural, Psychological, and Philosophical) The ABC-X of Family Stress: A Frame for Definitions The A Factor: Stressor Event (Stressful Event) The Danger of Circular Reasoning Classification of Family Stressor Events Cautions About Defining a Stressor Event The B Factor: Resources (Individual, Family, and Community) The C Factor: Perception The Primacy of Perceptions Collective Versus Individual Perceptions The X Factor: Family Crisis The Roller Coaster Model of Family Crisis Linking the ABC-X Model to the Roller Coaster Model of Family Crisis The Turning Point: Family Recovery After Crisis Family Strain Summary Points to Remember Note Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 3- Multicultural Perspectives of a Universal Stressor The Stress of Grief and Loss from Death Cultural Perceptions of Death and Loss Definitions of Death Resolving Loss Same Religion, Different Culture African American Asian Peruvian Irish Jewish Identity and Status in One's Family After a Death Applying the Contextual Model of Family Stress to This Universal Stressor Where Is the Field Now? Conclusion Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 4- Ambiguous Loss: A Major Stressor Ambiguous Loss Theory Premise Types of Ambiguous Loss Effects of Ambiguous Loss Individual Level Family Level Community Level Core Assumptions for Working With Ambiguous Loss Interventions: What Helps With Ambiguous Loss? What Ambiguous Loss Is Not Ambiguity Is Not Ambivalence Ambiguity Is Not Uncertainty Ambiguous Loss and Spirituality Ambiguous Gain Versus Ambiguous Loss Conclusion Summary Points to Remember Notes Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 5- Boundary Ambiguity: A Perceptual Risk Factor in Family Stress Management Measurement of Boundary Ambiguity History of Boundary Ambiguity Sociological and Psychological Roots Family Therapy Roots Entries and Exits; Gains and Losses Normative Developmental Boundary Ambiguity Across the Family Life Cycle Exceptions and Nuances Effects of Boundary Ambiguity Assumptions About Boundary Ambiguity What Boundary Ambiguity Is Not Boundary Ambiguity Is Not Boundary Maintenance Boundary Ambiguity Is Not Boundary Permeability Intervention for Boundary Ambiguity New Studies and Future Directions Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 6- Family Coping, Adapting, and Managing Defining Individual and Family Coping Individual Coping Family Coping Current Trends in Coping Research Denial Coping Approach/Avoidance Coping Forbearance Coping Preparedness Coping Humor Coping Religious Coping Repressive Coping Coping Ugly Coping and the Contextual Model of Family Stress Family Coping Resources Individual Coping Resources Community Resources for Family Coping Intervention and Prevention Psychoeducation as Effective Family Stress Intervention How Did This Simple but Revolutionary Idea in Mental Health Treatment Come About? The First Step: Where to Begin? Complexities of the Coping Process The Paradox of Individual Versus Family Coping The Paradox of Functional Versus Dysfunctional Coping Dialectical Thinking: Definition and Early Roots The Chain Reaction of Coping or the Codetermination of Events Cautions About Coping Concluding Thoughts for Future Work Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 7- Resilience for Managing Stress The Difference Between Coping and Resilience Defining Resilience Resilience and Family Stress Individual, Family, and Community Resilience Ordinary Magic Resilience and the Contextual Model of Family Stress The Family's External Context The Family's Internal Context Revisiting the ABC-X Approach Adversity and Resilience Positive, Tolerable, and Toxic Stress Intensity of Adversity The Era of Resilience Resilience Theorizing and Research Over the Years Individual Resilience Family Resilience Family Science Conceptual Frameworks Focused on Resilience Life Course Theory Symbolic Interaction Theory Family Stress Theory An Example: Application to Military Families A Third-Wave Family Resilience Framework Resilience Frameworks Focused on Particular Situations Resilience-Informed Professional Practice Prevention and Resilience Use of Family Resilience Frameworks Cautions About Resilience Troublesome Theorizing The Cost of Resilience Rebellion and Opposing the Status Quo Conclusion Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 8- Families, Communities, and Neighborhoods Defining Community and Neighborhood Sense of Community Virtual Sense of Community Community and Neighborhood Communities and the Contextual Model of Family Stress Research Findings on Families and Communities Informal Connections and Relationships Formal System Programs for Families Neighborhood Risk Exposure to Violence Other Dimensions of Communities The Social Organization Framework Informal Networks The Physical Environment Community Capacity Results for Families The Value of Social Connections for Families Resilient Communities Four Types of Communities Fluid and Dynamic Communities Social Cohesion Communities as Place and Force for Prevention and Intervention With Distressed Families Communities as Place Communities as Force Community Family Therapy Conclusion Summary Points to Remember Note Discussion Questions Additional Readings Chapter 9- Future Challenges to Family Stress Management Health Disparities Climate Change Widening Economic Gulf Between Low and High Income Families Increasing Work Pressures and Economic Conditions Terrorism Conflict Driven by Religious Differences Family Caregiving Challenges and Dilemmas Transgender Trends and Challenges Increasing Focus on Community Violence in Communities Families on New Shores Additional Factors to Consider About the Study of Family Stress Conclusion Summary Points to Remember Discussion Questions Additional Readings References Index

About the Author

Pauline Boss, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota; a Fellow in the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR), the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy. She was visiting professor at Harvard Medical School (1994-95) and the Moses Professor at Hunter School of Social Work (2004-2005). She is former president of NCFR and a family therapist in private practice. In 1988, Dr. Boss wrote the first edition of Family Stress Management with a subsequent edition in 2002. For the third edition, she invited Chalandra Bryant and Jay Mancini to be her co-authors. Each edition has considerably advanced the Contextual Model of Family Stress. With groundbreaking work as scientist-practitioner, Dr. Boss is the principal theorist in the study of family stress from ambiguous loss, a term she coined. Since then, she has researched various types of ambiguous loss, summarizing her work in the widely acclaimed book, Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live with Unresolved Grief (Harvard University Press, 1999). In addition, Loss, Trauma, and Resilience (Norton, 2006), presents six therapeutic guidelines for treatment when loss is complicated by ambiguity. These guidelines are based on her years of work with families of the physically missing during the Vietnam War, after 9/11, and in Kosovo, as well as in clinical work as a family therapist. For families, Dr. Boss wrote the book, Loving Someone Who Has Dementia (Jossey-Bass, 2011), which outlines strategies for managing the ongoing stress and grief while caring for someone who is both here and not here, physically present but psychologically absent. For more information, see her website, www.ambiguousloss.com. Chalandra M. Bryant is currently a professor of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia (UGA) where she teaches courses in family development, intimate relationships, and family theories. Before moving to Georgia, she served as a faculty member at Iowa State University (1998-2003) and the Pennsylvania State University (2003-2010). Her research focuses on close relationships and the ability to sustain close intimate ties. She is particularly interested in the manner in which social, familial, economic, and psychosocial factors are linked to marital and health outcomes. After earning her PhD at the University of Texas, she completed a two-year National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) post-doctoral fellowship. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Family Theory and Review. The International Association for Relationship Research presented her with the New Contributions Award (honoring significant contributions to personal relationships research) in 2002. In 2004 she received the National Council on Family Relation's Reuben Hill Research and Theory Award (presented for an outstanding research article in a family journal). In 2005 she received the Outstanding Young Professional Award from the Texas Exes Alumni Association of the University of Texas. In 2015 she was recognized as a Faculty Member Who Contributed Greatly to Career Development of UGA Students. Her favorite hobby is hiking. Her nature photographs have been published in a hiking guide. Jay A. Mancini is the Haltiwanger Distinguished Professor of Human Development and Family Science at the University of Georgia and Emeritus Professor of Human Development at Virginia Tech. Mancini was the 2013 Ambiguous Loss Visiting Scholar at the University of Minnesota. He received his doctoral degree in child development and family relations from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Mancini is a Fellow of the National Council on Family Relations (NCFR). His theorizing and research focuses on the intersections of vulnerability and resilience, and over his career, his research projects have focused on families and time-use, family gerontology, psychological well-being in adulthood, sustainability of community-based programs for at-risk families, community context effects on families, and quality of life among military families.


"I am excited to introduce my graduate social work students to this significantly revised third edition of Family Stress Management. Grounded in the latest research literature and clearly written, this book offers its readers an integrative framework, the Contextual Model of Family Stress, that advances understanding of and practice with families facing adversity and positive challenges. Particularly noteworthy are the expanded discussions of multiculturalism, diversity, resilience, and community. Bravo and many thanks to Pauline Boss, Chalandra Bryant, and Jay Mancini for this third edition!" -- Gary L. Bowen
"The topic of stress and coping could not be more relevant and critical to families today, and this text is an informative guide that reviews how family stress theory has evolved, has been studied in the literature, and can be used to help all families face a variety of current stressor events." -- Angie Giordano
"Boss et al. are reflective, thorough, and human in their presentation of family stress management. This is an excellent text for undergraduate family stress courses seeking to introduce students to the expansive, and at times daunting, literature on family crisis." -- Lynette Nickleberry

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