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Family Stress Adaptation Theory

Stress originates from many sources including internal or individual causes (e.g., substance abuse, mental or physical illness, and personal injuries) as well as external stressors such as natural disasters, violence, and economic strain. Family stress adaptation theory seeks to explain the ways in which family systems adapt to stressors by focusing on the resources available to families, as well as families’ perceptions of the stressful events. Different families can perceive, cope with, and adapt to stressors in different ways. Some families, for example, rely heavily on social support and view the stressor as an obstacle to overcome, while others view stress more negatively and/or through a deficit lens. To better understand stress in families, traditional family stress adaption theories focus on three researched phenomena: the ...

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