Nurturing Family Resilience in Response to Chronic Illness: An Integrative Approach to Health and Growth Promotion



In 1995, Ann Burack Weiss published a paper in Social Work describing how her personal and professional experiences in family chronic illness caretaking, the enormous gap between practitioner biomedical education and the real-life challenges that families and caretakers faced, and their often overlooked strengths, inspired her to collect chronicles of family caretaking. In The Caregiver’s Tale: Loss and Renewal in Memoirs of Family Life (2003), she recommends selected memoirs educating practitioners about family lived experiences with chronic illness. Her book is used in the field of medical humanities to help physicians’ empathically connect to patients’ illness experiences through narratives and other creative arts (Charon, 2008). In a volume on family systems and health, McDaniel, Hepworth, and Doherty (2003) asked contributors to present their frameworks and practice in light of a personal experience of facing family chronic illness that informed their work. Other writers have depicted efforts to move beyond “technocratic” medical models of illness and cure to offer “humanistic” biopsychosocial or “holistic” perspectives emphasizing cultural and spiritual worldviews of illness and wellness (Davis-Floyd, 2001; Walsh, 2006).


Chronic Illness Positive Emotion Family System Family Response Family Routine 



Work on this chapter was supported by the NIH Research Grant 5-P20-MD002290-05, HORIZON Center: Healthy options, research, interventions & community organizing funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Disparities (NIMHD).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MassachusettsBostonUSA

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