Family stress is defined as disturbance in the steady state of the family system. The disturbance can emerge from the outside context (e.g., war, unemployment), from inside the family (e.g., death; divorce), or both simultaneously. In any case, the family system’s equilibrium is threatened or disturbed. Family stress is therefore also defined as change in the family’s equilibrium. Such change can be expected (as with the birth of a baby) or unexpected (as with winning a lottery).
While transitions and change are inherently stressful, the impact can be positive or negative. The sources of stress, whether they are volitional or unwanted, clear or ambiguous, predictable or unforeseen, all influence the outcome. And even with unexpected disasters, some families, depending on their coping strategies and resiliency, have the capacity to bend with the pressure and become stronger for it. Family stress then is by itself a neutral construct, but...
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Boss, P. (2014). Family Stress. In: Michalos, A.C. (eds) Encyclopedia of Quality of Life and Well-Being Research. Springer, Dordrecht. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-007-0753-5_1008
Publisher Name: Springer, Dordrecht
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