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Family Crises


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Title: Family Crises

Chapter 14
  • Family Crises

Chapter Outline
  • Coping with Crises
  • Death in the Family
  • Accidents, Injuries, and Catastrophic Illness
  • Family Violence
  • Poverty and Unemployment
  • The Military Family in Time of War
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse

What is a crisis?
  • A crisis is any event that upsets the smooth
    functioning of a persons life.

Review 8 Characteristics of Strong Families
  1. Commitment
  2. Appreciation
  3. Good communication skills
  4. Desire to spend time together

Review 8 Characteristics of Strong Families
  1. Strong value system
  2. Ability to deal with crises and stress in a
    positive manner
  3. Resilience
  4. Self-efficacy

Coping with Crisis
  • Depending on a familys viewpoint and resources,
    many different kinds of events are apt to become
  • Crisis-provoking events are called stressor

Types of Stressor Events
  • Internal - Events that arise from someone inside
    the family, such as alcoholism, suicide, or
    running for election.
  • External - Events that arise outside the family,
    such as earthquakes, terrorism, the inflation
    rate, or cultural attitudes toward women and

Types of Stressor Events
  • Normative - Events that are expected over the
    family life cycle, such as birth, launching a
    young adult, marriage, aging, or death.
  • Nonnormative - Events that are unexpected, such
    as winning a lottery, getting a divorce, dying
    young or war.

Types of Stressor Events
  • Ambiguous - The facts are so unclear that youre
    not even sure that the crisis is happening to you
    and your family.
  • Nonambiguous - Clear facts are available about
    the event what is happening, when, how long, and
    to whom.

Types of Stressor Events
  • Volitional - Events that are wanted and sought
    out, such as a freely chosen job change, a
    college entrance, or a wanted pregnancy.
  • Nonvolitional - Events that just happen, such as
    being laid off or the sudden loss of someone

Types of Stressor Events
  • Chronic - A situation that has long duration,
    such as diabetes, chemical addiction, or racial
  • Cumulative - Events that pile up, one right after
    the other, so there is no resolution before the
    next one occurs.

Types of Stressor Events
  • Acute - An event that lasts a short time but is
    severe, such as breaking a limb, losing a job, or
    flunking a test.
  • Isolated - An event that occurs alone, at least
    with no other events apparent at that time. It
    can be pinpointed easily.

Stress Leads to Success?
  • Research has found that moderate stress,
    especially during childhood, may be related to
    later achievement.
  • In a study of 400 famous individuals from the
    twentieth century, it was found that 3/4 were
    troubled as children and that 1/4 faced physical
    disability or difficulty.

Responses to Stress
  • General-adaptation Syndrome
  • Alarm
  • Resistance
  • Recovery or exhaustion

Alarm Reaction
  • Physical and psychological changes are
  • These changes are controlled by the sympathetic
    or parasympathetic nervous systems.
  • These two systems usually operate in opposition
    to each other that is, if one system activates a
    response, the other counteracts the response.

  • During this stage, various physical responses
    appear to return to normal, because the body has
    built up resistance to the stress.

Exhaustion or Recovery
  • During this stage, exhaustion occurs if the
    original symptoms return. The person often
    becomes physically ill.
  • On the other hand, if the stress has been reduced
    to a tolerable level, the symptoms do not come
    back and recovery ensues.

Autonomic Nervous System
Physical Signs of Stress
  • Pounding of the heart rapid heart rate
  • Rapid, shallow breathing
  • Dryness of the throat and mouth
  • Raised body temperature
  • Decreased sexual appetite or activity
  • Feelings of weakness, light-headedness,
    dizziness, or faintness

Psychological Signs of Stress
  • Irritability, tension, or depression
  • Impulsive behavior and emotional instability
  • Lowered self-esteem thoughts related to failure
  • Excessive worry insecurity concern about other
    peoples opinions self-deprecation
  • Reduced ability to communicate with others

Steps in Crises Management
  1. Describe the event in realistic terms and
    determine whether it is a crisis for you, your
    family, or your friend.
  2. Examine your emotions and reactions to the crisis
  3. Seek support and help from friends and family.
  4. Consider all possibilities and take decisive
    action to resolve the crisis.

  • Therapy is a broad term used to describe actions
    taken to cure or solve any problem.
  • Taking an aspirin is therapy for a headache.
  • Counseling from a hospice after the death of a
    loved one is therapy.
  • Many groups and organizations help individuals
    cope with crises in their lives.

Defending Against Harmful Stress
  • Coping devices are ways of handling or dealing
    with stress, frustration, pain, fear, anxiety,
    and any other problems arising from stressful
  • Anxiety is a generalized fear, without a specific
    object or source.

Progressive Relaxation
  1. Assume a comfortable position, in a quiet
    environment and with eyes closed.
  2. Breathe deeply.
  3. Relax each muscle in the body, starting with the
    feet and working up to the neck and face.
  4. Maintain a quiet attitude, let thoughts come and
    go, allow relaxation to proceed at its own pace.
  5. Remain relaxed for 15 to 20 minutes.

Defense Mechanisms
  • Defense mechanisms are the methods an individual
    uses to deny, excuse, change, or disguise
    behaviors that cause stress or anxiety.
  • They are unconscious, unlike the coping

Positive Uses of Defense Mechanisms
  1. Defense mechanisms can give time to adjust to a
    problem that might at first be overwhelming.
  2. Defense mechanisms may lead to experimentation
    with new roles.

Commonly Used Defense Mechanisms
  1. Repression is an unconscious blocking of whatever
    is causing stress and frustration.
  2. Displacement is a straightforward substitution of
    a less-threatening behavior for another.
  3. Rationalization involves finding an excuse for a
    behavior that is causing trouble.

Commonly Used Defense Mechanisms
  1. Projection is a defense mechanism whereby ones
    own characteristics or impulses are imposed upon
  2. Sublimation involves converting a socially
    unacceptable impulse into a socially acceptable
  3. Compensation allows a person to make up for a
    shortcoming in one area by becoming successful in
    another area.

  • Projection is the major psychological mechanism
    used in scapegoating, whereby a person or group
    is blamed for the mistakes or crimes of another.
  • Scapegoating may also be evident when a person or
    group is blamed for some misfortune that is due
    to another cause.

Ambiguous Loss
  • Two kinds
  • In the first, people are physically absent but
    psychologically present, because it is unclear
    whether they are dead or alive.
  • Missing soldiers and kidnapped persons illustrate
    this type of loss.
  • The second type is when a person is physically
    present but psychologically absent, such as
    people with Alzheimers disease, addictions or
    who are in a coma.

Death Rate for Homicide (rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
All males 16.6 9.0
All females 4.4 2.8
White male 10.4 5.2
White female 3.2 2.1
Black male 69.4 35.4
Black female 13.2 7.1
Death Rate for Homicide (rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
Hispanic male 27.4 (1990) 11.8
Hispanic female 4.3 (1990) 2.8
Asian male 9.1 4.3
Asian female 3.1 1.7
American Indian male 23.3 10.7
American Indian female 4.6 3.0
Death Rate for Suicide (rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
All males 19.9 17.7
All females 5.7 4.0
White male 20.9 19.1
White female 6.1 4.3
Black male 11.4 10.0
Black female 2.4 1.8
Death Rate for Suicide (rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
Hispanic male 23.5 (1990) 20.2
Hispanic female 2.3 (1990) 1.7
Asian male 10.7 8.6
Asian female 5.5 2.8
American Indian male 19.3 16.0
American Indian female 4.7 3.8
Common Questions About Suicide
  1. Why do young people want to die?
  2. If suicidal persons want to live, then why would
    they try to kill themselves?
  3. If a persons mind is set on suicide, can anyone
    or anything change it?
  4. Is it hard to face life after attempting suicide?

Common Questions About Suicide
  1. Do people who talk about killing themselves just
    want attention? Is it best to just ignore their
  2. Are people who try to kill themselves emotionally
  3. What causes people to attempt suicide?

Common Questions About Suicide
  1. How can you tell if someone is about to commit
  2. What can you do to help if you suspect an
    oncoming suicide attempt?
  3. What if you fail to prevent a suicide?
  4. What if you sometimes feel like ending your own

Death Rates for Firearm-Related Injuries
(rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
All persons 14.8 10.4
All males 25.9 18.1
All females 4.7 2.8
White male 22.1 15.9
White female 4.2 2.7
Black male 60.1 34.2
Black female 8.7 3.9
Death Rates for Firearm-Related Injuries
(rate/100,000 pop)
1980 2002
Hispanic male 27.6 (1990) 13.6
Hispanic female 3.3 (1990) 1.8
American Indian male 24.0 13.1
American Indian female 5.8 2.9
Reactions to Death
  1. Denial and isolation
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance

Family Violence
  • Violence between Partners
  • Child Abuse
  • Sibling Abuse
  • Peer Abuse
  • Parental Abuse by Children

Elements of Child Abuse
  1. The parent must be a person to whom physical
    punishment is acceptable.
  2. The abusive parent often has unrealistic
    expectations for the child.
  3. The parent perceives the child to be difficult
    and trying.
  4. There is usually a crisis of some kind.

Factors Associated with Family Violence
  1. The cycle of violence
  2. Socioeconomic status
  3. Stress
  4. Social isolation

Factors Associated with Family Violence
  1. Traditional male-role orientation
  2. Low self-esteem, understanding, patience, and
  3. Alcohol and drug use

Americans in Poverty
Percent All People and Family Members below 100
of Poverty, 2002
All People People in Families
All races 12.5 10.8
White 10.5 8.7
Black 24.4 23.1
Hispanic 22.5 21.5
Asian 11.8 9.8
Poverty Rates by Education and Race, 2000
Percent Child Poverty Rates
Race Metropolitan Rural
All Children 16 19
Black 32 42
Hispanic 19 24
Asian 14 14
American Indian 27 36
The Working Poor
  • Working poor Employed people who live below the
    poverty threshold

Various Family Relationships in the Military
Advantages of Military Life
  • The entire military acts as a surrogate family.
  • The goals of the military are similar, thus
    contributing to a high degree of camaraderie.
  • Housing or an allowance is provided, which helps
    the families when moving from place to place.
  • New assignments bring new friends and support
    from service families at the new posting.

Disadvantages of Military Life
  • Frequent moves and loss of friends.
  • Parental absences with deployment.
  • Pressure to adjust and fit into the group.
  • Lack of control over ones future.

Disadvantages of Military Life
  • Housing, although often provided, looks like
    everyone elses and close living makes privacy
  • Parenting difficulties when a parent is deployed.
  • Stress for the trailing party.

Drug Abuse
  • Drug abuse is the persistent and excessive use of
    any drug that results in psychological or
    physical dependence, or that the society labels
    as dangerous or illegal.

Drug Abuse
  • Defining the term drug is difficult. One
    definition of a drug is any substance taken for
    medical purposes or for pleasure that affects
    bodily functions.

Continuum of Drug Action
Well-known Personalities Who Had Drug-Related
  • Rob Pilatus
  • Chris Farley
  • Michael Hutchence
  • Sid Vicious
  • Kurt Cobain
  • Brian Jones
  • River Phoenix
  • John Belushi
  • Jim Morrison
  • Brian Epstein
  • Marilyn Monroe
  • Janis Joplin
  • Judy Garland
  • Elvis Presley
  • Jimi Hendrix
  • Len Bias

Quick Quiz
1. When a person or group is blamed for the
mistakes or crimes of another it is called
  1. projection
  2. displacement
  3. scapegoating
  4. repression

Answer c
  • Scapegoating is when a person or group is blamed
    for the mistakes or crimes of another.

2. Repression, projection and displacement are all
  1. Coping methods
  2. Defense Mechanisms
  3. Relaxation Techniques
  4. Stressor Events

Answer b
  • Repression, projection and displacement are
    common defense mechanisms.

3. Crisis provoking events are called
  1. Stressor events
  2. Family events
  3. Crisis Management
  4. Therapy

Answer a
  • Crisis provoking events are also called stressor
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