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The Family's Conception of Accountability and Competence: A New Approach to the Conceptualization and Assessment of Family Stress

The Family's Conception of Accountability and Competence: A New Approach to the Conceptualization... Clinicians and researchers have a strong interest in understanding how families respond to stress. Often, they begin their analyses by attempts to estimate the seriousness or magnitude of the stressful events impinging on the families they observe. Until now, they have relied on two strategies. First, they attempt to develop objective or external indicators of the magnitude of the stress of the events. The problem here is that the family's own perceptions and experiences are not properly weighted. The second strategy depends heavily or exclusively on the family's perceptions of the events. However, these perceptions are often a product of the family's efforts to cope with the stress since the organization and perception of meaning in events is a fundamental part of family coping. Thus, this approach cannot disentangle the stress inherent in the events from the family's efforts to cope with it. This article explores a third alternative. The social community in which the family lives often provides a coherent frame of meanings for most events. It not only defines the magnitude of the event but it also defines how accountable the family is for producing the event in the first place. A method for assessing these community frameworks is presented. Initial results suggest that there is not only a coherent community framework attributing magnitude and family accountability to a large number of stressful events impinging the family but, also, that these community attributions are embedded in a community concept of family development. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Family Process Wiley

The Family's Conception of Accountability and Competence: A New Approach to the Conceptualization and Assessment of Family Stress

Family Process , Volume 30 (2) – Jun 1, 1991

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References (13)

Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1991 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0014-7370
eISSN
1545-5300
DOI
10.1111/j.1545-5300.1991.00193.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Clinicians and researchers have a strong interest in understanding how families respond to stress. Often, they begin their analyses by attempts to estimate the seriousness or magnitude of the stressful events impinging on the families they observe. Until now, they have relied on two strategies. First, they attempt to develop objective or external indicators of the magnitude of the stress of the events. The problem here is that the family's own perceptions and experiences are not properly weighted. The second strategy depends heavily or exclusively on the family's perceptions of the events. However, these perceptions are often a product of the family's efforts to cope with the stress since the organization and perception of meaning in events is a fundamental part of family coping. Thus, this approach cannot disentangle the stress inherent in the events from the family's efforts to cope with it. This article explores a third alternative. The social community in which the family lives often provides a coherent frame of meanings for most events. It not only defines the magnitude of the event but it also defines how accountable the family is for producing the event in the first place. A method for assessing these community frameworks is presented. Initial results suggest that there is not only a coherent community framework attributing magnitude and family accountability to a large number of stressful events impinging the family but, also, that these community attributions are embedded in a community concept of family development.

Journal

Family ProcessWiley

Published: Jun 1, 1991

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