How Stress Affects A Family

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How Stress Affects a Family

How Stress Affects a Family


This paper intends to provide a deep rooted insight that how stress affects the family. Further, elements that are caused by stress are also discussed in the paper.

Stress is a subjective response created by the person and his or her appraisal of the environment. People respond to the trigger based on their coping abilities. A stress appraisal response can be influenced by past experiences as well as by the uncertainty of the health threat. The child and adult cognitively assess their coping resources for the threat and determine the level of risk. While such a simple explanation fails to adequately explain such a complex process, increases in parental stress and child stress have been repeatedly measured in response to acute health changes (Beach, 2009).


Stress in Families

Stress varies in type and degree. Stress originates from stressors of various types. The type of stressor affects the degree of stress experienced. When stress is severe, a crisis may occur. Sometimes, stress is experienced by only an individual, sometimes by a family, and sometimes by an entire community as in the case of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center, Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and the earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Helpers can assist individuals, families, and communities to reduce the occurrence and to reduce the severity of stress experienced, as well as help to manage stress. Helpers do not need a lot of training to do this. Often, the first people to offer assistance in times of stress are lay people or frontline workers such as nurses, police, and emergency medical technicians (EMTs).

Before proceeding, it is important to define exactly what is meant here by the use of the terms stress, stressor, and crisis. Stress is a state of pressure or tension. The event or situation that leads to stress is called a stressor. When stress is severe, a family may experience a depression and crisis, which is an acute (few hours to a few weeks) state of distress.

Stress Causes Depression in the Family

Depression is a major stressor for families: It interferes with relationships between spouses and between parents and their children. At the same time, dysfunctional family relationships contribute to the development and persistence of depression in individual family members (Boss, 1987).

Overall, being married and being part of a family are associated with better mental health. However, distress in marital and family relationships puts individuals at risk for psychological disorders, including depression. Depressed individuals frequently report family and marital problems as prominent concerns in their lives and, often, as the perceived cause of their depression. In the other direction, adults and children who are depressed tend to act and think in ways that have a negative impact on their families (Boss, 2002).

Looking specifically at the marital relationship, there is a robust association between marital distress and depression. Effects are bidirectional, with marital distress increasing the chances of developing depression and depression predicting declines in marital ...
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