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Managing Stress After A Disaster. Presented by Dr. Diane Sasser and Dr. Rebecca White, Family Development Extension Specialists, LSU AgCenter Developed by Kim Evans, Extension Agent. Family Stress Management.

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Managing stress after a disaster

Managing Stress After A Disaster

Presented by Dr. Diane Sasser and

Dr. Rebecca White, Family Development Extension Specialists, LSU AgCenter

Developed by Kim Evans, Extension Agent

Family stress management
Family Stress Management

Even strong families can be stressed to the point of crisis and thus be immobilized.

Goals and objectives
Goals and Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Identify personal signs or symptoms of stress

  • Define ways to cope with stress

  • Develop a personal plan to cope with the stress in their life

Stress in everyday life
Stress in Everyday Life

  • The majority of individuals and families are suffering from stress

  • Stress can make people sick

  • Stress affects people’s emotional well-being and work productivity

  • Stress is unavoidable


  • Major life events –death, divorce, relocation

  • Minor life events—

    daily hassles

  • Chronic Stressors –illness,

    disability, poverty, discrimination

Health problems related to stress




Pain in neck, back, shoulder

Colds and Flu


Heart problems


Skin Problems

Stomach Problems

Health Problems Related to Stress

Abc x model
ABC -X Model

C - Perceptions

Meaning attached to event

A - Event

X-Degree of Stress

Provoking event or stressor

Stress and crisis

B - Resources

Family’s resources or strengths

Event significant enough to provoke change
Event – Significant, Enough to Provoke Change

Family s resources at time of event
Family’s Resources - At Time of Event

Perceptions meaning attached to event
Perceptions –Meaning Attached to Event

Managing stress after a disaster

You know you're from the Gulf Coast when...

  • You have FEMA's number on speed dial.

  • You have more than 300 'C' and 'D' batteries in your kitchen drawer.

  • When describing your house to a prospective buyer, you say it has three bedrooms, two baths and one safe hallway.

  • You are on a first-name basis with the cashier at Home Depot.

  • You are delighted to pay $3 for a gallon of regular unleaded.

  • The road leading to your house has been declared a No-Wake  Zone.

  • You decide that your patio furniture looks better on the bottom of the pool.

  • You can wish that other people get hit by a hurricane and not feel the least bit guilty about it.

External context
External Context

  • Culture

  • History

  • Economy

  • Development

  • Heredity

Internal context
Internal Context

  • Structural

  • Psychological

  • Philosophical

Values and beliefs
Values and Beliefs

  • Values and beliefs of family determine its action when faced with a problem

  • Fatalism—family belief system that leans toward passive acceptance

  • Gender differences

Family coping
Family Coping

  • Process of managing a stressful event or situation by the family as a unit with no negative effects on any individual in that family

5 stages of grief
5 Stages of Grief

  • Shock and Denial

  • Anger

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

Coping strategies
Coping Strategies

  • Problem solving

  • Inherited rules and patterns of coping

  • Sometimes the best strategy is to reorganize

  • Managing as positive outcome

Proven coping strategies burr klein and associates
Proven Coping Strategies*Burr, Klein and Associates

  • Relationships

  • Spirituality

  • Communication

  • Cognitive

  • Emotional

  • Community

  • Individual Development


  • Increase togetherness

  • Develop increased trust

  • Increase cooperation

  • Increase tolerance


  • Be more involved in religious activity

  • Increase faith or seek help from higher being


  • Be open and honest

  • Listen to each other

  • Be sensitive to non-verbal communication


  • Heart to Heart cards


  • Be accepting of the situation and others

  • Gain useful knowledge

  • Change how the situation is viewed or defined


  • Express feelings and affection

  • Avoid or resolve negative feelings and disabling expressions of emotion

  • Be sensitive to other’s emotional needs


  • Seek help and support from others

  • Fulfill expectations in organizations

Individual development
Individual Development

  • Develop autonomy, independence and self-sufficiency

  • Keep active in hobbies

Laughter by yourself or with somebody
LaughterBy yourself or with somebody

The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that's laughter. The moment it arises, all our harnesses yield, all our irritations slip away, and a sunny spirit takes their place. Mark Twain

Managing stress after a disaster

You know you’re from the Gulf Coast when:

  • You catch a 13-pound redfish - in your driveway.

  • You can recite from memory whole portions of your homeowner's insurance policy.

  • At cocktail parties, women are attracted to the guy with the biggest chainsaw.

  • There is a blue tarp where your roof used to be.

  • Someone comes to your door to tell you they found your roof.

  • Ice is a valid topic of conversation.

  • Relocating to South Dakota does not seem like such a crazy  idea.

  • You spend more time on your roof then in your living room.

  • You've been laughed at over the phone by a roofer, fence builder or a tree worker.

  • A battery powered TV is considered a home entertainment center.

  • You don't worry about relatives wanting to visit during the summer.

  • Having a tree in your living room does not necessarily mean it's Christmas.

Children and traumatic stress
Children and Traumatic Stress

  • Signs and symptoms to look for

Helping children cope
Helping Children Cope

Take care of yourself :

  • Physically

  • Emotionally

  • Spiritually

Helping children cope1
Helping Children Cope

  • Make them feel safe

  • Encourage talk about feelings

  • Answer questions, but keep it simple

  • Listen

Helping children cope2
Helping Children Cope

  • Extra time

  • Return to daily routines

  • Give them chores

  • Help others

  • Limit TV exposure


  • What’s your plan?

Managing stress after a disaster

Within each of us is a hidden store of energy.

Energy we can release to compete in the marathon of life.

Within each of us is a hidden store of courage.

Courage to give us the strength to face any challenge.

Within each of us is a hidden store of determination. Determination to keep us in the race when all seems lost."

Roger Dawson

When nothing is sure everything is possible margaret drabble english novelist
When nothing is sure, everything is possible. Margaret Drabble - English novelist


  • Boss, Pauline (2000). Ambiguous Loss: Learning to Live With Unresolved Grief. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

  • Boss, Pauline (2002). Family Stress Management (2nd ed.). Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

  • Burr, Wesley, Klein, Shirley and Associates (1994). Reexamining Family Stress: New Theory and Research. Sage: Thousand Oaks, CA.

  • Department of Health and Human Services, Center for Disease Control

  • Lingren, Harry (1998). Putting Laughter and Humor in Your Life. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Extension Service.

  • Matthews, Wayne. Extension Specialist, North Carolina State University

  • Rodgers, Fred. (2003) The World According to Mister Rodgers. Hyperion Books: New York

  • Shuster, Cynthia. Joy Breaks: Fun in Small Doses, Ohio State University Extension