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Chapter 13. Stress and Crisis in Relationships. Chapter Outline. Personal Stress and Crisis Events Positive Stress Management Strategies Harmful Strategies Family Crises Examples Marriage and Family Therapy. True or False?.

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Chapter 13

Chapter 13

Stress and Crisis in Relationships

Chapter outline
Chapter Outline

  • Personal Stress and Crisis Events

  • Positive Stress Management Strategies

  • Harmful Strategies

  • Family Crises Examples

  • Marriage and Family Therapy

True or false
True or False?

  • College students who throw up, have hangovers, and have blackouts from drinking too much learn how much alcohol they can consume before negative consequences and adapt on subsequent drinking occasions.

Answer false
Answer: False

  • College students do not learn from negative consequences to their drinking.

  • A 2006 study (Mallett et al.) found that students who threw up, made unwise sexual decisions, experienced a hangover or blackout underestimated the amount of alcohol they could drink before they experienced negative consequences.

True or false1
True or False?

  • Marriage/family therapists report that an extramarital affair is the most stressful event a married couple experience.

Answer false1
Answer: False

  • An extramarital affair is ranked by marriage and family therapists as the second most stressful crisis event for a couple (physical abuse is number 1).

Stress and crisis
Stress and Crisis

  • Stress is a reaction of the body to substantial or unusual demands.

  • A crisis is a crucial situation that requires changes in normal patterns of behavior.

Stress and crisis events
Stress and Crisis Events

  • Pg. 369

  • Hurricane Katrina, which hit New Orleans in 2005, was an external cause of a crisis event that devastated homes and displaced families.

  • This photo was taken inside the living room or a house hit by Katrina.

Characteristics of resilient families
Characteristics of Resilient Families

  • A having a joint cause or purpose

  • Emotional/social support for each other

  • Good problem-solving skills

  • The ability to delay gratification

  • Flexibility

  • Accessing residual resources

  • Communication

  • Commitment

A family stress model
A Family Stress Model

  • A= stressor event

  • B= family’s management strategies, coping skills

  • C= family’s perception, definition of the situation

  • X= family’s adaptation to the event

    • A is the stressor which interacts with B, the family’s coping ability.

    • A and B interact with C, which is the family’s perception of the stressor event.

    • X is the family’s adaptation to the crisis.


  • A reaction of the body to substantial or unusual demands is called

    • resiliency.

    • crisis.

    • burnout.

    • stress.

Answer d
Answer: D

  • A reaction of the body to substantial or unusual demands is called stress.


  • Stress is a

    • process.

    • crisis.

    • state.

    • reaction.

Answer a
Answer: A

  • Stress is a process.

Stress management strategies

Changing Basic Values and Perspective


Biofeedback treatment



Religion and Spirituality

Reaching out to friends and relatives

Being involved in multiple roles

A sense of humor

Stress Management Strategies

Managing stress
Managing Stress

  • Pg. 372

  • Spending time fishing with one’s beloved is one way to relieve stress.


  • Teaches a person to influence biological responses such as heart rate, nervous system arousal, muscle contractions, and brain wave functioning.

  • Types of biofeedback:

    • Electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback,

    • Thermal or temperature biofeedback

    • Galvanic skin response (GSR) biofeedback

    • Neurofeedback

Relaxing environments
Relaxing Environments

  • Pg. 373

  • City planners recognize the need to provide environments conducive to relaxation.

Family crisis physical illness and disability
Family Crisis: Physical Illness and Disability

  • Major illness/injury to self was ranked the number 3 most stressful life event by over 3,000 adult respondents.

  • Although short-term illness and disability produce stress, long-term illness and disability have profound and enduring effects on family members and family life.

Family crisis mental illness
Family Crisis: Mental Illness

  • The initial attraction of partners to each other includes intellectual and emotional qualities.

  • A depressed partner changes the interaction patterns.

  • Spouses living with a depressed partner had more symptoms of depression themselves.

  • Wives reported tension from being drawn into a fusion with their husbands and their struggle to maintain their independence from the illness.

Family crisis mid life crisis
Family Crisis: Mid Life Crisis

  • A 10 year study of close to 8,000 U.S. adults aged 25 to 74 revealed that, for most respondents, the middle years were a time of good health, productive activity, and community involvement.

  • 2/3 were accepting of getting older; 1/3 felt some personal turmoil related to aging.

Family crisis affairs
Family Crisis: Affairs

  • An extramarital affair is the emotional and sexual involvement of a spouse with someone other than the mate.

  • Extradyadicrelationships refer to all pair-bonded individuals who are emotionally and sexually involved with someone other than the partner.

Reasons for extradyadic involvements
Reasons for Extradyadic Involvements

  • Variety, novelty, and excitement

  • Workplace friendships

  • Relationship dissatisfaction

  • Revenge

  • Homosexual relationship

  • Aging

  • Absence from partner

What if your partner has an affair
What If Your Partner Has an Affair?

  • One alternative is to end the relationship because the trust has been broken and can never be mended.

  • Some respond to a partner’s emotional and sexual involvement with acceptance and try to repair the relationship.

  • When spouses stay together after an affair, the price is high.

Family crisis unemployment
Family Crisis: Unemployment

  • The effects of unemployment may be more severe for men than for women.

  • Our society expects men to be the primary breadwinners and equates masculine self-worth and identity with job and income.

  • Women tend to adjust more easily to unemployment than men.

Family crisis drug abuse
Family Crisis: Drug Abuse

  • Spouses, parents, and children who abuse drugs contribute to the stress and conflict experienced in respective marriages and families.

Your opinion
Your Opinion?

  • To what degree do you believe drinking on campus should be a concern of the administration?

Your opinion1
Your Opinion?

  • What university policies do you recommend to reduce binge drinking?

Family crisis death of a child
Family Crisis: Death of a Child

  • Mothers experience a higher mortality risk after their child’s death.

  • Mothers and fathers sometimes respond to the death of their child in different ways.

  • The respective partners may interpret these differences in negative ways, leading to relationship conflict and unhappiness.

Family crisis death of a parent
Family Crisis: Death of a Parent

  • Reactions include depression, loss of concentration, and anger.

  • A 2005 study of college students who experienced the death of a loved one (most often a parent) found that constant ruminations about the deceased correlated with a lower sense of psychological well being.

Family crisis surviving the suicide of a loved one
Family Crisis: Surviving the Suicide of a Loved One

  • Worldwide, about 800,000 individuals elect to commit suicide annually.

  • In the United States, there are over 30,000 suicides annually.

  • Families of suicide victims are often left with questions about why their loved ones killed themselves and what could have been done to prevent the suicide.


  • Who is most adversely affected by a spouse's illness?

    • the ill spouse

    • the ill spouse's children

    • the healthy spouse

    • their parents

Answer c
Answer: C

  • The healthy spouse is most adversely affected by a spouse's illness.


  • Which of the following is an example of a crisis?

    • an illness

    • an extramarital affair

    • a hurricane

    • all of these choices

Answer d1
Answer: D

  • An illness, an extramarital affair and a hurricane are examples of a crisis.

Marriage and family therapy
Marriage and Family Therapy

  • There are around 50,000 marriage and family therapists in the United States.

  • There are over twenty different treatment approaches used by members of AAMFT.

  • The largest percentage (27%) report that they use a “cognitive-behavioral” approach.

    • This approach focuses on cognitions that underlie a marriage or family with the goal of ensuring that these are accurate and functional.