Family Stress Theory
Family stress theory defines and explores the periodic, acute stressors that happen to all families. When these stressors become frequent or if the individual or family lacks the support of significant relationships, an accumulating residue of insecurity can lead to personal and family crises, including physical, emotional, or relational trauma. Such family crises may include episodes of domestic violence, recurring or chronic substance abuse, illness from weakened immune systems, divorce, accidents, child abuse/neglect, etc.
In the context of these stressors, research suggests that the maintenance or disruption of daily routines is one of the most significant factors affecting children’s sense of security. These routines include personal and shared schedules, habits, rituals, and repetitious environmental stimuli.
The impact of erratic personal activities and the lack of consistent behavior patterns can be muted or buffered with protective factors such as perceptions and social relationships. These positive factors help families to cope, so parents can continue to nurture their children despite chronic and acute stressors.
FAST® helps families manage stresses by introducing rituals designed to strengthen bonds within and between families. In addition, FAST fosters the development of supportive relationships that provide a social “safety net” for stressed families.
(Hill, McCubbin, Garbarino & Abramowitz, 1982; Belle, 1980; Cyrnic, Greenberg, Robinson and Ragozin, 1984; Egeland, Breitenbucher and Rosenberg, 1980; Ell, 1984; Lindblad-Goldberg, 1987; Marks and McLanahan, 1993; Simons, Beaman, Conger and Chao, 1993; Tracy, 1990; Wahler, 1983)