Delores Curran in her book Stress and the Healthy Family started out with a longer list of family stresses that affect how well the family functions and works together. This was narrowed down to the top 10 lists as the families in the study were surveyed.
She defined dis-stress as a condition that exists when family life gets out of control. Ms. Curran lists the following symptoms of a constantly stressful family:
- A constant sense of urgency and hurried; no time to release and relax
- Tension that underlies and causes sharp words, sibling fighting, misunderstandings
- A mania to escape -to one’s room, car, garage, away
- Feelings of frustration over not getting things done
- A feeling that time is passing too quickly; children are growing up too fast
- A nagging desire for a simpler life; constant talk about times that were or will be simpler
- Little “me” or couple time
- A pervasive sense of guilt for not being and doing everything to and for all the people in one’s life
TOP 20 Family Stresses
The following list of stresses were not highly ranked, so they were dropped from the final survey. They include some everyday stresses, major crisis situations or pervasive individual issues. They were not as common, however, will still benefit by the helpful strategies given in the book.
Nuclear and environmental fears
Older parents church and school activities
Relationship with former spouse
Change and work patterns
Now we will list the rankings for Married Women, Married Men and Single Mothers.
|FAMILY STRESSES||MARRIED MEN||MARRIED WOMEN||SINGLE MOTHERS|
|2.||Insufficient couple of time||Lack of shared responsibility in the family||Guilt for not accomplishing more|
|3.||Communicating with children||Insufficient couple of time||Insufficient “me” time|
|4.||Children’s behavior/ discipline/ sibling fighting||Children’s behavior/ discipline/ sibling fighting||Self-image/self-esteem/ feelings of unattractiveness|
|5.||Spousal relationship (communication, friendship, sex)||Housekeeping standards||Children’s behavior/ discipline/ sibling fighting|
|6.||Over a scheduled family calendar||Insufficient “me” time||Unhappiness with work situation|
|7.||Insufficient “me” time||Guilt for not accomplishing more||Housekeeping standards|
|8.||Unhappiness with work situation||Insufficient family play time||Communicating with children|
|9.||Insufficient family play time||Spousal relationship (communication, friendship, sex)||Insufficient family play time|
|10.||Television||Self-image/self-esteem/ feelings of unattractiveness||Lack of shared responsibility in the family|
Source: Curran, D. (n.d.). Stress and the Healthy Family.
Next: How perspective is vital in managing Stress and Crisis.