IPT Book Reviews

Title: Stress, Coping, and Resiliency in Children and Families  Positive Review
Editors: E. Mavis Hetherington and Elaine A. Blechman
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1996

Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.
10 Industrial Avenue
Mahwah, NJ 07430-2262
(800) 926-6579
$22.50 (c)

Stress is a universal human experience but there has not been a great amount of research on how persons, families, and groups may adapt to it and cope successfully with it. In eight chapters by different authors, this 245-page book summarizes that body of research dealing with families and shapes it into a comprehensive body of knowledge.

The first two chapters present a theoretical model and a discussion of the problems and opportunities in research in the area. An interesting finding is that girls are more at risk for nonauthoritative aversive parenting when the parents are emotionally under stress. Chapter 3 examines the effects of parenting under stress in the development of behavior problems. There appears to be an interaction so that when children show more problems parental stress is increased, which leads to more problems. Chapter 4 describes how families with effective communication skills support the development of coping skills. Supportive family life decreases the impact of stressful experiences. Intact families tend to show more family support.

The Georgia Longitudinal study is reported in Chapter 5. This study supports the importance of the interaction of child characteristics with parenting styles. It is somewhat different than other longitudinal research in finding that family risk factors relate only to internalizing behaviors, not externalizing. Chapters 6 and 7 report on research findings for poor, Afro American, and rural families. The final chapter proposes a model for attentional processes as the basis for encouraging the development of resilience and coping skills to handle stressful life experiences.

This is a good book which can be helpful to those who want to learn about positive influences in coping with stress.

Reviewed by Ralph Underwager, Institute for Psychological Therapies.

Order this book: Hardcover

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