Families and Change: Coping with Stressful Events and Transitions (2Nd. Ed)

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Families and Change: Coping With Stressful Events and Transitions (2nd ed.). Patrick C. McKenry and Sharon J. Price (Eds.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. 2000. 442 pp. ISBN 0-7619-- 1943-4. $85.00 cloth, $39.95 paper.

Patrick McKenry and Sharon Price have assembled a volume that includes a comprehensive range of topics related to families coping with change. There are chapters dealing with normative transitions (e.g., the transition to parenthood, aging, death), nonnormative experiences (e.g., family violence, divorce, physical illness), both chronic and acute stressors, and transitions that occur across the family life cycle. Three chapters deal specifically with the unique experiences of Black families, immigrant families, and gay and lesbian families.

The conceptual framework for the volume is Hill's ABC-X model of family stress and McCubbin and Patterson's Double ABC-X model. The first chapter does an excellent job of introducing these theoretical perspectives to the reader. The chapters that follow are supposedly grounded in this theoretical perspective, although some chapters adhere to this goal more closely than others do. Velma Murry's chapter does an exceptional job of reviewing research on Black American families within this theoretical framework, but the chapter also points out shortcomings of it. She then introduces the reader to the Mundane Extreme Environmental Stress model, a modification of the traditional ABC-X model of family stress that incorporates the continuous stress associated with living with racism and discrimination into the model.

To the credit of the editors and the contributors, the chapters are without exception interesting, informative, well-organized, and highly readable. Students will likely find Sabatelli and Chadwick's chapter on marital distress to be fascinating. Subtitled "From Complaints to Contempt," this chapter explores "the journey many couples make from intimacy and hope to hostility and despair" (p. …