Family Stressor Events, Family Coping, and Adolescent Adaptation in Farm and Ranch Families

By Plunkett, Scott W.; Henry, Carolyn S. et al. | Adolescence, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Family Stressor Events, Family Coping, and Adolescent Adaptation in Farm and Ranch Families


Plunkett, Scott W., Henry, Carolyn S., Knaub, Patricia K., Adolescence


Beginning in the late 1970s and continuing through the 1980s, farm and ranch families in the United States faced a period of economic distress commonly referred to as the "farm crisis" (Keating, 1987). Despite extensive economic adversity in major agricultural areas, the adaptation of families varied widely. The emphasis of much of the research on these families has been on the vulnerability of adults to individual and family stress. Yet, as Jurich and Russell (1987) observed, children and adolescents were also vulnerable.

Understanding rural communities today requires knowledge of the historical context (Little, Proulx, Marlowe, & Knaub, 1987). American farm families have a long history of economic hardships (Little et al., 1987), and future periods of economic instability are possible due to adverse weather or changes in market conditions (McCubbin, Thompson, Thompson, & Elver, 1994). Further exploration of data gathered during the farm crisis can thus provide valuable insights for family life professionals. Using information collected in the mid-1980s, the present study utilized family stress theory to explore adaptation of adolescents in farm and ranch families. Specifically, it examined the relationship of selected demographic variables, family stressor events, and family coping strategies to three indicators of adolescent adaptation (individual stress, family stress, and family life satisfaction).

ADOLESCENT ADAPTATION

Family Stress Theory

According to family stress theory, there are several indicators of family adaptation to stressor events. One is the adaptation of individual family members, including adolescents (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983). Olson et al. (1983) and McCubbin et al. (1988) have noted that such factors as the perceived levels of individual and family stress serve as markers of adaptation. Thus, adaptation encompasses a variety of variables, including adolescents' perceptions of their own level of stress and their perceptions of stress in the overall family unit. Research has revealed relationships between stress in rural families and several indicators of adaptation, such as family violence, substance abuse, and suicide (Davidson, 1990; Jurich & Russell, 1987; Lasley, 1994).

Another indicator of adaptation is the degree of family life satisfaction (Henry, 1994; McCubbin, Thompson, Pirner, & McCubbin, 1988). Research has found that adolescent satisfaction with family life is related to increased emotional disclosure with parents (Papini, Farmer, Clark, Micka, & Barnett, 1990), greater compliance with parental expectations (Schumm, Bugaighis, Jurich, & Bollman, 1986), increased quality of life (Schumm, Bugaighis, Bollman, & Jurich, 1986), and overall life satisfaction (Olson et al, 1983). Farm and ranch families are often characterized by interaction patterns that encompass both family dynamics and business functions (Lasley, 1994), and additional information is needed on the satisfaction of adolescents within these families.

Based on family stress theory, variations in adolescent adaptation are explained by the nature of family stressor events, existing resources, and family definitions (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983). Family coping strategies represent a combination of the meaning families attribute to events and how they utilize resources as they attempt to manage stressor events (McCubbin, Larsen, & Olson, 1982).

Family Stressor Events

McCubbin and McCubbin (1989) observed that family stress rarely occurs in a vacuum. Rather, families under stress often encounter a pileup of stressors, or an accumulation of life events or transitions that place demands upon the family system. Change occurring for any family member may have implications for other members and the overall family system. Peeks (1989), for example, noted that transitions in farm families may result in the inability of family members to reorganize successfully, increased feelings of depression, loss of self-esteem, increased behavior problems, and heightened levels of stress. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Family Stressor Events, Family Coping, and Adolescent Adaptation in Farm and Ranch Families
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.