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Chapter 4: Communication within the Stress and Coping ProcessCommunication- A symbolic process through which meaning is made. Communication- a dynamic, complex, and fluid process that changes over time and across relationships. Information exchanged is an important component of the communication process within familiesconceptualizing communication as an exchange of information via interaction paints a picture of communication as static, straight-forward, and easily accomplishedHow professionals discuss communication:Psychologist- in the context of social support, where communication is implied, but not directly studied, as the way we seek help from others in times of needCommunication scholars- view social support as a dynamic process influenced by the messages family members simultaneously send and receive in times of stress – a process that sometimes results in unhelpful supportFamily sociologist- suggest that openness and family cohesion are best practices for families under stressSymbolic- the meaning associated with verbal and nonverbal messages. Different people can have different meanings for the same word, phrase, or actionProcess- Implies that communication is always changingMeaning-Making- Our understandings about things, events, and relationships (their meaning) emerge through our interactions with othersFamilies create their own social world, in which meaning emerges as family members “interact with each other: as they share time, space, and life experiences; and as they talk with each others and dialogue about these experiences A Communication-Based Coping ModelThe communication-based model of the coping process identifies the varying roles communication plays throughout the process to better understand the full range of family communication during times of stress.
The multi-headed arrows indicate that the stressor, resource, perception, coping, and outcome factors all interact with one another as families face stressful situations Communication is within each of the five major factorsCommunication as a Source of StressCommunication as stress happens when:o Communication or relational needs are not being met within the family systemo The relationships within the family are troubled o The messages or the interactions are stress-provokingExamples: o Messages can be a significant source of stress o Hurtful interactions between romantic partners would elicit a physiological stress response in the recipienet because such messages potentially pose a thereat to out self-identity and or relational identityo Social allergens (noisy bleaching) o Aggressive acts o Teasing/ bullyingFeelings of hurt are associated with short term spikes in the stress hormone cortisol Communication as a Symptom of StressA family crisis can influence the communication among family members. Family members may:
o Distance themselves emotionally o Act out against one another verbally and physicallyWhen a family is in crisis, the focus shifts from the family to the individualo This shift in focus may lead to doubts about family members commitment to one another, which can significantly influence communicative activity among family membersFamily members may act out against one another, verbally or physically venting their frustrations and negative emotions Communication as Meaning-MakingFamily members collectively construct meanings through interaction as they share life experiences and talk with one another about these experiences.Families make sense of stressful circumstances through stories and narratives they create in the meaning-making process. The “C” factor in Hill’s ABC-X model Storytelling could be a meaning0making activity o Some say that telling a story about a stressful event allows an individual to express emotions and or cognitively make sense of the trauma, which in turn allows the individual to ‘let go’ of the memory and move on from potentially unhealthy ruminations Communication as a ResourceSocial support as a resource is a “social ‘fund’ from which people may draw when handling stressors” Family communication is also an important coping resource. A family’s ability to use communication as a resource during stressful times may depend on family members’ internal working models of communication and relationships. o Conversation OrientationCharacterized by supportive and open communication Concerned with open discussion of ideas with parents and childrenPredicts outcomes such as improved mental/physical health, self-esteem, family cohesion, and relational satisfaction o Conformity OrientationCharacterized by conformity and control
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School: Florida State University
Department: Child and Family Studies
Course: Stress and Resilience in the Family
Professor: Kristen Greene
Term: Fall 2016
Name: Week 5 FAD 3432 Notes
Description: These notes cover the material from week 5