Families and Stress
- What happens to families when there are problems that cause stress how do families adapt to
- Alcoholism in the family and how it impacts the system.
- Who decides when a problem is a problem?
o It is very subjective deciding whether something is a problem is based on beliefs and
beliefs, values and norms can change over time. What is seen as a problem in the past
might not be seen as a problem in the present.
Ex: designation of homosexuality as a problem in the past. How this problem is
understood over time changes depending on the changes of values.
In the past homosexuality was seen as a problem. Well look at
homosexuality to look at how something can be designated as a
problem and how the problematic nature can evolve and change over
Canada and European natures, homosexuality was designated as a
problem for a very long time; it was seen as problem by the Roman
Catholic and Christian church. In terms of its theology and nature they
designated homosexuality as a sin, the type of sexual activity between
people of the same sex was a sin because it was unnatural. By the 15 th
century the Roman Catholic Church and Christian churches that
stemmed from it deemed certain type of sexual acts as natural and
unnatural those that were unnatural were sinful. Engaging in sex that
wasnt to make children was a sin; any sex that was done in lust was
sinful. The only natural way and non-sinful way to have sex is between
two heterosexual human beings for making children. Any sex that
wasnt for the purpose of having a child was based on lust and that lust
was seen as a sin they werent concerned that people were of the
same sex were having sex it was that people of the same sex wouldnt
be having sex for children and so the only reason would be lust and
that lust was seen as a sin.
Homosexuality as a Problem
- Over the centuries, homosexuality has been seen as a problem for individuals, society and
- Although the understanding of that problem has changed.
- By the 12 century, homosexuality deemed a sin unnatural acts
- By 1500s, sodomy and obscenity laws criminalized homosexuality.
o Sodomy = anal intercourse between two men, was criminalized by the early 1500s and
was a capital offense (death penalty) by France and Britain and therefore also Canada.
o Obscenity laws = things that were seen as offensive, didnt have the death penalty. o If you have enough of society being drawn into the lack of ability to control things like
lust, you could bring about the damnation of the entire society.
o Having sex for fun and anal sex was seen as a sin and criminal act.
- 1800s, combines with concepts of appropriate sexuality.
o Victorian era the only form of appropriate sexual expression was between a married
man and women mostly for the purpose of having children but they allowed some sex
for fun. This makes homosexuality a bigger threat to society because they didnt have
sex between a man and women, they were the same sex.
o Victorians believed that one who deviated from the norms of society had a fundamental
flaw and was seen as intrinsic for the person if you were an immoral person you
wouldnt be able to follow the moral rules if you couldnt follow the moral rules, then
you had a fundamental flaw.
o If you were to engage in same sex times at any time, were immoral and deviant and
prone to criminalized behaviour.
- Seen as deviant and a threat to family.
o If one is deviant then they are problematic in the family medical science was
developing. One concept was that men had a limited amount of seed (sperm) and so
someone that engaged in unnecessary sexual acts (sodomy, masturbation) was wasting
their seed and using their energy and so it would have physical ramifications believed
that masturbation could lead to blindness.
- Medical and psychological theories develop by the mid 1800s.
o Theories would construe homosexuality as a physical or psychological defect of some
kids. They recognized homosexuality as a type of person they were homosexual
people, not just people who engaged in same sex sex.
- By the mid-20 century, homosexuality was constructed more as a form of mental illness
o By 1950s was seen by as a mental illness.
o However by the mid 20 century, the fact that it was a sin was also diminished b/c
influence of the church was diminished.
o The psychological community gained more influence over society than the church the
fact that it was a mental illness was becoming more acceptable and the government
decriminalized homosexuality it wasnt a result of campaigning by the GLC and society,
instead it was pressure from the medical and psychological community that
homosexuality was a mental illness and had to be dealt with by the psychological and
medical department rather than the law.
- Rather than as criminal or sinful
- The gay and lesbian rights movement would challenge this construct.
o They had to go against that homosexuality was a problem and that it was caused by
- Gay pride
o To challenge the concept of homosexuality as problematic by society and by individuals.
o Oldest LGBTQ communities is GLOW at UW. o Gay pride liberation movement. They challenged the concept that homosexuality was
a problem mental illness, or a problem overall. Wanted to show that homosexuality
was natural and something that was good they wanted to redefine the homosexuality
issue and make challenge the current homosexuality issue.
Defining the Problem:
- Dominant groups in society who define what is a problem
- Gatekeepers: these are people or institutions that have a recognized experience or role in
identifying problems and have the authority to label individuals or groups as being the source of
- The dominant group is the one that sets the values and norms.
- Social regulation the means why which the norms and values and accepted behaviours of a
society are shaped and reinforced.
o Can be something as straight forwards as laws or gatekeepers (psychological or medical
Family Response to Problems:
- ABCX model of response by Reubin Hill.
- A is the stressor event. ex: loss of job by primary bread winner is a stressor a stressful event
that impacts the family unit.
- The impact of the stressor is affected by the familys resources (financial resources family
savings, they need money to pay for lawyers, or have money to tie over while the person is
looking for a job, knowledge does the family have knowledge or know somebody who is good
at job search skills or can access resume building facilities. B factor.
- C factor response of family to the stressor is also affected by the way family members view
the event. Ex: if you take the case of somebody being charged by a criminal offense the family
can feel shame and it can increase the tension of the family or they can feel victimized. These
factors come together in complex ways and produce the X-factor.
- These factors interact to produce the X factor the crisis. To what extent the family goes into
crisis is based on the ABC factors and how the family will find solutions to the problems facing
them. Often they need to look for new solutions this is affected by the way they respond to
the situation, or their resources. Need to find constructional solutions educating themselves
on how to find a job, etc. When the family feels like they are being targeted it can bring the
family closer however it isnt a good way to solve the problem.
- A family is in crisis when there is an imbalance in the demands placed on the family and their
ability to meet those demands.
- Family need to find new ways of finding solutions
o Functional or Dysfunctional. Alcoholic Family System
- Alcohol like any other substance abuse is defined by society, like other social problems.
- The acceptance of alcohol use varies among cultures and across time periods.
- In 1800s to early 20 century any alcohol use was seen as a moral flaw and a cause of
deviance. They saw drinking any alcohol as a lack of control to control their desires and this
inability to control the desire to engage in unmoral acts was seen as a flaw and they were seen