Families and Chronic Illness

Module Sections:

ABC-X Model

Under the umbrella of “stress theory” falls one of the most influential models of stress: the ABCX Family Crisis Model (Hill, 1949; 1958; hereafter ABCX Model). This model goes beyond a focus on the individual, and looks at the ways in which families adapt to stressful situations (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983). While collectively focusing on families, the ABCX Model incorporates individual family members’ input and contributions to dealing with a stressor. In this regard, Hill (1949, 1958) was able to take a holistic view, or a systemic view, and see the forest (i.e., family) as comprised of individual and unique trees (i.e., individual family members). Without the individual trees, there would be no forest. From a historical perspective, Hill’s research was advanced in that it was created during a time replete with individually focused, intrapsychic theories. What is more, the ABCX Model has withstood careful assessment since its inception in 1958 (McCubbin & Patterson, 1983; Burr, 1973).