Families and Chronic Illness

Module Sections:

Double ABC-X Model

In 1983, McCubbin & Patterson decided to add to Hill’s ABCX Model to include factors they described as “post-crisis variables.” They created the Double ABCX Model, which is used to describe the family stress response or Family Adjustment and Adaptation Response (FAAR). McCubbin & Patterson (1983) posit that families rarely experience one stressor, or stress event, at a time. Rather, they assert that families face multiple stressors, which may occur simultaneously. These multiple stressors “pile-up” over time, especially after major life stressors (e.g., death of a family member, losing stable employment, or diagnosis of a chronic illness). This pile-up of stressors (aA) is labeled the “double A” factor in their post-crisis addition to Hill’s (1949, 1958) ABCX Model. The family’s adaptive resources (bB) are the "double B" factor, and the family’s change in definition and meaning of the “total crisis situation” (cC) is labeled the “double C” factor. If the family is able to utilize and implement bB and cC in effective ways when aA occurs, then their “xX” (i.e., family adaptation balancing) is said to lead to bonadaptation (i.e., positive adaptation). If the family is not able to use these factors effectively, the results generally lead to maladaptation (i.e., poor adaptation; pp. 15-17), which then exacerbate the pile-up of stressors.

ABCX Model Chart

Let’s now discuss each component of the ABCX Model and the Double ABCX Model in more detail.