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The Stress Continuum Model
The course of family life is not always smooth. With challenges come the potential for difficulties as well as opportunities. Family stress can be defined as an imbalance between demands on the family and the family's ability to meet those demands. Examples of stressors include hardships such as a chronically ill child or a normal change in a family member's development, such as a family member becoming a teen. How the family perceives the stressor will have a great effect on its impact. This perception reflects the family values and its previous experience in dealing with change and meeting crises. Lack of personal time may be a major concern of family members caring for someone with a chronic illness. Hospitalization of a child is stressful for a family. Family concerns may also exacerbate work-related stress. Families who do a good job of managing stress have the following characteristics:
The Navy's Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is designed to assist sailors by addressing the special needs of their exceptional family members (EFM) during the assignment process. Special needs include any special medical, dental, mental health, developmental or educational requirement, wheelchair accessibility, adaptive equipment or assistive technology devices and services.
In the Navy EFM program, the primary task is the Personnel Function. The Navy EFMP Coordinators are located at the medical treatment facility not at the Fleet and Family Support Centers (all Fleet and Family Support Centers have an EFMP liaison). The Navy EFMP Coordinators serve both Personnel and Family Support functions, but with an emphasis on the Personnel function.
There are a number of ways that leaders can be supportive of families with special needs:
A family's resources for meeting the demands of a stressor will play a large role in how well they handle stress. Resources include the family's ability to solve problems, the goals of the family, relatives and friends, and services in the community. The Navy EFMP Coordinators are located at the MTF. The Navy EMFP Coordinators serve both personnel and family support functions, with an emphasis upon the personnel function.
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