This study aimed to compare family stresses, strengths, and outcomes after motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds, and coronary artery bypass graft surgery. A multivariate descriptive design based on the resiliency model of family stress was used. A convenience sample of 127 family members participated within 2 days of admission to the intensive care unit. Family stresses were measured using the Family Inventory of Life Events and the Acute Physiology, Age, and Chronic Health Evaluation Scale (APACHE III). Family strengths were measured by the Family Hardiness Index and the Family Crisis Oriented Personal Evaluation Scale. Family outcomes were measured by the Family Member Well-Being Index and the Family Adaptation Scale. Family members ranged in age from 18 to 80 years (Mean, 42 years). Most of the participants in the study were women (64%) with previous intensive care unit experience (83%). The patients ranged in age from 19 to 78 years (Mean, 44 years). Multivariate analysis of variance was used to control for group differences in family member age, education, and income along with patient age and race. The results indicated that family members of patients who have experienced motor vehicle crashes, gunshot wounds, or coronary artery bypass graft surgery reported no significant differences in family strengths of hardiness and family outcomes of well-being and adaptation. However, families of patients with gunshot wounds reported significantly more stress (F = 7.94; P < 0.01) and less use of coping strategies (F = 4.33; P < 0.01) than families of patients who have experienced motor vehicle crashes or coronary artery bypass graft surgery. Interventions that address family stress and develop or mobilize coping are needed for selected families after admission of a family member to the intensive care unit.
Psychosocial Issues| February 01 2003
Comparison of Family Stresses, Strengths, and Outcomes After Trauma and Surgery
Jane S. Leske, PhD, RN
From the University of WI-Milwaukee: Milwaukee, Wis.
Reprint requests to Jane S. Leske, PhD, RN, University of WI-Milwaukee, School of Nursing, P.O. Box 413, 1921 E. Hartford Avenue, Milwaukee: WI 53211 (e-mail: email@example.com).
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AACN Adv Crit Care (2003) 14 (1): 33–41.
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Jane S. Leske; Comparison of Family Stresses, Strengths, and Outcomes After Trauma and Surgery. AACN Adv Crit Care 1 February 2003; 14 (1): 33–41. doi:
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