Course Syllabus

Course Description

This course is a study of families under stress, including the many external and internal influences that play a role in determining a family's experience of stress. An ecological model will be used to understand potential risk factors that pose problems for families, along with protective factors that help families to be resilient. An applied focus will be maintained to learn of ways to help families under stress.

Course Outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how stress affects the individual physiologically and emotionally, and appreciate the reciprocal influence between the individual, the family unit, and larger cultural influences.
  2. Assess how a family system is affected by stress, including healthy and unhealthy coping processes families use when dealing with stress.
  3. Understand theory and research on family stress and family resilience.
  4. Evaluate the usefulness of family stress models.
  5. Apply those models to develop greater understanding and insight into real-life family problems and situations.
  6. Understand and apply gospel principles associated with helping individuals and families to overcome adversity and heal.

Learning Model Architecture

Students will prepare by completing the assigned readings each week. Students will teach one another as they participate in discussion boards, review and collaborate on case studies, and participate in weekly activities. Finally, students will ponder and prove by applying learned concepts in papers, exams, and a project.


Junior or Senior standing.

Required Materials

  • Webcam & microphone (or smartphone)
  • All other resources are accessible in the course for free.

Grading Policies

Grading Scale

This course will use the standard BYU-Idaho grading scale:

Letter Grade Percentage Range
A 100% – 93%
A- 92% – 90%
B+ 89% – 87%
B 86% – 83%
B- 82% – 80%
C+ 79% – 77%
C 76% – 73%
C- 72% – 70%
D+ 69% – 67%
D 66% – 63%
D- 62% – 60%
F 59% – 00%

Grade Components

Grades will be calculated as follows:

Weekly Learning Activities 40%
Case Studies (individual and group) 30%
Papers 15%
Final Assessment Project 15%

Weekly Learning Activities

Throughout the semester, there will be a variety of smaller learning activities to help you develop and demonstrate skills relative to this course. These may include small quizzes, practice exercises, discussion boards, etc.

Please don't overlook or minimize the significance of these activities; their cumulative effects are great, both in terms of learning and assessment. Most importantly, each activity provides opportunities to both demonstrate and develop your skills and knowledge. None of these weekly activities is "busy work" and all were created as a means of challenging and practicing your abilities on the topics of the week.

Case Studies

As noted above, case studies will be used throughout the course with the intent of providing opportunities to learn via authentic individual and family experiences. A combination of methods will be used to facilitate discussion of the cases in class, but it is imperative that students are prepared to fully engage in professional-quality discussions, both teaching and learning together.

Students will be responsible for helping to facilitate the discussions and to make observations and other contributions that are thoughtful, germane, and useful in building our combined skill sets. Students will carefully review the cases to determine the nature of stressors, realistic dangers and opportunities associated with the stressors, principles and theories applying to the case, proposed responses to the challenges, and suggestions for offering outside assistance. Grades will be based on the quality of contributions.


Two papers are required. Each should be written in APA format.

Final Assessment Project

Near the end of the semester, students will complete a family interview and then an academic paper discussing findings from this interview. This two part assignment will serve as the final for the course and will allow demonstration of analysis and assessment skills. Students will apply models, theories, and demonstrate proficiency in integration and application of course concepts through this final paper.


Turnitin is an electronic text matching system which compares a student assignment against a database of sources and generates an originality report. The report highlights any "matched" text, calculates a Turnitin Similarity score for the matched text, and provides links for the matched text to the original source document, or a similar document on its database. Turnitin scores are calculated for every assignment in this course.

Synchronous Group Meetings

During the semester, you will have three opportunities to meet with classmates for live discussions. These meetings will be conducted via Zoom. You will be able to choose a meeting time based on your availability that week. Failure to attend and participate fully in these meetings will result in a zero for that assignment. You are required to have a working webcam and microphone for these meetings. (A smartphone will work.)

Zoom Assignments

Zoom is a free web conferencing tool required in this course. The main use of Zoom is to hold a virtual meeting on the web. You can also share your desktop display and record a Zoom session. It is considered both a “video conferencing” and a “web conferencing” tool, fulfilling the functionality of both. All BYU-Idaho students may obtain their own Zoom account. You will log in with your BYU-I credentials.

If you are the “host,” you can invite group members to join a meeting by simply providing them with a URL. 

Zoom will be used three times during the semester to facilitate synchronous meetings in small groups. Each meeting must be recorded so that the instructor can review student preparation and participation, and grade each group and group member accordingly.

Please understand that there is no alternative to these Zoom assignments, and that failing to attend a Zoom meeting will make it impossible for you to complete these assignments. You are encouraged to become familiar and play around with Zoom ahead of your first assignment that requires its use. Tutorials are provided in the course as well as through Zoom's Help Guide.

Technical Support

If you need technical assistance, use the I-learn "Help" button located on the left side of your screen to contact the appropriate support center (either BYU-Idaho Help or BYU-Pathway Help). 

Course Philosophy

The greatest interest of this course is to primarily focus on "formative assessment" (teaching feedback and encouragement) as opposed to "auditive assessment" (traditional grading). Therefore, most of the assignments and grading will be based upon completion and participation. It is expected that students will give their best to learning, and the student is likely to be the best judge as to how well that has been accomplished. While your instructor will be committed to facilitate learning opportunities, you will be expected to do likewise.

Program Statement for Marriage and Family Studies

March 2021

As the world is becoming more diverse in its values and perspectives on marriage and the family, it becomes increasingly important that students and faculty understand our mission as a major in Marriage and Family Studies at BYU-Idaho. Consistent with the University, our mission is to prepare family life professionals to strengthen families throughout the world as true disciples of Jesus Christ, as outlined in the doctrines and teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Regardless of current or future philosophies or practices related to the family unit, the major of Marriage and Family Studies at BYU-Idaho is built upon The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Although this program will explore a variety of views and perspectives on the family, and each student is entitled to his or her own beliefs, it will emphasize research and theory and be guided by eternal truths as taught by the Lord’s prophets. In short, our major strives to follow the admonition from President Dallin H. Oaks that “every generation has its tests and its chance to stand and prove itself. I believe our attitude toward and use of the family proclamation is one of those tests for this generation. I pray for all Latter-day Saints to stand firm in that test.” (from “The Plan and the Proclamation,” October 2017 General Conference)


Department Policy Regarding Intellectual Property and Course Materials

All of the materials in this course are covered by fair use and copyright law and are proprietary (intellectual property). Students are not permitted to sell, post, trade, share, distribute, or send any information contained in this course (including outlines, handouts, syllabi, exams, quizzes, PowerPoint presentations, lectures, audio and video recordings, or images of the same, etc., including your own work for this course) to any parties outside of this course (i.e., Course Hero, Quizlet, Google Docs, etc.) by any means without the expressed written permission from the creator of these works and the department chair. Any of these actions violate the Academic Honesty Policies of Brigham Young University-Idaho and will be dealt with as such.

The materials in this course are also intellectual property and taking any materials from the course and posting them outside of this course in any manner will be construed as theft and distribution of intellectual property. If you engage in any of these actions, or use any of these materials without authorization, the instructor has the right to impose an appropriate academic sanction (e.g., give you a failing grade for the assignment and/or fail you from the course). Additionally, the respective Course Lead, Program Lead, and/or department chair also reserve the right to impose appropriate academic sanctions regardless of any imposed by the instructor.

University Policies

Students with Disabilities

Brigham Young University-Idaho is committed to providing a working and learning atmosphere that accommodates qualified persons with disabilities. If you have a disability and require accommodations, please contact the Disability Services Office at (208) 496-9210 or visit their website and follow the Steps for Receiving Accommodations. Reasonable academic accommodations are reviewed for all students who have qualified documented disabilities. Services are coordinated with students and instructors by the Disability Services Office.

This course requires synchronous meetings. If you are currently registered with the Disability Services Office and need an interpreter or transcriber for these meetings, please contact the deaf and hard of hearing coordinator at (208) 496-9219.

Other University Policies

Student Honor and Other Policies

Please read through the document called University Policies. It gives important information about the following topics:

  • Student Honor
    • Academic Honesty
    • Student Conduct
      • Sexual Harassment
    • Student with Disabilities
    • Complaints and Grievances
    • Copyright Notice

Go to the Student Resources module to review further resources and information.

Course Summary:

Date Details Due