Successful families are not isolated; they are connected to the wider society. One effect of such a connection is the subsequent availability of external resources, identified by researchers as important to effective coping by families. An intervention study by Cowan and Cowan offers support for the importance of social support in overcoming a stressful period in family life. In their research, they identified couples who were childless but planning to have their first child soon. This time period, the birth of a first child, is often identified as a particularly stressful one for families. Intervention consisted of group meetings at which couples discussed problems and issues pertinent to the arrival of a first child, and the husband-wife relationship. The authors provide evidence, based on comparisons to control groups receiving no intervention, that this form of social support was helpful in the partner's transition to parenthood (Cowan and Cowan, 1987).
One way to measure social connectedness is to ask families to identify those external resources available to them