Nursing diagnosis Disturbed family identity syndrome

Disturbed family identity syndrome

Disturbed family identity syndrome

Domain 7. Role relationship
Class 2. Family relationships
Diagnostic Code: 00283
Nanda label: Disturbed family identity syndrome
Diagnostic focus: Disturbed family identity syndrome

Table of Contents

Introduction to Nursing Diagnosis: Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome

Family identity is the understanding individuals have about their family lineage and the associated roles and expectations. Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome (DFIS) occurs when a person has difficulty relating to their family in both a physical and emotional sense; they cannot identify with their family structure and culture. With DFIS, people may feel alienated and withdrawn from their family identity, which can lead to feelings of confusion, isolation, and stress.

NANDA Nursing Diagnosis Definition

NANDA's nursing diagnosis definition of a disturbed family identity syndrome (DSIF) states that it is a feeling of disconnection or alienation from one’s family system, resulting in feelings of helplessness and fear.

Defining Characteristics

Subjectively, a person suffering from DFIS may express feelings of being disconnected from their family or personhood, feeling as if they do not belong. Withdrawal from physical involvement in family activities, refusal to take part in family traditions, lack of regard for family obligations, and inability to identify with familial roles may all be signs of distress. Objectively, physiological signs of stress such as pain, headaches, sleeplessness, or weight loss may be present.

Related Factors

Related to development of DFIS, significant life changes at home, among family members, or on a cultural level may be factors. This includes relocation, death or illness of a family member, or societal changes in values or gender roles. Other risk factors linked to family identity disruption include living in a lower-income environment, lack of parental attendance, and/or witnessing violent crime.

At Risk Population

Those at most risk of developing DFIS are members of racial or ethnic minority groups (including those returning from refugee camps) and those who have experienced trauma or environmental disasters. Additionally, adults aged 65 and over may be at a greater risk, due to diminishing mental health and perceived independence.

Associated Conditions

Individuals suffering from DFIS may exhibit compulsive behaviors as methods of escaping reality, or as an way to cope with living within an unsupportive family system. Depressive disorders, anxiety related conditions, self neglect, and suicidal tendencies may also appear in someone suffering from DFIS.

Suggestions of Use

DFIS can be addressed through therapy, especially if underlying causes remain unidentified. Group therapy, self-reflection therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy have proven to be effective in treating DFIS. Healthcare practitioners should also encompass creative therapies to treat DFIS, such as music, art, writing, animal-assisted therapies, and movement therapies.

Suggested Alternative NANDA Nursing Diagnosis

In addition to DFIS, there are other NANDA diagnoses which may present, on their own or alongside DFIS. These diagnoses include Social Isolation, Powerlessness, Health Deviance Behavior, Loneliness, and role Discrepancy.

Usage Tips

When addressing clients diagnosed with DFIS, healthcare practitioners should strive to do so with respect and empathy. Furthermore, it is important to recognize the role of family in governing human behavior and to ensure that any guidance given does not contradict values or beliefs held by the family. Implementing reflect techniques, inviting cultural interpreters into counseling settings, or engaging in transgenerational interventions can help increase the sense of community and bridge the gap of understanding and appreciation for different generations and their stories.

NOC Outcomes

Nursing Outcome Classification (NOC) outcomes associated with DFIS are:

  • Expressed Emotional Meaning
  • Family Process Maintenance
  • Power
  • Role Performance
  • Self-Care Requirement Level
  • Spiritual Well-Being
  • Sustained Optimistic Mood
  • Therapeutic Communication

Each of these outcomes measure the patient’s ability to cope with the changes and challenges brought about by DFIS.

Evaluation Objectives and Criteria

When evaluating a DFIS diagnosis, healthcare practitioners should be particularly alert to potential triggers. Self-reported distress levels (e.g., reported feelings of disconnection and alienation) should be documented, as well as statements expressing ambivalence towards family roles and expectations. In addition, attending to behavioral changes, both positive and negative, can provide insight into the cause and effect of DFIS.

NIC Interventions

When treating DFIS, practitioners can employ Nursing Interventions Classification (NIC) interventions such as:

  • Assessment of Family Dynamics
  • Family Integrity Promotion
  • Family Support Facilitation
  • Presence Therapy
  • Relaxation Training
  • Social Environment Therapy

Incorporating these interventions will allow the patient to regain a sense of familial stability and security, ultimately aiding in their journey toward recovery.

Nursing Activities

When working with DFIS patients, healthcare practitioners should strive to bring about empowered solutions. Such programs involve sports, reading, journaling, painting, writing, dancing and spiritual activities that connect the patient back to themselves and to their family. Practitioners should focus on increasing family connectivity, providing education to families longing to understand their challenge, and stating goals according to a plan of action. Discussions regarding challenges, strategies and coping mechanisms should be used to attain desired outcomes while considering the patient’s cultural background and personal beliefs.


Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome can cause feelings of helplessness, fear, and hopelessness in those affected. By providing recognition and appropriate treatment, healthcare providers can assist family members in reconnecting with their relatives and rebuilding their familial bond.

5 FAQs about Nursing Diagnosis: Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome

  • What is Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome? Disturbed Family Identity Syndrome (DFIS) occurs when a person has difficulty identifying or connecting with their family in a physical or emotional sense. This can lead to feelings of confusion, rejection, and loneliness.
  • What are some symptoms of DFIS? Emotionally, a person suffering from DFIS may express feelings of being disconnected from their family or personhood, disbelief in family roles, and withdrawal from engaging in family activities. Physically, individuals with DFIS may exhibit signs of stress such as headaches, aches, sleeplessness and weight loss.
  • Who is most at risk for DFIS? Those at most risk of developing DFIS are members of racial or ethnic minority groups, refugees, victims of trauma or environmental disasters, those living in lower-income conditions, and adults aged 65 and over.
  • What is the preferred treatment for DFIS? Therapies such as group therapy, self-reflection therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and creative therapies like art, music, writing and movement, are known to have positive effects in treating DFIS.
  • What are some NOC Outcomes associated with DFIS? Nursing Outcome Classification (NOC) outcomes associated with DFIS are Expressed Emotional Meaning, Family Processes Maintenance, Power, Role Performance, Self-Care Requirements Level, Spiritual Well-Being, Sustained Optimistic Mood, and Therapeutic Communication.
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