IMPLICATIONS FOR RESEARCH AND THEORY
Three separate lines of research are fundamental to supporting individuals and families in their long term planning activities. First, a basic inquiry documenting how families approach planning and which strategies and processes are most effective is needed. The problem solving, decision making, stress/coping literature can provide a starting point, but much more information is needed on who is involved in therapeutic and supportive plans, how such plans are implemented and modified and which issues are of concern to families. Second, families need better information on means-ends connections and risk factors. Meta-analysis of the findings of family and development studies could be especially useful to both family units and those who design and deliver programs to families. Third, educational and therapeutic intervention and social policy development could benefit from research on the learning of knowledge, awareness, and skills for planning. The efficacy and design of educational, therapeutic, and supportive intervention for empowering families to shape their own lives is sorely needed. Appropriate technology to support decision making, problem solving and planning are becoming available and feasible, but creative application and evaluation efforts are still in the infant stage of development. In a multifaceted effort to test both hi-tech and traditional adult peer education materials our research included video and computer products used both in home settings and group programs (Foulke, 1989; Settles & Berke 1989). One of the advantages of these new approaches is that information and decision processes can be directly modeled.