Resilience in Xhosa families

Smith, P. N. (2006-03)

Thesis (DPhil (Psychology))—University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


This study addresses unprivileged dichotomies in an endeavour to make audible the silence surrounding Xhosa family resilience. This study is essentially descriptive and exploratory in nature and directed towards an understanding of the factors contributing to the resilience of Xhosa-speaking, rural black South African families. To contextualise the discussion a selection of theories on resilience are viewed within their cultural contexts. Western psychology’s privileging of a) the scrutiny of pathology while disregarding resilience; of b) white participants to black participants; and c) individuality to relationship centeredness and familial systems; are uncovered and a hypothetical understanding of Xhosa family resilience is construed. The line of thought culminates in the theoretical discussion and empirical exploration of The Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Adjustment and Adaptation (McCubbin, Thompson, & McCubbin, 1996). In the concluding remarks of this project an adaptation of this model, namely the Resiliency Model of Family Stress, Strength, Adjustment and Adaptation, is construed. The derived model is based on an integration of the findings of this study with resilience theory.

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