Die lewensgehalte van versorgingspersoneel by 'n fasiliteit vir individue met intellektuele gestremdheid
Thesis (MEdPsych (Educational Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Research regarding caregivers in institutions for people with intellectual impairment has traditionally focussed on aspects of pathology, such as stress and burnout. In the past three decades there has been a shift towards a stronger focus on individuals' competencies and strengths. This paradigm shift has contributed to the development of the term ‘Quality of Life’. This study focuses on the perceptions of formal caregivers in an institution for the intellectually impaired about their Quality of Life. The aim was to understand the selfperceived quality of life of staff caring for adults with intellectual disabilities using Positive Psychology theories. Based on fortigenic assumptions regarding human functioning, the influence of stress on formal caregivers and also positive experiences and the factors that enable these caregivers to rise above hardships of their occupation, were investigated. This qualitative interpretive study was conducted in an institution for adults with intellectually impairment and twelve caregivers at the institution willingly participated. Data were generated through structured open-ended, informal and a focus group interview and later analysed thematically. The themes discussed in the study evolve around the caregivers’ perception of 1) their definition of quality of life, 2) their current quality of life, 3) the negative factors, stressors, positive experiences and psychofortological factors impacting on their quality of life, and 4) possibilities for improving their quality of life. Based on the relation between the above mentioned themes, the quality of life of the caregivers appears to be a product of their relationship with the adults with intellectual disabilities. Therefore, the findings indicate a paradox of care-giving where the participants not only report on care-giving, but also on care-receiving within their relationship with the adults with intellectual disabilities. In this relationship care-giving seems to be a fortigenic factor for the most of the participants and also a means for interpersonal flourishing. On the basis of these findings several recommendations are made for further research, with a view to striving towards improving the quality of life of staff caring for adults with intellectual disabilities.