Resilience in families in which a parent has died

Human, Berquin (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The death of a parent calls on the family to utilize all its resources in order to adapt successfully and maintain normal family functioning. Within the mental health field a paradigm-shift from pathology-based to health-oriented is underway. Integral to this health-oriented paradigm is resilience, the ability to rebound after being stressed or challenged, as well as being able to rise above adversity and to survive stress. Family resilience theory emphasizes the role that family characteristics, behaviour patterns and capabilities play in cushioning the impact of stressful life events and in assisting the family in recovering from crises (McCubbin, Thompson, & McCubbin, 1996). Using a crosssectional survey research design, the present study aimed to explore and explicate those resiliency factors which enable families to adjust and adapt successfully after the loss of a parent. Families in which the death of a parent took place 1 to 3 years ago, and in which the eldest child was between 12 and 19 years old were approached to take part in this study. Thirty nine families completed questionnaires, as well as an open-ended question in which they were asked to report the most important factors or strengths which they felt helped their family through the stressful period. Results indicate that intrafamilial support such as emotional and practical support amongst family members, and family hardiness characteristics such as the internal strengths and durability of the family unit, contribute to resilience within the family. Individual characteristics, such as positive personality characteristics like optimism, are as important. Support from extended family and friends, as well as support obtained from religious and spiritual beliefs and activities, were reported as facilitating successful adjustment to the loss.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die dood van 'n ouer vereis dat 'n gesin alle bronne moet benut ten einde suksesvolle aanpassing en gewone gesinsfunksionering te handhaaf. Binne die geestesgesondheidsveld is daar 'n paradigma-verskuiwing vanaf patologie-gebaseerd na gesondheidsgeoriënteerd. Integraal tot hierdie gesondheidsgeoriënteerde paradigma is veerkragtigheid, die vermoë om terug te bons, uit te styg, en te oorleef nadat teëspoed ervaar is. Gesinsveerkragtigheidsteorieë beklemtoon die rol wat gesinseienskappe, gedragspatrone en bekwaamhede speel met betrekking tot die versagting van die impak van stresvolle lewenservaringe, asook die gesin se herstel na die krisis (McCubbin, Thompson, & McCubbin, 1996). 'n Dwarssnit opname-navorsingsontwerp is gebruik om die veerkragtigheidsfaktore te identifiseer en te beskryf wat gesinne help om suksesvol na die dood van 'n ouer aan te pas. Gesinne waar 'n ouer tussen een en drie jaar vantevore gesterf het, en die oudste kind tussen 12 en 19 jaar oud is, is genader vir deelname aan hierdie ondersoek. Nege-en-dertig gesinne het vraelyste sowel as 'n oop-end vraag voltooi waarin hulle gevra is om die belangrikste faktore te beskryf wat hul gesin deur die stresvolle periode gehelp het. Resultate dui daarop dat intragesinsondersteuning soos emosionele en praktiese ondersteuning, en gesinsgehardheid met kenmerke van interne sterkte en die volhoubaarheid van die gesin as eenheid, bygedra het tot gesinsveerkragtigheid. Individuele eienskappe soos optimisme het net so 'n essensiële rol gespeel. Ondersteuning van familie en vriende, asook ondersteuning as gevolg van godsdienstige en spirituele oortuigings en aktiwiteite, was fasiliterend in die suksesvolle aanpassing na die dood van 'n ouer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52434
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