Research Project 1

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11th April, 2012

Class: Introduction to Social Work Research

Social Work Research Class Assignment

1. In order to build resilience children should grow up in a stable family.

We live in turbulent times, on the edge of uncertainty where family life and the world that we live in have changed so dramatically in recent years that while we are eager to have strong and enduring relationships, we are unsure how to shape and sustain them to weather the storms of life. It is the responsibility of the family to teach children from a very early stage in life to be or become resilient. A family resilience approach aims to identify and fortify important interactional processes that will enable families to withstand and rebound from disruptive life challenges. A resilience lens shifts perspective primarily from viewing distressed families as damaged to seeing them as challenged, affirming their potential for repair and growth.

Resilience can be defined as the capacity to rebound from adversity strengthened and more resourceful. It is described as an active process of endurance, self-righting and growth in response to crisis and challenge. The ability of one to overcome adversity challenges our culture’s conventional wisdom. The severe trauma can’t be undone; the adverse experiences always damage people sooner or later. Resilience is made up of more than merely surviving, getting through or escaping a harrowing ordeal. Survivors are not necessarily resilient, some become trapped in positions of victims, nursing their wounds and blocked from growth by their anger and their blame.

In contrast, the qualities of resilience enables one to heal from painful wounds, take charge of their lives and go on to live and love appropriately. In order to understand resilience, it is important to distinguish it from faulty notions of ‘invulnerability’ and ‘self-sufficiency’. As one may see, resilience is forged through openness to experiences and interdependence with others.

With regard to a stable family, research shows that the family, arguably, has the most profound impact on child development. Family stability has been defined in many ways in the empirical literature. However, traditionally, researchers’ defined family stability in terms of factors related to family structure; an example is (single parenthood). Exploring the various family processes that pertain to stability may be a more useful means of understanding the specific characteristics of family stability that support healthy child development. For example, parental mental health that is of a positive nature, stable relationships among caregivers and positive parenting are cites as markers of family stability.

Conversely, child maltreatment reflects an extreme form of family instability. Research data from the National Survey of Child and Adolescent Well-Being (NSCAW), what is known as the only large-scale, nationally representative study of children as well as information from other research, indicate that the majority of children malfunction in society because of family instability and the lack of resilience qualities.

So, how does resilience relate to that of a stable family? The work of resilience is particularly relevant for children because it examines the factors that allow some children who are faced with severe adversities to ‘overcome the odds’ and become successful at a variety of what we call developmental and life-adjustment tasks. Several characteristics of children and their environments may compensate for the high-risk situations with which they must contend, leading to more positive outcomes.

The protective factors include: child IQ, temperament, good health, as well as a warm parental and family relationship, healthy school engagements, friendships within the educational environment and long-lasting support outside/within the family (mentor).

Children in stable family environments are more likely to experience...
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