Title page for ETD etd-04282012-175412

Document Type Doctoral Thesis
Author Ebersohn, Suzette
Email sebersohn@telkomsa.net
URN etd-04282012-175412
Document Title Die benutting van veerkrag deur middel-adolessente in ín hersaamgestelde gesin (Afrikaans)
Degree PhD
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Prof A C Bouwer Supervisor
  • personal characteristics
  • proximal processes
  • mesosystem
  • bio-ecological model
  • asset-based approach
  • egskeiding
  • karaktertrekke
  • waves of resilience research
  • middel-adolessente
  • divorce
  • hersaamgestelde gesin
  • reconstituted family
  • resilience
  • middle adolescent
Date 2012-04-18
Availability unrestricted
Divorce is a potentially destructive reality in society. According to the bio-ecological model of Bronfenbrenner, the development of the child takes place within two micro family systems when a family is reconstituted following divorce: the primary micro family system, where the child resides permanently with his/her biological parent who has parental rights and responsibilities, as well as the secondary micro family system of the other biological parent who also has parental rights and responsibilities, where the child visits periodically. Challenges that the child faces in the context of the reconstituted family thus include shared membership of the two micro family systems and the complexity of the mesosystem.

Resilience can be defined as a process of the inborn ability to achieve positive outcomes and to adjust successfully despite challenges and adverse living conditions. The purpose of the study was twofold: firstly, to achieve understanding of the way in which middle-adolescents of divorced parents, in moving between the two micro family systems of their reconstituted families, utilise their resilience to develop optimally in spite of a probably dysfunctional relationship between their biological parents at the mesosystemic level and secondly, to contribute to the fields of knowledge on resilience and bio-ecological theory in order to enhance educational psychology praxis with regard to the adaptation of adolescents of divorced parents in reconstituted families.

The study was qualitative, and conducted in the interpretive paradigm. A multiple case study with a purposeful sampling of four participants was used. Unstructured narrative conversations were conducted, which included a resilience-based therapeutic intervention to facilitate sensitisation regarding personal strengths and assets in accordance with the assetbased approach. The format of the data description and analysis was defined by the narrative way of working. The participantsí utilisation of resilience qualities was evaluated in accordance with a definition of resilience which had been newly constructed by means of a synthesis of the bio-ecological model, positive psychology and the focuses of the first three waves of resilience research.

The findings of the study indicated that the way in which middle-adolescents utilise their resilience depends on a therapeutic process (a personal, controlled process) as well as the nature of the mesosystem in their developmental context (a factor that can only be controlled by the divorced biological parents). In respect of a therapeutic process, the utilisation of the middle-adolescentsí resilience depends on their emotional security to make conscious choices to mobilise their resilience and consequently change their behaviour in order to cope effectively with difficult family circumstances in both their micro-family systems. In respect of the nature of the mesosystem, the utilisation of the middle-adolescentsí resilience depends on the effectiveness of the relationship between their divorced biological parents at the mesosystemic level. The utilisation of resilience per se is apparently dependent on some consistent systemic foundation in the developmental context of the child, which is, in the case of divorce, the mesosystem.

© 2011 University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Ebersohn, S 2011, Die benutting van veerkrag deur middel-adolessente in ín hersaamgestelde gesin, PhD thesis, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-04282012-175412 / >


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