Title page for ETD etd-11132008-102311

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Marais, Adele
Email izesti@yahoo.co.uk
URN etd-11132008-102311
Document Title The effect of a nuclear family's sudden loss on the personality structures of individual family members
Degree MEd
Department Educational Psychology
Advisor Name Title
Dr R Ferreira Supervisor
  • sudden loss
  • stability of personality
  • within group interrupted time series design
  • personality structure
  • personality change
  • personality assessment
  • personality
  • MBTI®
  • concurrent nested mixed model approach
  • Myers-Briggs Type Indicator®
  • sixteen personality factor questionnaire 16PF
Date 2008-09-03
Availability unrestricted

The purpose of this study was to gain an understanding of the potential effect of sudden loss on the personality structures of bereaved individuals. For this purpose, I focused on the individual personality structures of five nuclear family members during the first year following the sudden loss of their daughter/sister. I followed a concurrent nested mixed model research approach and relied upon both the post-positivist and interpretivist paradigms, allowing me to integrate the complementary strengths of quantitative and qualitative data collection by means of triangulation. I utilised a within group interrupted time series design, comparing the family’s MBTI® profiles prior to and following the sudden loss they had experienced. In addition, I incorporated the results of 16PF profiles of the participants administered post-sudden loss. I further substantiated my findings in terms of recurring themes on individual metaphors concerning the sudden loss experience, constructed by the participants.

The findings of the study indicated that distinct changes in personality structures occurred in terms of the personality structures of the participants. Pertaining to the four polarities of the MBTI®, I found that the participants displayed a greater preference for the Introversion attitude, as well as both the Sensing and Feeling functions, after they had experienced sudden loss. All participants displayed an inclination towards personal growth by moving closer to the Judging/Perceiving axis post-sudden loss. In addition, two general tendencies were evident amongst the participants, namely a greater dependence on the inferior functions; and secondly the tendency to rely on type exaggeration when dealing with sudden loss.

© University of Pretoria 2008

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