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South African Journal of Education

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An exploratory study on the utilisation of resilience by middle adolescents in reconstituted families following divorce

S Ebersohn, C Bouwer

Abstract


Every year thousands of core families disintegrate through divorce, and in the ensuing restructuring of the family system the child has to cope with various development challenges, such as divided membership of two micro family systems and complexities that result at the mesosystemic level. Achieving positive development outcomes in the presence of challenging living circumstances entails complex interactive processes. The aim of the study was to understand the concomitant, reciprocal and/or responsive dynamics of middle adolescents’ use of their inherent resilience potential in their movement back and forth between their two reconstituted family systems after the parents’ divorce. The study was grounded in the qualitative interpretivist paradigm, and used a multiple case study as research design and a narrative format for description. A purposive sample of four white Afrikaans-speaking middle adolescents participated in the research. Findings revealed that middle adolescents of divorced parents utilise their resilience potential in a systemic manner, which requires a solid base provided by the meso system. Hence the utilisation of resilience relies at the very minimum on a functional relationship of cooperation between the biological parents.

Keywords: bio-ecological; divorce; meso system; middle adolescent; reconstituted family; resilience; resilience potential; utilisation of resilience




http://dx.doi.org/10.15700/saje.v33n2a637
AJOL African Journals Online