South African families in semi-urban townships experience more significant stress than other families. Family resilience refers to the factors or processes within families that support them to be resilient before, during or after a stressful situation. The aim of this research was to identify the key processes contributing to the successful coping of family units, when faced with adverse conditions in Mamelodi. This study is based on the theoretical framework of family resilience proposed by Walsh (2003), namely the Family Resilience Framework (FRF). Three key processes relevant to family resilience have been identified in the FRF and include: family belief systems, organisational patterns and communication processes. These processes may reduce the stress and vulnerability of families in high-risk situations and they are therefore relevant to ascertain whether the identified processes remain applicable in semi-urban communities. Furthermore should richer family information be derived by means of the FRF, more appropriate community interventions could be developed. It is anticipated that this study will contribute to prevailing literature on family resilience as well as the limited research done in semi-urban contexts. The study population comprised 13 families that were part of an intervention programme (2012) for families living in adverse conditions in the township of Mamelodi. The client files of the 13 families were broadly analysed where after one family was interviewed (unstructured interviews) in order to retrieve more in-depth information. The family was chosen as a case study for this research. By exploring the family’s own perspectives as well as their meaning-making processes related to their seeming familial strengths, more in-depth information was derived. Due to the qualitative nature of this study, the data sources (client files, interview transcriptions, photographs and photograph descriptions) were analysed by means of thematic content analysis. Themes were then discussed with the family in order to compare and confirm the suggested findings.
Results which emerged qualitatively allowed for the identification of family resilience processes in South African families in semi-urban communities as well as risk and protective factors evident in Mamelodi. As a result a better understanding of the family resilience processes in semi-urban communities could assist with better service delivery for families facing various adversities.
Mini-dissertation (Med)--University of Pretoria, 2015.