The purpose of this study was to investigate and understand how a HIV/AIDS-infected and affected grandparent-headed family in an urban-residential area, expresses and conceptualises family resilience. The study further aimed to provide insight into the protective (resilience process and strengths) and risk factors experienced by a family system.
The study assumed an interpretivist paradigm. A qualitative case study design was utilised and one grandparent-headed family was purposefully selected to take part in the research. The qualitative methodology was best suited for this study because it allowed for an in-depth investigation and understanding of the participating family and their context. Focus group interviews and the photovoice process was used to collect data. The data collection process involved having the following four sessions with the participating family members: the focus group interview and introducing the photovoice process, collecting the photographs, the photovoice exhibition, and a member checking and wrap-up session. Subsequently the transcripts and photographs were analysed and interpreted by means of an inductive thematic analysis.
The results indicated that resilience processes and protective factors of this grandparent-headed family included: family size and membership, connectedness and togetherness, family values, spirituality, flexible cultural aspects, open and direct communication, community resources and transgenerational influence. Furthermore, the identified risks and adversities identified emerged as the absence of the abovementioned resilience process and protective factors, including negative community engagement and influence, and lack of social and economic support. Family silences were noted, especially on HIV/AIDS.
Based on the findings of the study, I can therefore conclude that the grandparent-headed family exhibited resilience processes and protective factors which they employ in order to overcome risks, challenges and adversities. I also acknowledge that this study can provide further insight and knowledge on family resilience, specifically within the context of a South African urban residential area (township).