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The Psychology of Family Resilience Essay

At the start of the discussion of “Family Resilience: Israeli Mothers’ Perspectives”, the meaning of the term resilience was presented by Cohen, et. al as defined by different authors. Resilience, according to the Cohen et al, is an “adverse situation experienced by children with risk present”, which later developed to “a process of successful coping with risk” (Anderson, 1997 as cited by Cohen et al, 2002). Another description that was cited was by Valentine & Feinauer (1994), “resilience as dimension of growth and development and related to the ability of the family to bounce back, to survive, to overcome their difficulties and to improve”.

Summing up the different description of resilience by different authors, family resilience is how family members manage to cope with the presence of stressful events. The main objective of the study is to investigate how women in stressed family systems identify and understand family resilience in Israel which is believed to have a strong stand on family closeness and protection; and is a contribution to studies and researches done in the psychology of resilience. The method used has an assumption that people tend to select what experience they wanted to talk about and produce something out of that experience.

The sample included fifteen Israeli mothers, having children below eighteen years of age, who had experienced a crisis such as death, accident or illness for the past year were interviewed at their own houses using Hebrew as the language from one to four hours. The manner of interviewing managed to extract respondent’s feelings towards the stressful event. Questions regarding the “stressful event, meanings towards the experience, description of family healing and definition of family resilience” (Cohen et al, 2002) were asked off the respondent.

The analysis of the data was done by each of the author using the grounded theory methods with constant comparative method and open, axial, and selective coding. With open coding, relevant ideas were identified from the research questions, while axial coding uses the ideas from open coding in order to extract useful quotations and selective coding focuses on the reduction of categories to be able to achieve theoretical saturation wherein “no new or relevant data seems to emerge” (Cohen et al, 2002).

Findings were categorized to: expressiveness, connectedness, flexibility, optimism and family values. These five categories had helped, as admitted by the respondents, in the process of healing from a stressful event even though some of the family members find it hard manage or lack these categories ended up with a rating of low family resilience. Cohen et al (2002) mentioned that it is important to have communication and openness during crisis to be able to overpower the condition.

The categories presented by the authors in which the results of the interviews were sorted out positively to encourage respondents. With the presence of expressiveness, connectedness, flexibility, optimism and family values, an improved communication within family members might occur. And as a result each of the members of the family will end up finding ways helping one another to overcome certain crisis.

Communication and openness within family members will sooner improve the present relationship of members. Since they are more open with each other closer ties will be binding them up. An article entitled “Children of a parent with a mental illness: perspectives on need” examined different points of view, the parent, the children and the mental professional; with the issues of children whose parents are experiencing mental illness.

This study’s objectives are as follows: the examination of different viewpoints on the issue and the determination of perspective differences through separate interviews of children and parents. In order to meet these objectives, authors used two components for the methodology. The first one is establishing focus groups for both parents and children and the other one is creating a questionnaire to be able to quantify the coping strategies of children given that their parents with mental illness are hospitalized.

Questions were made in order to pursue positive discussions and facilitators were chosen based on understanding of mental health and research. Results for parent focus groups were categorized into seven as enumerated by the authors: (1) issues around major mental health episodes, (2) importance of siblings, (3) children coping mechanisms, (4) external support for children with a parent that has mental illness, (5) education for children who have a parent with a mental illness, (6) community education, and (7) respite.

On the other, the authors also mentioned the categorized result for the children focus groups as the following: (1) issues on major mental health episodes of the parent’s illness, (2) importance of siblings, (3) children coping strategies, (4) importance of friendship and (5) taking on extra roles when the parent is unwell. There would really be changes in the way children would be living their every day lives having a parent with mental illness. The situation they are in at present might trigger the same effect on the children since they can see what happens with their parent.

They may end up thinking that they will somehow acquire the same illness as their parent. During times of hospitalization of the parent, children must have someone who fully understood the illness to provide the children a thorough explanation of what had happened and why the parent has to be hospitalized. The presence of friends of the same age will also be a great help to lure away their minds from the situation and made them enjoy their childhood. Having friends around may temporary take them away from pursuing adult roles.

The journal articles presented both have problems that needed solutions that may help the respondents. The method used by both studies was interview and/or questionnaire. And at the end of the discussion, authors point out some things that might be able to help the affected people respond and manage their situation. Cohen et al mentioned that communication among family members is important while Mayberry et al specified that young people should know how to manage their own lives than to rely to the people around them for support.

The article “Family Resilience: Israeli Mothers’ Perspective gathered the information needed from mothers, as interviewees, from a family that had recently experienced a stressful event. On the other hand, the article “Children of a parent with mental illness: perspectives on need” acquired data from both children and parents, as respondents, from a family with a parent having mental illness. Scientific evidences were provided by authors of both articles that they mentioned what methods they have used and done to interpret the data and get the results.

In conclusion, both the articles dealt with family problems and how the members are able to cope and adjust from their present situation. The difference of the two articles is on which family member they had focused on, Cohen and his colleagues focused on mothers while Mayberry and his colleagues focused on children and parent (not mentioning which parent is involve or has mental illness).


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