A qualitative exploration of the dimensions of family resilience in a rural community on the West Coast
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Historically, families living in disenfranchised communities were viewed as being dysfunctional. This view led to the perpetuation of the challenges and adverse situations faced by these families. It is important to view the family holistically rather than just to focus on the risk factors and/or the dysfunctional nature of the family. This study endeavoured to explore how the family functions and copes with the challenges they face. The aim of the study was to qualitatively explore the dimensions of family resilience as perceived by families in a rural community on the West Coast, South Africa. Family resilience theory was used as the theoretical framework for the research study. Three family resilience dimensions were explored. These dimensions are family belief systems, family organisation and resources, and family communication patterns. Participants were selected by means of nonprobability sampling. The local NGO in collaboration with the researcher identified the participants. The participants were homogenous in terms of being parents who participated in a parent support programme and were from the same community. Six semi-structured, oneon- one interviews were conducted as the data collection method. The interviews were transcribed and analysed using thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged, in congruence with the theoretical framework. These themes were the family's belief system, their organisational patterns when faced with adversity, as well as the communication patterns of the family. The participants all reported that their strong sense of faith was used as coping mechanisms through their adversities. They had varying reports on how their family organised themselves and how they communicated. Some participants reported that living in a small community could at times be challenging, especially when sharing adversities as they feared community gossip, which then acted as a barrier to seeking help. The researcher adhered to the ethics requirements of the study in terms of confidentiality, provided the participants with informed consent forms and informed them of their rights as participants. Participants were free to discontinue the research process at any point without prejudice.