In Their Own Words: How Family Carers of People with Dementia Understand Resilience
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There is a growing body of research on resilience in family carers of people with dementia, but carers’ voices are noticeably absent from it. The aim of this study was to explore carers’ definitions of resilience and their opinions on the factors associated with resilience. Twenty-one in-depth interviews were conducted in Australia with people who were currently, or had previously been, caring for a family member with dementia. Transcripts were analysed thematically and three themes emerged: the presence of resilience, the path to resilience, and characteristics of the resilient carer. Although carers struggled to define resilience, the vast majority considered themselves resilient. Carers identified a range of traits, values, environments, resources, and behaviours associated with resilience, but there was no consensus on the relative importance or causal nature of these factors. Carers also considered resilience to be domain- and context-specific, but did not agree on whether resilience was a trait or a process. These findings highlight both the importance of including carers’ voices in resilience research and the limitations of the extant literature. There is much to be done to develop a field of carer resilience research that is theoretically sound, methodologically rigorous, and reflects the lived experience of carers. A model is provided to prompt future research.
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Psychology not elsewhere classified