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Title: 'Constructions of resilience' : a Q methodological study to explore how young women view resilience
Author: Heffernan, Francesca
ISNI:       0000 0004 6421 9191
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2017
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Resilience has a long history of academic and applied interest, initiated by early realist studies into ‘vulnerable’ populations which explored the finding that not all children in difficult circumstances succumbed to poor outcomes (e.g. Rutter et al, 1975a & 1975b, summarised in Rutter, 1979). Criticisms of this approach generated qualitative studies exploring cultural differences in resilience (e.g. Ungar, 2006), and qualitative studies eliciting the voices of young people in adverse circumstances (e.g. Washington 2008). However these types of studies were still often motivated by application to practice so took a critical realist approach instead of challenging the concept of resilience itself. My interest in resilience emerged through an awareness that in practice young people are often labelled as resilient or vulnerable, with little critical thinking around how such labels might owe more to adult perceptions than to young people’s experiences, particularly, I found, when working with young women. The aim of this research, therefore, was to elicit young women’s views on resilience as a construct. Q methodology was deemed most appropriate for the topic’s complexity and for a participant cohort that may not have personally experienced ‘adverse circumstances’. Thirty eight female participants from one girls’ grammar school sorted fifty-two statements from most unimportant (1) to most important (9). A factor analysis was completed and a four factor solution identified: ‘Resilience is ... supportive relationships and surroundings’, ‘Resilience is... having the individual skills and effort to develop myself and achieve my goals’, ‘Resilience is... having the internal skills and traits to achieve my educational goals’ and ‘Resilience is ... having friends and positive surroundings’. Findings are discussed with relation to existing literature, and the relevance of findings is explored in relation to school and educational psychology practice. Strengths and limitations of the study are considered, and suggestions for future research given.
Supervisor: Campbell, Lorraine Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Ed.C.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available