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Title: Exploring resilience amongst adults with Intellectual Disabilities and their care systems
Author: Williamson, Hannah
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 7557
Awarding Body: University of Liverpool
Current Institution: University of Liverpool
Date of Award: 2018
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"Resilience is the process of effectively negotiating, adapting to, or managing significant sources of stress or trauma. Assets and resources within the individual, their life and environment facilitate this capacity for adaptation and 'bouncing back' in the face of adversity. Across the life course, the experience of resilience will vary." (Windle, 2011, p. 12). The above definition depicts resilience as a response to adversity. Decades of research into the lives of people with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) demonstrate a disproportionately increased risk of adversity amongst this population. However, their resilience and the resilience of those who support them is currently under-researched. This thesis aimed to address this gap in knowledge by exploring resilience amongst people with ID and their caregiving systems. The citation above describes how influences within the individual, their life context and environment facilitate resilience. The life and environment milieu will inevitably comprise social and support networks. For example, family, friends, teachers and carers. When endeavouring to understand resilience, then, it seems important to consider the state and experiences of those around the individual, as well as the individual themselves. For example, by exploring psychological variables within the system. Two papers, a systematic review and an empirical study, form this thesis and are briefly outlined below. The first paper is a systematic review of quantitative studies which provide interventions to direct care staff of those with ID, examining their impact on stress, burnout, resilience or wellbeing. Prior research has focussed more heavily on the negative psychological experiences of staff (stress and burnout), with a more limited focus on staff's positive psychological variables such as wellbeing and resilience. Systematic search strategies enabled a review of 12 studies which were assessed for methodological rigour and which provided the data for a narrative synthesis. Data showed some promise in the utility of mindfulness-based interventions in reducing staff stress and burnout. Conclusions were difficult to draw around wellbeing and resilience due to significant conceptual and measurement issues. Clinical and research implications are discussed, including the need for conceptual clarity and an increased focus on positive variables (wellbeing and resilience) in future ID staff research. This is followed by the empirical paper which explores resilience amongst people with ID. The qualitative grounded theory study explored how Clinical Psychologists conceptualise resilience amongst people with ID, and how their conceptualisations are linked with practice. From the analysis of 12 interviews, a theoretical model was developed which explains how Clinical Psychologists think about and work with resilience when practicing with people with ID. Participants viewed resilience as a dynamic process of withstanding hardship and felt that hardships were magnified and unique for people with ID. Participants conceptualised resilience for people with ID as resulting from internal, environmental and macro-systemic influences. They rejected individualistic notions of resilience, instead seeing socio-political structures as crucial determinants. While all participants discussed their engagement at the individual and immediate systemic level, fewer described socio-political engagement to bolster resilience for people with ID. Numerous barriers to engagement at this level were evident. The findings add novel understandings of resilience in the lives of people with ID. The paper describes an ongoing study by Raye & Chadwick (2016) which explores resilience from the perspectives of those with lived experience of ID. The two empirical studies together will broaden understandings of resilience within this population. Research and clinical implications are discussed, which include understanding and addressing socio-political practice barriers for Clinical Psychologists and those employing them. Both papers have been prepared for submission to the Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities (JARID).
Supervisor: Bennett, Kate ; Flood, Andrea ; Chadwick, Darren Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral