An Exploration of the Family Resilience Needs of a Rural Community in South Africa: A Sequential Explanatory Mixed Methodological Study Design

  • Serena Ann IsaacsEmail author
  • Nicolette V. Roman
  • Shazly Savahl


The aim of the study is to identify and explore family resilience needs in a rural community in the West Coast region of South Africa. An explanatory mixed methodological sequential design was implemented. Firstly, Sixbey’s (2005) Family Resilience Assessment Scale, was employed to conduct the quantitative assessment via a door-to-door sample of convenience identified with the assistance of a local non-governmental organisation. Of the 656 participants, 39.8% were male and 60.2% were female, with an average age of 37.90 years (standard deviation 13.92). Secondly, four focus groups involving 27 community participants provided qualitative data. Results from the quantitative assessment show that family connectedness and utilising social and economic resources were the lowest scoring, and belief systems the highest scoring, dimensions in family resilience. Based on the quantitative findings and the discussions, three thematic categories emerged: community and family challenges; community belief systems; and current family functioning and organisational patterns. A number of families and groups within the community were able to provide feedback, recommendations and work collaboratively in this study. This contributed to the argument we make for the transformative mixed methods paradigm that is discussed. This study provides further insight into the theory of family resilience.


Family resilience Family resilience needs assessment Explanatory mixed methodological sequential design Family organisational patterns Belief systems Transformative mixed methods 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Serena Isaacs, as a PhD student, has received a research grant from the National Research Foundation of South Africa (Thuthuka grant number: 93975). Professors Nicolette Roman and Shazly Savahl have not received any funding and declare no conflicts of interest.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.Department of Social Work, Child and Family StudiesUniversity of the Western CapeCape TownSouth Africa

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