Date of Award

7-28-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Lafreniere, Kathryn

Keywords

Bahamas, Caribbean, Child Welfare, Hope, Psychology, Resilience

Rights

CC BY-NC-ND 4.1

Abstract

When children are placed in out-of-home care, they are spared from further dangers associated with their home life. However, due to a number of other risk factors, children placed in out-of-home care, as a group, have typically had less positive outcomes than their counterparts. Nevertheless, even in the presence of various challenges, there are individuals who are raised in out-of-home care who do excel and overcome their challenges. In this study, ten young adults, between the ages of 18-31, were engaged in interviews where they shared the good and bad experiences of living in child care facilities in The Bahamas and their personal meanings of hope. The Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis framework guided the research project, including the analysis and interpretation of the interviews. A fairly positive picture of residential living within the facilities emerged from the stories, where these former residents built significant relationships, received opportunities for educational development, and overall had access to fun experiences. Reviewing their experiences through the resilience theoretical framework revealed the presence of many protective mechanisms, including good problem solving skills, intelligence, positive relationships, access to supportive learning environments, and involvement in civic groups, which were all facilitative of the success of these individuals. Hope was also significant for many of the participants, with hope generally described as a belief or expectation for something that was meaningful and positively affecting their lives. Their hopes were impacted by people, their academic pursuits, and also by their past experiences. The implications of these findings as applied to the Bahamian Social Services system are discussed.

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Psychology Commons

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