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In Their Own Words: How Family Carers of People with Dementia Understand Resilience

Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter EX1 SLU, UK
Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
School of Nursing and Midwifery, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
School of Applied Psychology, Griffith University, Nathan, QLD 4111, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Behav. Sci. 2017, 7(3), 57;
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 16 August 2017 / Accepted: 18 August 2017 / Published: 21 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Understanding Older Adult Resilience from a Life-course Perspective)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: dementia; caregivers; resilience; acceptance; adversity dementia; caregivers; resilience; acceptance; adversity
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O’Dwyer, S.T.; Moyle, W.; Taylor, T.; Creese, J.; Zimmer-Gembeck, M. In Their Own Words: How Family Carers of People with Dementia Understand Resilience. Behav. Sci. 2017, 7, 57.

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