Thesis defense by Shea Lowery, master's candidate in clinical psychology – June 16, 2015

by Michelle Saport  |   

Tuesday, June 16, 1-3 p.m. Social Science Building, Room 303

Join Shea Lowery, master's student in clinical psychology, for the public defense of her thesis.

Thesis abstract: Resilience is often conceptualized as an internal character trait of those who flourish despite adversity. However this conceptualization neglects the ecological factors that can greatly impact people's lives and interact with their personal character. This interaction is well illustrated with youth in foster care (YIC). YIC often face multiple adverse experiences and being 'resilient' requires a great skill and determination in navigating a complex system. This resilience includes an interaction between personal traits and availability of needed resources. The present study conducted semi-structured interviews with eight adults (ages 21 to 42) who experienced foster care to gain an understanding of their personal conceptualization of resilience and the ways their community has provided resources that have helped or hindered their development. A thematic analysis of the interviews revealed four over-arching themes related to challenges YIC face within the foster care system, protective factors both within the YIC and their environment, and specific strategies that participants used to overcome challenges in their lives. The results can be used to inform the State of Alaska Foster Care policies and procedures and are an initial stepping stone for further research with this population.

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