Rorschach indicators of resilience in adolescents
Odendaal, Isabella Elizabeth
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The main focus of this study was to explore how personal constructions, consisting of latent and conscious schema, and obtained from a culturally sensitive interpretation of the RCS, informed the transactional resilience of Black South African adolescents. This study was motivated in view of limited knowledge available about the (i) processes that are generic to the resilience-promoting transactions of Black South African adolescents and (ii) to potentiate insight into an adolescent’s construction of personal meaning of her conscious and unconscious experiences that may not always be easily recognised in her overt behaviour or by self-report measures often used in South African resilience research. Six Black South African adolescents aged 14 to 16 years volunteered to take part in this multiple case study. The participants were identified as resilient by an advisory panel consisting of learners and educators at an English-medium school in the Vaal Triangle area. In this essentially qualitative study, qualitative data obtained from an unstructured individual interview, unstructured observations, and a follow-up interview were integrated with the data obtained from a culturally sensitive, conceptual interpretation of these Black adolescents’ Rorschach protocols. The structural, quantitative data obtained from specific indicators in Exner’s Comprehensive System were interpreted in a culturally sensitive manner and integrated with the qualitative data obtained from the Rorschach protocols. A culturally sensitive, conceptual framework for interpreting Rorschach indicators associated with adolescents’ transactional resilience was provided. These findings indicated individual and ecological protective resources well known within South African resilience research. Findings that contributed new understanding of the transactional processes associated with Black South African adolescent resilience were also obtained. Four case-specific self-reflective strategies were identified, namely, emotional stoicism, frequent introspection, honouring the past, and adopting a new identity. These selfreflective strategies served as the participants’ unique ways of compensating for their adversity-informed schema as well as encouraging them to navigate towards the sustained support of specific significant others and resilience-promoting ecological resources. The participants indicated that attachment challenges brought about repressed feelings and specific security needs, which shaped their resilience-promoting navigation and enabled them to self-knit in a resilient way.
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