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Indicators of family resilience after the death of a child

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Greeff, A. P.; Vansteenwegen, A.; Herbiest, T.

The aim of this study was to identify and describe resilience qualities in families after losing a child. Questionnaires, including an open-ended question, were utilized to collect data independently from the parents and siblings of the deceased in 89 Belgian families. The results indicate that family strengths in general, and commitment to the family in particular, helped the families’ adaptation after the loss. In addition, the adaptation process after the loss was aided if the family members viewed the crisis as a challenge. Both the siblings and the parents indicated that the extent to which a family experienced support from the community was directly related to family adaptation after the loss. Redefining the situation and utilizing social support from friends and family were underlined as effective family coping strategies. The findings could be used in interventions to promote family resilience, thereby affirming the reparative potential of families.

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