Date of Award

2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Education

Abstract

This qualitative phenomenology was designed to explore with a sample of undergraduate students in psychology-related majors their perceptions of psychological resilience and the factors they believe contributed to it. While previous studies have examined the construct of resilience in childhood and adolescence, relatively little is known about the phenomenon later in the lifespan. Thus, the rationale for the study stems from the researcher’s wish to fill this gap in knowledge by studying resilience among emerging adults. It was the researcher’s assumption that the knowledge generated from this study would both provide new insights into emerging adult resilience and inform higher education practice. The sample was composed of seven undergraduate students in psychology-related majors who reported a history of trauma as well as a sense of personal thriving. Data was collected primarily through in-depth interviews, and supportive methods of questionnaire and document/artifact review were also utilized. Coding and analysis of data were organized by the research questions, and analysis and interpretation of findings were organized in categories based on the study’s conceptual framework. The study revealed that (a) while there are many aspects of emerging adult resilience, it is characterized primarily by the ability to successfully integrate trauma; (b) taking action steps contributed to resilience by targeting the disconnection and disempowerment that can result from trauma; and (c) resilience often both motivates students to pursue a psychology-related education and is an outcome of their engagement in the curriculum as they heal from their own traumatic experiences. Recommendations are offered for practice and policy in higher education and for future research.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

Language

English

Number of Pages

205

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