Understanding Processes of Family Resiliency From the Perspective of Urban Ministry Workers
Research on resiliency has identified many factors that promote the positive development of children and youth exposed to adverse circumstances. The current study focused on the specific factor of positive family functioning. Some of the characteristics identified in resilient families include: stable and supportive attachment relationships, a shared belief about the importance of family, cohesion and support among members, and a system of structure. Based on the concept of church communities serving as "spiritual families," this study sought to explore ways that urban ministries exhibit characteristics of resilient families and thus promote resiliency in the respective communities. Focus groups were conducted with 11 urban ministry workers from 3 different ministry organizations in Los Angeles County. Transcriptions of the focus group discussions were analyzed using content analysis. The results identified community, spiritual, and family factors as sources of resiliency. Specifically, relational support was the most frequent subtheme, and various means of relational support were identified. Factors related to the presence and use of spirituality within individuals was the second most frequent subtheme. The themes identified in the data were compared to themes in the existing literature, suggesting that urban ministries can function as resilient families. In addition, attachment theory was used to provide suggestions for future training of urban ministry workers.
PSYD in Clinical Psychology
Families, Resilience, Stress, City clergy, Problem youth, Los Angeles.
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