Janet Appleby

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work


Social Work

First Advisor

Alexa Smith-Osborne


Families are foundational units that facilitate societal function. They are responsible for many of the integral processes that allow communities to continue to function. Not the least of these processes are providing for the survival of members, and the development of children into adults who constructively participate in society. An understanding of how families adapt, when faced with trauma or overwhelming stress, is important to supporting a constructive external support system and education for future families. How does adaptation successfully proceed when the family includes a child who has a disability? This exploratory research is intended to reveal practices that families use to regain effective function when faced with this particular issue. Qualitative interviews, from a phenomenological perspective, were conducted with family members of six families. The resulting data was analyzed to reveal the essence of the resilience experience for each family member who chose to participate. Member resilience experiences were compiled to produce resilience profiles for the families. One of the goals of this research was to delineate practices that promote or hinder adaptation in response to being in a family with a child who has a disability and contribute to the evidence base to provide effective supports for families.


Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social Work


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Social Work Commons