NONHUMAN SYSTEMS AS A SOURCE OF INTERACTIONAL RESILIENCE AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS RAISED BY ALCOHOL-ABUSING CAREGIVERS IN LESOTHO

  • Simbai Mushonga Johannesburg University
  • Adrian Van Breda University of Johannesburg
Keywords: adult children of alcoholics, alcohol-abusing, caregivers, internal conversations, interactional resilience, nonhuman

Abstract

Research on the resilience of young people who were raised by substance-abusing caregivers is limited. This study aims to explore the internal interactional processes between nonhuman systems and young adults raised by alcohol-abusing caregivers in Lesotho. Multiple in-depth interviews were conducted and a draw-and-write technique applied with 15 university students, six of whom described having interacted with diverse nonhuman systems in their environment. A grounded theory analysis generated two themes: (1) interacting with empowering messages from non-present writers (through songs and books) and inspirational speakers (through videos) and (2) interacting with imaginary friends and inanimate objects (dolls and tattoos) in order to enhance their resilience. Van Breda’s interactional resilience approach, developed from person-in-the-environment perspective, and Margaret Archer’s theory of agency were found to be useful in interpreting the findings. The implications of the study include the need for social workers’ greater focus on young people’s interactions with nonhuman systems for resilience building.

Author Biographies

Simbai Mushonga, Johannesburg University
Department of Social Work & Community Developmen
Adrian Van Breda, University of Johannesburg
Department of Social Work
Published
2021-10-20
Section
Articles