Indications of Resilience Factors in Families Who have Lost a Home in a Shack Fire


Abraham P Greeff, Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa. E-mail:


The aim of this study was to explore the presence of resilience factors in families living in an informal settlement on the outskirts of a rural town that have lost their homes in a shack fire. A mixed methods research design was utilised. Qualitative data were obtained through responses to an open-ended question, and quantitative data were obtained through the completion of questionnaires by an adult representative of each of the 38 African families that were identified through convenience sampling. To identify resilience factors, content analyses (on the qualitative data) were performed and Spearman correlations (for the quantitative data) were calculated. The results show that supportive communication, a sense of being in control and having internal strengths and dependability, while working together as a family, are vital to the resilience of the families that took part in this study. Furthermore, material support from the municipality and extended family, shelter provided by members of the extended family, and financial support from the extended family were also indicated as essential in overcoming the crisis and being resilient. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.