Pathways to resilience in post genocide Rwanda: a resources efficacy model

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Abstract

Field researchers and practitioners in the area of post conflict mental health have moved away from an exclusive concern with trauma and damage to a resilience perspective. This new perspective focuses on how traumatised individuals and communities reconstruct their lives and institutions. This qualitative study examines resilience in post genocide Rwanda, with the aim of developing a model for understanding resilient processes in the country. The authors used a sample of 20 participants, deemed resilient, who had made a satisfactory life adjustment and did not report any symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. Most were less than ten years old during the genocide, and all had lost one or both parents during that period. All were members of the Association des Etudiants et Éleves Rescapés du Genocide, a student organisation that served as a new family for the participants. The interviews were analysed using a qualitative research procedure. The analysis led to a description of the course of the participants’ lives during and after the genocide, and to a theoretical account of the factors that contributed to their resilience. The results suggest a ‘resources-efficacy-resilience’ model, in which the availability of resources creates self-efficacy that facilitates resilience, i.e. the ability overcome past trauma and create a successful life. The results suggest a structural model for programmes for assisted resilience in Rwanda and elsewhere.

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