n Commonwealth Youth and Development - Resilience in the context of learners and youth raised in grandparent-headed families

Volume 11, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1727-7140



This paper describes a study of resilience and protective factors in learners who are raised in grandparent-headed families. Using targeted sampling to capture the diversity and range of this often neglected population, a study followed 20 learners from when they started schooling to the age of 25. This allowed identification of resilience and protective factors in learners exposed to challenging or disrupted family environments as they grew up. The findings reveal that these learners grew into competent, confident and caring young adults. None developed serious learning or behavioural problems in childhood or adolescence. They succeeded in school, managed home and social life well, and expressed a strong desire to take advantage of whatever opportunity came their way. However, resilience should be conceptualised as a process and as a process it is the product of an interaction between the individual and their social context. If it is produced by interaction it is potentially open to influence. There is thus a need to consider the protective factors that sustain resilience in learners who are raised in grandparent-headed families.

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