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Resurrection ferns: resiliency, art and meaning constructs among survivors of trauma or difficult life events. Open Access


Other title
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Aylyn, Ayalah
Supervisor and department
Kaler, Amy (Sociology)
Examining committee member and department
Truscott, Derek (Educational Psychology)
Kreitzer, Linda (Social Work, University of Calgary)
Dorow, Sara (Sociology)
Krogman, Naomi (Rural Economy)
Department of Sociology

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
The phenomenon of resilient recovery from traumatic events has been postulated from a multitude of several different theoretical orientations. The current thesis study contributes to what Glen Richardson (2002) described as the linkage between the theoretical traditions of positive psychology and the 3rd wave of resiliency research. More specifically, this study supports the linkage between resiliency and the spiritual/interpersonal experience of human beings, through the multi-modalities of both narrative and art. One of the most intriguing aspect of this thesis study is that 63 per cent of the 27 respondents (who had experienced either traumatic or difficult life events), attributed their resiliency to their belief systems of immortality. Furthermore, such issues of immortality appeared to be connected in some way with what participants in this study described as “spirituality.” Of the remaining 10 participants, three believed that the human spirit returned to God and did not recycle and the remaining 7 participants attributed their resiliency to other aspects such as personal strength, closeness to nature, social action, creativity, camaraderie with others and so on. Finally, in the narrative tradition, this author kept personal thesis journal notes to herself as she encountered the various participants in this study. A selection of such thesis notes are interspersed in between participants' self-defined resilient stories. Such interwoven narratives form what narrative researcher Laurel Richardson (1997) discussed as the "collective story," in which the voices of those who have been disenfranchised can be both heard and honoured.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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