Social production of resilience and adjustment in social service users

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Sociology Research
EditorsJared A. Jaworski
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherNOVA Science Publishers
Chapter3
Pages51-57
Volume16
ISBN (Print)978-1-63482-743-0
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2015

Publication series

NameAdvances in Sociology Research

Abstract

Resilience or adjustment in the face of adversity is a focus of promotion in social services. For the promotion, factors affecting resilience or adjustment need to be transparent. In view of uncertainty and inconsistency in existing research findings, the present study launches a comprehensive investigation of the factors. Accordingly, the study identifies various capital and production factors based on capital and social production function theories. By surveying 2,340 Chinese social service users in Hong Kong, the study seeks to delineate paths leading to resilience and adjustment. Results reveal that resilient belief and resilient act were prominent determinants of resilience and adjustment. Furthermore, resilient belief and act evolved from social capital in terms of support and sincere talk received. In addition, learning to cope, self-understanding, education, and living with a parent were vital human capital, social capital, or production factors underlying resilience and adjustment. Results thus illustrate the ontogenesis and sociogenesis of resilience and adjustment alike. They imply the essential role of social capital development in social services to promote resilience and adjustment.
Promoting the resilience of the users of social services is a paramount role of the services nowadays (Mullin and Arce, 2008).Resilience means bouncing back to the normal state or maintaining homeostasis after perturbation by adversity (Norris et al. 2008). In other words, resilience represents a state of conditional adjustment, given the condition of adversity. Resilience further registers action, agency, and control, (Mullin and Arce, 2008). The import of resilience as a goal of promotion in social services is justified as a kind of positive development in the service user (Ungar 2010). At issue in the promotion remains the clarification of ways to achieve feasible and sustainable development in resilience that can optimize the use of resources, given the inadequate resources of the service user (Norris et al. 2008; O’Donnell et al. 2002). The issue arises when resilience depends on myriad factors, whose effects are yet uncertain, because of the lack of a contest of the factors predicated on an integrated theoretical framework.
A prominent pillar of the framework is the differentiation of ontogenetic and sociogenetic factors affecting resilience. Whereas ontogenetic factors comprise the user’s own ability, belief, and act, sociogenetic factors muster influences from the social environment of the user. Essential for social services is the clarification of the effects of various factors for the formulation of viable practice to promote the user‘s resilience. The clarification is the onus of the present study of social service users in Hong Kong, China.
The essential criterion factors of concern are the user‘s resilience and adjustment, whereas the intermediate factors leading to the criterion factors are the user‘s self-understanding, learning to cope, resilient act, benevolent world belief, resilient belief, receiving support, receiving advice, and receiving sincere talk, and more fundamental factors are the user‘s adversity encountered and disability. Among the factors, self-understanding, learning to cope, resilient act, benevolent world belief, resilient belief, and disability are ontogenetic factors, whereas receiving support, receiving advice, receiving sincere talk, and adversity are sociogenetic factors.
In the first place, the study juxtaposes resilience and adjustment in order to demonstrate their similar responsiveness to various factors. In support of the similarity, resilience represents conditional adjustment in the face of adversity, thus reflecting effective adjustment that is especially treasurable. As such, resilience encompasses the notions of adversity or its facing, assertiveness, independence, self-sufficiency, goal-orientation, determination, adaptation, flexibility, confidence, problem solving, coherence, coping, negotiation, normalizing, safety, health, overcoming, recovery, competence, benefit finding, and meaning making (Aldwin et al. 2009; Greeff and van der Merwe 2004; Henry 2001; Hines et al. 2005; Ho et al. 2010; Mullin and Arce 2008; Orthner et al. 2004; Ungar 2004). Essentially, resilience is not just coping and success to solve problems, as adversity can be formidable (Karoly and Ruehlman 2006). Through various processes, resilience is to maintain homeostasis or bouncing back in the face of adversity (Norris et al. 2008). As an outcome state, resilience is definitely not an ability, belief, or act (O‘Donnell et al. 2002). Instead, resilience is the supposed result of resilient belief and resilient act, which are belief in and act to sustain resilience (Mullin and Arce 2008; Norris et al. 2008; Schofield 2002; Simon et al. 2005). As a condition for resilience, resilient belief particularly represents resiliency (i.e., not resilience) (Conger and Conger 2002; Cornum et al. 2011; Kail and Ziol-Guest 2005). Meanwhile, adjustment means a lack of mental problems (Punyko et al. 2007). Adjustment encompasses the notions of faith, hope, normalization, acceptance, safety, positive attitude, and the absence of distress, depression, anxiety, anger, and intrusive thought (Costa-Requena and Gil 2009; Helgeson et al. 2001; Mawn 1999; Redd et al. 2001). It differs from resilience in the lack of the necessary role of adversity and the need for bouncing back to the normal or initial state.
Intermediate factors under consideration are the user‘s self-understanding, learning to cope, resilient act, benevolent world belief, resilient belief, receiving support, receiving advice, and receiving sincere talk. Self-understanding means positive, sympathetic self-awareness about one‘s strength to reach a realistic evaluation of oneself (Kernis and Goldman 2006; Webster 2010). Notably, self-understanding also taps understanding about others, as the self inherently connects and responds to others. Learning to cope refers to learning to handle adversity(Larson 1994; Olson et al. 2005). It importantly represents interface between the individual and social environment. Benevolent world belief refers to belief in a world that is benevolent or helpful (Janoff-Bulman 1992; Tomich and Helgeson 2002). Receiving support refers to having help or sympathy from someone (Harper et al. 2007). Receiving advice refers to getting requests from others to deal with adversity (Pinkerton and Dolan 2007). Receiving sincere talk refers to finding others‘ saying as true or apropos (Brazier 1995; Schumann 2012).


Citation Format(s)

Social production of resilience and adjustment in social service users. / Cheung, Chau-kiu; Lee, Tak-yan; Kam, Ping Kwong.

Advances in Sociology Research . ed. / Jared A. Jaworski. Vol. 16 New York : NOVA Science Publishers, 2015. p. 51-57 (Advances in Sociology Research).

Research output: Chapters, Conference Papers, Creative and Literary Works (RGC: 12, 32, 41, 45)12_Chapter in an edited book (Author)peer-review