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Development of a Family-Based Program to Promote Resilience among Unemployed Families: Theoretical Basis and Implications for Future Interventions
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As the unemployment rate has remained over 9% throughout 2010 and 2011, millions of families in the U.S. and around the world are affected by unemployment. In 2010, 12.4% of families in the U.S. had at least one unemployed member, up from 12.0% in 2008 (BLS, 2011). With the predication that unemployment will remain at high levels in the near future, it is important for family researchers and professionals to establish strategies and programs that will lessen the impact and prevalence of the problems associated with unemployment. A resilience-oriented perspective can serve as a broad framework for intervention and prevention services for unemployed families.This dissertation applied the construct of resilience to family systems to learn more about ways in which unemployed individuals and their families learn to deal with and grow from this adversity. Specifically, this project involved two phases. The first phase included the development, implementation, and evaluation of a resilience-based program for unemployed individuals and their spouses/partners. Key quantitative results from Phase 1 showed that participants reported statistically significant reductions in depression and problematic family functioning from pre- to post-intervention. Moreover, B.R.I.T.E. participation was more effective in reducing depression for individuals who had relatively high levels of family protective factors when they entered the B.R.I.T.E. program.The second phase consisted of follow-up interviews with some of the B.R.I.T.E. program participants six to nine months after their participation. This phase also consisted of a focus group with additional spouses/partners of currently unemployed individuals. This was done in an effort to gather ideas as to how to increase spouse/partner participation in the future as well as to ascertain how these unemployed families coped and what advice they would like to share with other unemployed families. Qualitative results demonstrated the value of offering a program forunemployed individuals and their family members. Ideas on how to recruit family members as well as advice for other unemployed families are also highlighted. Implications for researchers, community organizations, and policymakers, limitations of the research, as well as directions for future research are outlined.