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Journal Article


Moore J, Flynn M, Morgan M. Child Abuse Rev. 2019; 28(1): 52-68.


(Copyright © 2019, John Wiley and Sons)






Survivors of clerical institutional childhood abuse (ICA) experience poor mental health outcomes in adulthood. Resilience research with this group has focused on psychological adjustment and we know less about the factors across the social ecology that support positive adaptation, including the impact of migration. This study explores the influence of resilience-enhancing factors across the social ecology on the mental wellbeing (MWB) of Irish emigrant survivors of ICA and how this compares with non-migrant survivors. Fifty-six survivors based in the UK and 46 based in Ireland completed a quantitative survey that assessed resilience-potentiating resources and associations with MWB. A further nine participants, resident in the UK, engaged in a structured interview which aimed to further explain these quantitative data.

RESULTS indicate more resilience-enhancing resources across the ecology of emigrant survivors of ICA. Personal skills and competencies, such as problem-focused coping, altruism and defiance, and social inclusion were associated with MWB regardless of country of residence. For the migrant group, social identity not defined by institutional care facilitated social inclusion. Migration to the UK and informal instrumental support in the aftermath of institutional care were identified as key turning points towards resilience. Key Practitioner Messages Multiple factors across the ecology influence the resilience of survivors of institutional childhood abuse (ICA). Resilience strategies for survivors of ICA are contextual and may appear maladaptive to practitioners unfamiliar with the cultural context of this abuse. For Irish emigrant survivors of ICA, problem-focused coping, defiance, altruism, social inclusion, instrumental support and a social identity not defined by childhood abuse enhanced resilience. Resilience is dynamic and emerges over time for adult survivors of chronic childhood abuse. 'Explores the influence of resilience-enhancing factors across the social ecology on the mental wellbeing… of Irish emigrant survivors of institutional childhood abuse'

Language: en


institutional childhood abuse; mental wellbeing; migration; resilience


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