Journey towards independent living: resilience processes of women leaving residential care in South Africa

Adrian D. van Breda, Joyce Hlungwani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Among the many youth transitioning to young adulthood, a group that has been found to be particularly vulnerable is young people transitioning out of care, particularly residential care. Research on this population of youth has burgeoned over the past few decades, but in South Africa it remains limited. This article focuses on the resilience processes that facilitate better transitions of young women out of care and towards independent living. It replicates the research design of a previous study with young men, with the aim of determining to what extent the resilience process of young women are similar to those of men. A sample of nine women was purposively selected, interviewed in-depth and data analysed using grounded theory methods. The findings indicate that the same resilience process found among male care-leavers are evident also in the narratives of female care-leavers, confirming the findings of the previous study. However, these processes had a slightly stronger relational focus among women than was seen among men. The authors conclude that similar resilience-building programmes can be implemented to prepare both males and females for leaving care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-622
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2019


  • Care-leaving
  • aftercare
  • child and youth care
  • independent living
  • resilience
  • youth transitions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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