Fiona McSweeney, Technological University Dublin


Resilience is a concept that is increasingly being referenced in relation to the modern day workforce where expectations on staff are to maintain the demands of the pressures and adversity faced in their working roles without any long term ill effects. Social care workers face adversity in varied forms due to the nature of the work that they do. This study examines the social care role and perceptions of factors that support the development of resilience in social care staff, which includes both individual protective factors and protective factors within organisations. A qualitative approach was used to explore the participants’ perspectives about what fosters resilience in their experiences. Six semi-structured interviews were carried out with social care leaders and managers in various disciplines and organisations. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and four themes were identified. These are: (a) factors that contribute to challenges and stressors in social care workers, (b) resilience as a developing process, (c) individual strategies that foster resilience, and (d) organisations’ responsibility and strategies to support resilience. This study identifies a gap in research on resilience for the social care sector thereby highlighting the need for more research in this area as well as suggesting ways in which resilience building can be supported in practice.