Document Type

Journal Article


Faculty of Computing, Health and Science


School of Psychology and Social Science / Lifespan Resilience Research Group




This article was originally published as: Ferguson, C. A., Harms, C. A., Pooley, J. , Cohen, L. , & Tomlinson, S. (2012). Crime Prevention: The Role of Individual Resilience within the Family. Psychiatry Psychology and Law, 20(3), 1-8. Original article available here


Resilience is context dependent but for resilience to be present, two elements must co-occur: adversity (i.e., high-risk situation/threat) and successful adaptation/competence. An understanding of resilience is important for professionals dealing with at-risk families. This exploratory research investigated how individuals caring for a family member with a mental illness adapted to the role of carer or supporter. Fifteen participants mostly aged 50 years or more were interviewed. Content analysis was used to develop themes from the interview transcripts. Seven themes were elicited from the data. Three of these fit with existing knowledge about challenges faced by offenders’ families. The article concludes that strengthening families and improving family communication is not only important for good individual mental health and family functioning but may also play a role in crime prevention/reduction. Implications for those working in mental health settings are provided.