Changing the narrative – Life span perspectives on multiple adversity

Lisa Bunting, Anne Lazenbatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
608 Downloads (Pure)


Although the impact of multiple adverse events in childhood is well known, it is equally accepted that the variation in individual trajectories and outcomes is significant. Resilience focuses on positive adaption in the face of adversity, offering a counterbalance to deficit-based research and risk averse, procedurally driven practice. Positive relationships and secure attachments are widely considered to be the cornerstone of resilience, yet, within social work practice, there is a tendency to consider attachment only in relation to children and adults. Three biographical narratives are used to explore resilience and attachment through a narrative identity framework, exploring parents' experiences of multiple adversities over their lifespan, their close relationships, and their experiences of child welfare interventions. It argues for the importance of narrative in social work assessment, particularly in relation to families with complex needs, illustrating how this enables a richer, more nuanced understanding of mothers and fathers as individuals in their own right, and provides insight into how alternative narratives might be better supported and developed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)484-500
JournalQualitative Social Work
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016


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