Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Science


Health and Rehabilitation Sciences


Dr. Jan Polgar

2nd Supervisor

Donna Dennis

Joint Supervisor


This thesis is a study of the lived experience of poverty and resilience among women who lived in poverty during childhood. The aim of this study was to investigate the impact of social integration on resilience to the adverse effects of poverty. This investigation was conducted as a retrospective study. Using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach, seven women who lived in poverty during childhood were interviewed in semi-structured interviews lasting 60 to 90 minutes. These interviews, along with a member-checking meeting, were the primary method of data collection. Data was analyzed through thematic analysis informed by van Manen (1990, 1997). The major themes of this thesis arose from three main concepts: the challenges of poverty, the impact of poverty, and the adaptations made due to living in poverty. Social integration was found to influence resilience through providing support, and enabling children to gain social capital. It is suggested that resilience can be supported in children by: maximizing opportunities for participation in group activities; ensuring a culture of caring and non-judgmental support; and increasing presence of organizations that provide safe and supportive programs.