Wellbeing as Positive Outcome of a Social Connectedness Pathway to Resilience: An Indigenous Psychology Perspective

  • Janna de Gouveia
  • Liesel EbersöhnEmail author
Part of the International Handbooks of Quality-of-Life book series (IHQL)


Over a 3-year period, we asked indigenous VhaVhenda and AmaSwati (n = 135, male = 57, female = 78, elders = 53, young people = 82) in two purposively selected, severely challenged remote sites in South Africa to tell us: ‘If you go to bed tonight, how do you know this was a good day?’ Employing Participatory Reflection and Action, we used an indigenous-appropriate prompt to elicit emic perspectives in home-languages during participatory diagramming. We used thematic analysis for in-case and cross-case analysis of back-translated, verbatim transcriptions of audio-recorded PRA-answers, as well as observation data generated by multiple researchers (visual data, field notes, researcher journals). Several themes of indigenous pathways to resilience with positive wellbeing outcomes became evident – one of which we discuss in this chapter. Similar to findings in other studies from non-western perspectives, participating indigenous South Africans leverage social connectedness in relationships where there is reciprocity and where their valuing of socio-cultural identity exist in social engagement. In times of hardship they leverage social connectedness to flock together for social support in order to resile. Regardless of worldview or harshness of challenges, social connectedness appears to make people happy. Our findings suggest that social connectedness enable eudaimonic wellbeing which reflects positive social functioning and positive psychological functioning.


Wellbeing Social connectedness Resilience Indigenous psychology PRA Positive psychology Life satisfaction 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for the Study of Resilience, University of PretoriaPretoriaSouth Africa

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