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Psychosocial dimensions of change: An application of attachment theory and analytical psychology to family life in post-war Kosovo

Iberni, Elisabetta (2017) Psychosocial dimensions of change: An application of attachment theory and analytical psychology to family life in post-war Kosovo. PhD thesis, University of Essex.


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This empirical study attempted to develop an original theoretical framework aiming at understanding the psychosocial changes that occurred in the long - term among families living in a post conflict setting. During the last fifteen years, Kosovo has been transitioning from warfare and organized violence to stabilization and state building under the supervision and with the support of the international community. Drawing on different contributions from analytical psychology, attachment theory and the systemic family theory , the theoretical framework focused primarily on family relationships and observed them through both a psychological and a psychosocial perspective. The empirical study attempted to observe the complex relational matrix interconnecting individuals and families with their broader context encompassing societal, economic, cultural and political facets. A total of thirty-five families belonging to different ethnic and socio-economic groups participated in the study, originating from different areas of the region . They were exposed to war events with different intensity and to gross violations of human rights that occurred between the years 1998-1999. The research explored the process of psychological and psychosocial transformation that occurred in family life by focusing on the quality of family attachment behaviours between children and caregivers and on care - giving/parenting styles. Moreover, the impact of the process of 'internationalization' was taken into account, which has been defined as the whole of the interactions involving the local population and international community, taking place both in Kosovo as well as in third countries. The role of technology and social media in providing opportunities for regular contacts with relatives and friends living abroad and strengthening further family relationships was also considered. The results showed that when families were exposed to harsh daily stressors, marginalization and discrimination even before war-related events they were more likely to display limited family psychosocial functioning, inadequate parenting and caregiving and mothers to report more frequently psychopathological symptoms of depression and anxiety. Secondly, attachment security within family and responsive parenting styles appeared to have a mediational role towards potentially traumatic experiences and adverse environmental conditions by enhancing the capacity of positively coping with adversities at both a personal and family level. Thirdly , the long-term effects of war experiences seemed to be also linked to changes in the society, in particular to the transformations caused by the process of 'internationalization', such as the promotion of a human rights based culture, law enforcement and infrastructural interventions aiming at developing communication systems and information technology. The study discusses the potential factors supporting lasting resilience and the Adversity Activated Development responses in individuals and families.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Women
R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0500 Psychoanalysis
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 04 Jul 2017 09:08
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 01:00

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