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Finding a voice: the experiences of Chinese family members participating in family support groups

Family support groups (FSG) are an important source of intervention for caregivers of an older, frailer, or ill family member. Whether and how FSG works within ethnic minority groups is not well understood, however. Drawing on data from a sub-set of a larger qualitative study focused on exploring the impact of participating in a family support group, this study examined how culture influenced the FSG experience of Chinese family caregivers. In-depth, personal interviews were conducted with six Chinese family caregivers about their experiences participating in a family support group. Analysis suggested that while many of the participants' experiences with the family support groups were not inconsistent with those reported by mainstream participants, the overarching theme that dominated their stories was different and was strongly linked to culture by all of the participants. Specifically, participants framed their experience in the support groups as pivotal for helping them become more assertive in relation to the care needs of their relative and themselves. Through the process of attending the groups, participants began to: (1) challenge the cultural values and beliefs about “speaking out” as negative, (2) reframe and recognize the value of “speaking out” as an important aspect of care provision, and (3) re-envision a new framework for providing care. This enabled family members to reposition themselves in their care-partnering role and find a voice within the broader health care system.

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Additional Titles
Social Work with Groups

Key Information

Type of Reference
Jour
ISBN/ISSN
1540-9481;0160-9513
Resource Database
Social care online
Publication Year
2008
Issue Number
2
Volume Number
31
Start Page
117-135