Relocation of Families after Uprooting with and without the Help of Community "CANCELLED"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: 303
Sara ARNON , Multidisciplinary Studies, Tel Hai College, Israel
The paper deals with the question: Does the community's social capital strengthen the practical resilience and emotional wellbeing of its citizen families and support them to establish psychological and social harmony in their lives after a traumatic stressful event?

This question was investigated among Israelis who were evacuated from their homes and communities as part of an Israeli government peace process initiative. Some of the families chose an individual way of life after evacuation and most of them relocated with their former evacuated community friend families. The research compared these two groups, investigating their success in recovering from the evacuation trauma and effectively adjusting to the change in their lives. Data was collected by face-to face mixed structured and open interviews with a sample of 120 people.

The general finding was that the "individualistic" group coped better than the "community" group, both with the practical aspects of life such as working and building a new home, and also with the emotional wellbeing ramifications of uprooting. They approached a new sense of balance in their new lives earlier than those who chose to conserve the community continuity.

Thus, in contrast to general theory, a community is not necessarily a guarantee in advance for better coping of families with situations of pressure, stress and crisis. Its embrace may be double edged and may have two different contradicting influences: It may be a positive influence which strengthens and empowers its members. But it also may be a restricting element that limits and inhibits flexible and innovative functioning and may inhibit establishing new healthy psychological and social life.