Over the past decade, the concepts of relational and family resilience have emerged as topics of interest in family science. Individual, family, and community level determinants of family resilience have received increased amount of attention in family resilience research particularly among low-income minority families. Correlates of poverty among minority families that have been noted in the literature are that of substance abuse and lower levels of mental health. The primary aim of this study was to operationalize the concept of family resilience and develop an empirically-based model of family resilience. The secondary aim, as it relates to the epidemics of lowered health and substance abuse, was to develop this model with an emphasis on predicting behavioral health outcomes. Guided by an integrated Family Resilience Framework, Family Ecology, and Multicultural Feminist theory, the interdependent relationships between community, family, and individual resilience were examined among 380 low-income families living in public housing. Structural equation modeling was employed to examine a model in which factors that promote community resilience, family resilience, and individual resilience were expected to predict risks associated with substance abuse through their association with mental and physical health. This conceptual model was supported by the data, and produced significant pathways predicting the variation of mental health, physical health, and substance abuse patterns in the sample. Implications for the findings for research, practice, and social policy are discussed.

LLU Discipline

Family Studies


Counseling and Family Sciences


School of Behavioral Health

First Advisor

Distelberg, Brian

Second Advisor

Chand, Ian

Third Advisor

Herring, R. Patricia

Fourth Advisor

Huenergardt, Douglas

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Level


Year Degree Awarded

January 2013

Date (Title Page)




Library of Congress/MESH Subject Headings

Family - Mental Health; Resilience (Personality trait); Family Psychotherapy; Family Social Work; Family - Psychology; Poverty; Socioeconomic Factors

Subject - Local

Family Resilience; Determinants; Poverty; Family Resilience Research; Low-income Minority Families; Family Ecology; Multicultural Feminist Theory



Page Count

285 p.

Digital Format


Digital Publisher

Loma Linda University Libraries

Usage Rights

This title appears here courtesy of the author, who has granted Loma Linda University a limited, non-exclusive right to make this publication available to the public. The author retains all other copyrights.


Loma Linda University Electronic Theses & Dissertations

Collection Website



Loma Linda University. Del E. Webb Memorial Library. University Archives