model case is defined as a scenario or situation that includes attributes of a
concept (Walker & Avant, 2005). The
following case is an example of a model case for the concept of resilience.
Judy is a 25-year-old female who
grew up in a dysfunctional family environment.
She is the primary caregiver for her father, who is widowed, and her
brother who has downs syndrome. Judy’s
mother died when she was 15-years-old from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Judy had
all of these responsibilities before getting married. Judy had the support of her Aunt Maria, who
would come over to help clean, make dinner, and take her brother or father to
Judy is typically very social and
active. She played sports in high school
and college. Her friends would comment
on how Judy social, caring, and positive individual. One day, Judy woke up and she suddenly
notices her left leg is dragging. This
was alarming because not only is Judy is left-side dominant, but she is also
worried that it could be MS because of her familial history. Judy’s husband brought her to the emergency
room where she is diagnosed with a thrombolytic stroke.
Judy begins experiencing more
left-sided weakness, but is still able to talk and communicate
effectively. She is happy because she is
still able to utilize her laughter and humor in such a difficult time, and this
is her primary coping mechanism. She
remains very positive with family, friends, doctors, and nurses. She is able to overcome her fear of needles
and undergo many tests to determine the cause of the stroke.
During Judy’s recovery process, Aunt
Maria offered for Judy and her husband to stay with her for a period of
time. Since Judy is so positive, she
replied, “We won’t have to stay long. I
fully intend on doing what I have to do to get well. I will go to Physical Therapy and do all I
need to do get well and out of your house.”
When the nurses and doctors asked Judy how she is able to remain so
positive Judy replied, “I rely on my support systems. I have also been through other crises in my
life and have been able to bounce back from them all. I am very independent and will continue to
work through any adversity that comes my way.”
Over the next year, Judy worked with the physical therapy staff to make
a full recovery from the stroke. She now
takes blood thinners to prevent any further strokes, has continued to remain
active and social, and is now a new mother.
In this case, Judy is able to see
past the current negative situation life has thrown at her. Judy is a young woman to have a stroke. A person who is not resilient may change
their life views and think of this as something negative. Judy truly encompasses the meaning of “resilience”
and is able to “bounce back” and overcome the thrombolytic stroke and she is
now flourishing in accomplishments. This
is a model case of resilience.
A borderline case, as defined by
Walker and Avant (2005), is a case that includes some of the defining
attributes, but not all of them. A
borderline case my contain most of the attributes but differ significantly in a
length of time, intensity, or occurrence.
The following is an example of a borderline case of the concept of
Carmen is a 30-year-old Hispanic
female who has a 5-year-old daughter.
Carmen and her daughter were recently rehoused after living in a
homeless shelter for several months.
Carmen is currently eight months pregnant and has another 2-year-old son
who lives with the boy’s parents since she is homeless. This is her second time being homeless in
less than a year. Both episodes of
homelessness occurred after her friend, who she was financially dependent on,
was unable to support herself and her children anymore.
When Carmen moved to Atlanta, she
was initially highly motivated to find new housing for her family, but did not
realize how much worked needed to be done to find the financial help
needed. She relied on other people to
give her this information instead of trying to find it herself. Carmen eventually achieved her goal of
finding housing and was reunited with her 2-year-old son. However, she did not have any long-term plans
of how she was going to maintain this stable housing, and she is not currently
seeking employment. She is currently
Carmen’s case is a borderline case
of resilience. Carmen only was able to
overcome her situation when she was faced with the reality of being separated
from one child, and the fact that she, and her daughter, were living in a
homeless shelter. She only acted upon
the steps necessary to get her into the rehousing process. Once she was able to find a house, she has
not done any planning for her future to fully remedy the cause of her
homelessness. Carmen has not overcome
the risk for future episodes of homelessness.
A related case is a case that is
related to the concept, but does not contain the defining attributes (Walker
& Avant, 2005). The following is an
example of a related case of the concept of resilience.
Ron’s childhood was a little
different than most. Ron grew up in an
unstable environment. His mother
suffered from bipolar disease, but she never took her medications, and she
experienced more mania than depression.
She would frequently show up to Ron’s functions in wild attire and often
have grand, outrageous ideas. His father
was a somewhat functioning alcoholic, non-abusive towards Ron, but drank to
escape reality. Ron’s family’s financial
stability was a roller coaster. They
experienced many ups and downs. At
times, they were able to live very lavishly when Ron’s father’s business was
flourishing, and other times, they had cars repossessed in their front
Ron attended a private boarding
school for high school. Every semester,
he never knew if he would be asked to leave the school due to nonpayment of
tuition. He was social and had many
friendships but was never really confident in himself. Ron began drinking at boarding school and continued
to drink until he finished college. He
graduated and wanted to become a lawyer.
He was able to finish law school in three years, despite the drinking
and the enormous amounts of financial debt he was in.
Ron was able to pass the bar on his
first try, but was never able to hold a steady job as an attorney. At the age of 35, Ron’s power would
frequently be shut down, he would have cars repossessed, or even get evicted
from apartments. Despite these setbacks,
Ron was always able to get back on his feet.
Ron believed he was a good attorney and had come a long way. He lived his life the way he wanted to, with
Ron’s case is an example of a
related case because Ron was able to accomplish many things in his life. Despite all the accomplishments, his life was
filled with constant setbacks, which he was never able to grow and learn from
these setbacks. Ron just drifted through
his life, with all of his struggles, and never did anything to truly change the
root of the difficulties. Ron continued
to lose jobs, drink, and not pay bills.
If Ron was truly resilient, he would have made the necessary changes to
better his lifestyle, not continue to glide through life. This is why Ron’s case is considered related
A contrary case is a case that is
the opposite of the concept (Walker & Avant, 2005). The following case represents a contrary case
of the concept of resilience.
Paula is a 37-year-old female who
has been married since the age of 19.
Her husband is older, abusive, and dominating. Although Paula never wanted this life for herself,
she was use to the abuse. Her mother was
very abusive towards her and her stepfather was an alcoholic. Paula never went to college because she never
believed that she could succeed. She
worked as a secretary until she married her husband, and then quit her job to
take care of him. Over the course of
their marriage, Paula had three children.
Paula did not have many friends, spoke very little to her own parents,
and never truly bonded with her children.
Paula turned out to be just as abusive to her children and her mother
was to her.
Paula decided she had enough of this
life and took her money and left her husband and children. She had the belief that she could begin
working as a secretary again, but she always called out sick, was not very good
at her job, and did not like associating with people. She found herself with little money, in a
single bedroom apartment, and living day-by-day.
Paula met a new man, and they were
married three months later. He was not
abusive, but did not speak much to Paula.
Paula spent the entire marriage feeling isolated and miserable. She never did anything to become
self-sufficient or to improve herself.
Her husband died of a heart attack and only left her with the
mortgage. She was forced to sell the
house, to go rent an apartment, and to begin looking for a job again. Paula attempted to reach out to her children,
but none of them would help her. A
couple of years later, Paula died of lung cancer after smoking for almost 40
This final case suggests an absence
of the attributes of overcoming, or resilience.
Paula saw that she was in unfortunate situations, but was not able to
acknowledge the potential of better circumstances.