Date of Conferral







Dr. Elizabeth Weinbaum Weinbaum


Lack of a support system for older females with mental illness may cause reduced resiliency skills and an increase in mental illness symptoms while they attempt to manage independent living. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the individual stories of older women living independently who suffer from a mental illness and have a support system. Social learning theory and self-efficacy theory provided the framework for the study. Data were collected from face-to-face interviews with 8 women ages 65-80 years who are in treatment at a mental health center in South Carolina. Findings from coding analysis showed that having a family member providing support inside or outside the home gave older females with a mental illness a more positive outlook and enabled them to have good hygiene, clean clothing, something to believe in, and someone to look forward to seeing on a regular basis. The findings may serve professionals striving to gain knowledge of how mental illness impacts the daily functioning of older females while also suggesting that there is a relationship between family support and resiliency.