An exploration of adolescent girls’ perceptions of lifestyle and wellness

Ryan, Vidette (2017-03)

Thesis (MEdPsych) --Stellenbosch University, 2017

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Addressing concerns relating to adolescent lifestyles and wellness necessitate the move towards integrative approaches in this field. This shift would accentuate the importance of incorporating adolescents’ perceptions of lifestyle and wellness within applied research studies through engaging them in collaborative and qualitative narratives. This inclusion is deemed necessary as adolescents may hold valuable insights about these constructs and the impact it may have on their own lives. Research has shown that lifestyle can directly and indirectly influence wellness and is thus viewed as one of the single most determining factors that can impact general health and wellness. However, defining lifestyle and wellness is challenging. Lifestyle is still vaguely described as a way of living that reflects attitudes and patterns of behaviour of an individual or group of individuals. Yet, lifestyle is more than just a way of living. Defining wellness is made complex due to its interchangeable use with the concept of wellbeing. Wellness is commonly described as an orientation of lifestyle concerned with the holistic integration of the body, mind and spirit with multidimensional facets of life in order to attain an optimal state of health and wellbeing. Wellness represents a continuum and not an end-state. The operationalisation and experimentation of finding suitable lifestyles that can influence wellness is shaped during adolescence, therefore a distinctive understanding of what adolescent lifestyle and wellness entails should be obtained. The study was based on post-structuralist ideas of promoting healthy functioning as a dynamic interaction between person and contextual factors. The purpose of this study was therefore centred on exploring the personal constructions of four adolescent girls’ perceptions and understanding of lifestyle and wellness. This exploration included participants’ own explanations of lifestyle and wellness; perceptions of general factors that they perceived may impact lifestyle and wellness; and insights of contextual perceptions of lifestyle and wellness as it pertained to themselves, their families and their community. This exploration occurred through means of a qualitative research design that was presented in the form of an instrumental case study. Due to the qualitative and integrative nature of this study convenience sampling was used to purposefully select the four adolescent girls who participated in an existing afterschool sports program. The study’s integrative theoretical framework was based on conceptual principles of George Kelly’s personal construct theory and Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological model. The qualitative data collection methods used consisted out of focus group discussions, individual reflective writing worksheets with open-ended questions and creative picture line constructions. Supplementary data collection methods consisted out of unstructured observations, retrospective reflections and an adapted form of the repertory grid technique. The constant comparative method was used for data analysis. The methodology was based on the belief that adolescents are no longer regarded as the recipients of generic programmes designed by experts. They are believed to be knowledgeable and valuable participants in developing contextually relevant psycho-educational and preventative programmes. In the process of making sense of the constructs of lifestyle and wellness, participants assisted in making these constructs more accessible in order to address lifestyle and wellness related concerns. Findings from this study indicated that both lifestyle and wellness can be seen as complex, dynamic, multidimensional and interrelated in nature. Adolescent participants’ lifestyle knowledge appeared to be better developed. However, it was observed that limited wellness knowledge and the uncertainty about the meaning of wellness existed for participants. This signifies that a gap for wellness education within this particular cohort may exist. A central recommendation made from the findings of this study is that more research within the fields of adolescent lifestyle and wellness ought to be conducted. Exploring the perceptions of adolescents may provide valuable information on health promoting or impeding behaviours. This can direct the type of intervention strategies that may be required to promote optimal development and the fostering of resilience amongst adolescents in the South African context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Die aanspreking van bekommernisse met betrekking tot adolessente leefstyl en welwees vereis die verskuiwing na integrerende benaderinge in hierdie veld. Dit sal die belangrikheid van die insluiting van adolessente se persepsies ten opsigte van leefstyl en welwees deur kollaboratiewe en kwalitatiewe gesprekke binne toegepaste navorsingstudies beklemtoon. Hierdie insluiting word as noodsaaklik geag omdat adolessente waardevolle insigte oor hierdie konstrukte en die impak wat dit op hul eie lewens kan hê mag besit. Navorsing toon dat leefstyl welwees direk en indirek kan beïnvloed en word beskou as een van die enkel mees bepalende faktore wat algemene gesondheid en welwees kan impakteer. Die definiëring van leefstyl en welwees is uitdagend. Leefstyl word nog vaagweg beskryf as 'n manier van lewe wat die houdings en gedragspatrone van 'n individu of groep individue weerspieël. Tog is leefstyl meer as net 'n manier van lewe. Die definiëring van welwees is ingewikkeld weens die wisselende gebruik daarvan met die konsep welstand. Welwees word algemeen beskryf as 'n leefstyloriëntasie waar die liggaam, verstand en gees holisities geïntegreer is met multidimensionele lewensfasette in ‘n poging om 'n optimale toestand van gesondheid en welsyn te bewerkstellig. Welwees verteenwoordig ‘n kontinuum en nie ‘n eindstaat. Die operasionalisering en eksperimentering van geskikte leefstyle wat welwees kan beïnvloed vind tydens adolessensie plaas. Daarom moet daar 'n kenmerkende begrip van wat adolessente leefstyl en welwees behels verkry word. Hierdie studie was gebaseer op post-strukturele idees wat die bevordering van gesonde funksionering as 'n dinamiese interaksie tussen persoon en kontekstuele faktore beklemtoon. Die doel van die studie was om die persoonlike konstruksies van vier adolessente dogters se persepsies en begrip van leefstyl en welwees te verken. Die verkenning het deelnemers se persepsies en beskrywings van leefstyl en welwees; hul persepsies van algemene faktore wat leefstyl en welwees kan beïnvloed; asook insigte rakende die kontekstuele persepsies van leefstyl en welwees ten opsigte van hulself, hul gesinne en hul gemeenskap ingesluit. Die eksplorasie het plaasgevind deur die toepassing van ‘n kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp in die formaat van ‘n instrumentele gevallestudie. Vanweë die kwalitatiewe en integrerende aard van die studie was ‘n gemaklikheidsteekproef gebruik om die vier adolessente dogters wat deelgeneem het aan 'n bestaande naskoolse sportprogram doelbewus te kies. Die studie se integrerende teoretiese raamwerk was gebaseer op konseptuele beginsels van George Kelly se persoonlike konstruk teorie en Urie Bronfenbrenner se bioekologiese model. Die kwalitatiewe datainsamelingstegnieke het bestaan uit fokusgroepbesprekings, individuele werkstukke met oop-eindigende vrae en kreatiewe prentelynkonstruksies. Ondersteunende datainsamelingstegnieke het bestaan uit ongestruktureerde waarnemings, retrospektiewe refleksies en ‘n aangepaste weergawe van die repertoirerooster-tegniek. Die konstante vergelykingsmetode is gebruik vir dataverwerking. Die metodologie was gebaseer op die oortuiging dat adolessente nie meer beskou word as blote ontvangers van generiese programme wat deur kundiges ontwerp word nie. Hulle word geag as kundiges en waardevolle deelnemers wat kan help om kontekstueel relevante psigo-opvoedkundige en voorkomende programme te ontwikkel . In die proses om sin te maak van die konstrukte leefstyl en welwees, het die deelnemers gehelp om hierdie konstrukte meer toeganklik te maak om sodoende kwessies rakende leefstyl en welwees aan te spreek. Bevindinge van die studie het getoon dat beide leefstyl en welwees beskou kan word as komplekse, dinamiese, multidimensionele en onderlangs verwante konstrukte. Adolessente deelnemers se kennis van leefstyl het voorgekom as goed ontwikkeld. Daar is waargeneem dat beperkte kennis en onsekerheid rondom die betekenis van welwees by deelnemers bestaan. Dit dui aan dat 'n gaping rakende welwees onderrig by hierdie spesifieke kohort mag bestaan. 'n Sentrale aanbeveling op grond van hierdie bevindinge is dat meer navorsing binne die veld van adolessente leefstyl en welwees onderneem moet word. Die verkenning van persepsies van adolessente kan waardevolle inligting verskaf rakende gedrag wat gesondheid kan bevorder of belemmer. Dit kan aanduidings verskaf oor die tipe intervensiestrategieë wat benodig mag word om optimale ontwikkeling en die veerkragtigheid van adolessente binne in die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks te bevorder.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/101075
This item appears in the following collections: