Effek van projektiewe narratiewe op kinders in kinderhuise se tekeninge van vrees
The study investigated the effect of using projective narratives and drawings that depict diminished fear, on the anxiety levels of a group of children living in children’s homes, by means of a mixed methodology. The sample consisted of 30 middle childhood children (mean age = 9.60 years, SD = 1.13) from three children’s homes in the Western Cape. Drawings were used to elicit content of fear or anxiety (anxiety evoking drawing/bangmaaktekening) and proposed coping (anxiety lessening drawing/bangwegvattekening). After completing the anxiety provoking drawing, participants in the experimental group were asked to tell a story to other children with a similar fear to lessen/take that fear away (projective narrative). The Spence Childhood Anxiety Scale (SCAS) was completed after each drawing, and drawings evaluated through the use of anxiety scales, to measure changes in anxiety levels according to the concept of triangulation. The categories ghosts, snakes, and people were found to be the most prevalent content of fear from anxiety provoking drawings, and undifferentiated fears were also common within this population. Control of anxiety from anxiety lessening drawings indicated a definite prevalence of emotion focused (secondary) coping strategies, specifically religious solace. The content of projective narratives echoed this finding, although proposed solutions were more differentiated. Ownership of projections also occurred. The experimental effect was not significant, although mean anxiety levels were considerably lower in the drawings in comparison with that of the SCAS. Drawings are thus seen as an effective, nonthreatening technique to study anxiety phenomena. A comparison of the mean item scores of the SCAS subscales indicated that symptoms of separation anxiety, generalised anxiety disorder, and obsessivecompulsive anxiety disorder were prevalent among this group of children in children’s homes. A clear distinction was found between markers of state- and trait-anxiety through the qualitative analysis of the drawings, with anxiety lessening drawings showing definite diminished state-anxiety, although more established markers of trait-anxiety did not necessarily change. There are also indications that transference of activated negative emotional stimuli occurred on an unconscious level between the two drawings. Introducing the combination of projective narratives in the intervention stage of the study appeared to facilitate learning or the experience of observed positive affect in anxiety lessened drawings. Future research would benefit from including a normative group to establish more clear markers of state- and trait-anxiety in drawings, and by the use of a bigger sample to investigate factor loadings of the SCAS among children in children’s homes. The high prevalence of anxiety symptoms in this population emphasises their status as a vulnerable population, and the need for possible group intervention – specifically the psycho-education of effective coping strategies for anxiety.