Laat-adolessente se vreeshanteringsmeganismes en waargenome doeltreffendheid daarvan : 'n huidige en retrospektiewe profiel
The primary objective of the current study was to determine the fear-coping mechanisms of a group of late adolescents regarding normal fears and their perceived efficacy of these mechanisms during recall of their early childhood and their perception of their current functioning. The secondary aim of this study was to determine any gender differences in terms of this group of late adolescents' fear-coping mechanisms regarding their early-childhood fears, that were retrospectively recalled by them, and also to determine gender differences in terms of their fear-coping mechanisms in response to their current fears. Within the South African context Loxton (2004) proposed the primary-secondary control model as a suitable model for describing the fear-coping mechanisms of young children (between the ages of 5 and 7 years). The primary-secondary control model is based on studies by Band and Weisz (1988) and Tremewan and Strongman (1991). This model was used as a framework for the current study in order to be able to do a comparative study of the current fear-coping mechanisms of late adolescents and their early-childhood fear-coping mechanisms reported retrospectively. A group of late adolescents enrolled as first-year students at a tertiary institution in the Western Cape, South Africa, were approached to participate voluntarily. The questionnaires were completed by 255 students between the ages of 17 and 27 years, with a mean age of 19.4years (SD=1.49). Of the 255 participants 52 were male and 203 female. The study was a combination of qualitative and quantitative research, which was mainly explorative in nature. The Free-Option-Method Questionnaire which forms part of a bigger research project, was the first questionnaire to be completed by the students. Based on the expression of fears, the focus was aimed at the coping of fears and the perceived efficacy thereof. In order to facilitate appropriate comparisons, the content of the responses as well as the number of responses were coded according to categories identified by Band and Weisz (1988), Loxton (2004) and Tremewan and Strongman (1991). Participants reported that the most efficacious coping mechanisms were also those most frequently used. In terms of the sustainability of fear-coping mechanisms, it seems as though direct problem solving and problem-focused avoidance were two of the three most frequently used as well as the most efficacious coping mechanisms, during both early childhood and late adolescence. No statistical significant differences were found with regard to gender during the retrospective recall of fear-coping mechanisms and the perceived efficacy of early-childhood coping mechanisms. Statistical significant differences were however found between gender groups with regard to fear-coping mechanisms during late adolescence. A recent study by Loxton (2004) relating to fear-coping mechanisms offered support for the majority of findings of the current study.