Exploring 12 to 14 year old children’s perceptions of the causes and effects of physical violence between children : a Lynedoch study

Demas, Grant (2010-03)

Thesis (MA (Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Violence occurs everywhere in the world, yet in poor communities like Lynedoch, located in the Western Cape Province of South Africa, physical violence between children has become endemic. It is so severe that in 2004 a child from this community was murdered by peers. Furthermore, a trend has been observed throughout South Africa, of serious acts of physical violence between children. This has escalated to such an extent that in 2008 the country’s schools were declared the most unsafe and dangerous in the world. The present study was undertaken to obtain a firsthand understanding of the causes and effects of physical violence between children in Lynedoch. It was further motivated by the researcher’s location as a Lynedoch resident and school teacher. The information was obtained from 12 child participants who reside in Lynedoch. Qualitative research was employed and a depth focus group interview was used to obtain the information. The information which was obtained was then categorised into units, from which the themes were extrapolated. It was the research instrument of choice, because it is highly recommended for conducting research with children and for exploring sensitive topics. Once the information was obtained, the participants were debriefed. In order to formulate a holistic and systemic understanding of the research findings Urie Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological systems theory was used as a framework. This enabled the researcher to discuss the findings within the constructs of the microsystem, the meso-system, the exo-system, the macro-system and the chrono-system. The discussion also included the issue of the influence of nature versus nurture, the emotional system, the cognitive-system and the behaviour-system. The findings of the present study revealed that the perceived causes of the physical violence between children in Lynedoch include a lack problem solving skills, difficulty dealing with certain emotions, low self-esteem, poor conflict resolution skills, domestic problems, difficulty communicating, a need for attention, and adults modeling physical violence to children. The perceived effects of physical violence between children in Lynedoch include painful emotions, desensitisation, displaced anger, vengefulness and suicidal ideation. In order to practically address the problems that were revealed through the formulation of the research findings, the present study recommends the implementation of systemic changes at multiple levels, including political, social, economic and personal changes.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geweld kom oral in die wêreld voor, veral in armer gemeenskappe soos Lynedoch, wat in die Wes-Kaap Provinsie van Suid-Afrika geleë is. In hierdie gemeenskap het fisiese geweld tussen kinders endemie geword. In 2004 is kind vermoor deur ander kinders van hierdie gemeenskap. Tendens is dwarsdeur Suid-Afrika opgemerk, van ernstige gevalle van fisiese geweld tussen kinders. Dit het so vererger dat Suid–Afrikaanse skole in 2008 as die mees onveilig en gevaarlike skole ter wêreld bestempel is. Die huidige studie was onderneem om eerstehandse begrip van die oorsake en gevolge van fisiese geweld tussen kinders in Lynedoch te verkry. Die navorser was verder gemotiveer deur sy betrokkenheid as onderwyser by die laerskool en as inwoner van die Lynedochgemeenskap. Twaalf kinders van die Lynedoch gemeenskap het deelgeneem aan die studie. Kwalitatiewe navorsing was gedoen. Fokusgroeponderhoud was gebruik om die inligting te verkry. Hierdie navorsingsintrument was gebruik omdat dit die aanbevole metode is vir navorsing met kinders en veral wanneer sensitiewe onderwerpe ondersoek word. Na die afloop van die onderhoude, was daar ontlonting vir deelnemers. Om holistiese en sistemiese begrip van die navorsingsresultate te formuleer, is Urie Bronfenbrenner se bio-ekologiese sisteeem teorie gebruik. Dit het die navorser in staat gestel om die bevindinge binne die raamwerk van die mikro-sisteem, mesosisteem, exo-sisteem, makro-sisteem en die chrono-sisteem te bespreek. Die bespreking het ook die kwesie van die invloede van die mens se natuur teenoor die invloede van die omgewing, die emosionele sisteem, die kognitiewe sisteem en die gedrag-sisteem gedek. Die bevindinge van die huidige studie het die volgende oorsake van fisiese geweld tussen kinders in Lynedoch geopenbaar: gebrek aan probleemoplossingsvaardighede; die swarigheid om pynlike emosies te verwerk; lae selfbeeld; swak konflikhanteringsvermoëns; huishoudelike probleme; probleme met kommunikasie vaardighede, en tekort aan aandag en volwassenes se fisiese gewelddadige gedrag. Die waargenome effekte van fisiese geweld tussen kinders in Lynedoch sluit die volgende in: pynlike emosies; desensitisering; verplaasde gevoelens van woede; wraaksugtigheid en selfmoordgedagtes. Ten einde die probleme wat deur hierdie studie na vore gekom het, prakties aan te spreek, word sistemiese veranderinge op verskeie vlakke, insluitend persoonlike, sosiale, ekonomiese, sowel as polities aanbeveel.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/4379
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