The fears expressed and coping mechanisms of a selected group of middle childhood South African children living in a children's home

Burkhardt, Kathe-Erla (2003-04)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2003.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to establish normative data regarding the fears expressed by and coping mechanisms in a selected group of middle childhood children living in a children's home with respect to content, number, level and pattern of fears and the coping mechanisms as well as their perceived efficacy. Children living in a children's home were referred to as children who were removed from family care as a result of lawful intervention and were thus seen as a special population. The secondary aim was to ascertain whether any differences in the fears expressed were found with respect to the independent variables of a special population and gender. The three measuring instruments were the Free-Option Method (FOM), the Fear Survey Schedule for Children Revised (FSSC-R) and the Coping Strategy (CS). The FOM was used to determine the content and number of fears, the structured FSSC-R to establish the content, number, level and pattern of fears and the CS to obtain the coping mechanisms used and their perceived effectiveness. A predominantly quantitative method of data collection was used. This was also true for the data analysis. In all three questionnaires were completed by 141 children living in a children's home (70 boys and 71 girls) in the Western Cape between the ages of 8 and 13. The three questionnaires comprised of the FOM, FSSC-R and the CS and were administered in the above-mentioned order. The content of fears based on the results of the FOM yielded only a few similarities upon comparison to the findings of a recent study by. More similarities were apparent upon comparison of the results of the FSSC-R implying that the structuredness of the measuring instrument plays a role in how universal childhood fears really are. The number as well as level of fear was higher for the children living in a children's home in comparison to the results of normative populations. This also holds true for the level of fear on all of the fear factors of the FSSC-R Gender differences that were apparent, were consistent with previous research with girls expressing a higher number and level of fears than boys. The girls in comparison to the boys also displayed a higher level of fear on all the five factors. The coping strategy most often used as well as perceived effective was the secondary coping strategy. This was followed by the primary coping strategy and finally the relinquished control coping strategy. Specific coping strategies, which were utilised, were support seeking and avoidance and these are associated with a higher level of intemalising symptoms. Overall, the coping strategies utilised were found to be effective in reducing the fear experienced. Only a few similarities were apparent upon companson of the results of the two measunng instruments, the FOM and the FSSC-R, emphasising the need for the development of an South African Fear Schedule. Lastly, recommendations for future studies are provided.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die primêre doel van die onderhawige studie was die insameling van ·normatiewe data omtrent die uitgesproke vrese van 'n geselekteerde groep kinderhuiskinders in die middelkinderjare met betrekking tot die inhoud, aantal, vlak en patroon van vrese en die hanteringstrategieë, sowel as die waargenome effektiwiteit daarvan. Kinders wat in kinderhuise woon is kinders wat van hulle gesinne verwyder is as gevolg van 'n wetlike ingreep en hulle word om hierdie rede as 'n spesiale populasie beskou. Die sekondêre doel van die onderhawige studie was om vas te stelof daar verskille was in die uitgesproke vrese met betrekking tot die onafhanklike veranderlikes van 'n spesiale populasie en geslag. Die drie meetinstrumente wat toegepas is, is die "Free Option Method" (FOM), die ''Fear Survey Schedule for Children Revised" (FSSC-R) en die "Coping Strategy"(CS). Die FOM is gebruik om die inhoud en aantal vrese te bepaal, terwyl die FSSC-R gebruik is om die inhoud, aantal, vlak en patroon van vrese te bepaal. Die CS is gebruik om die hanteringstrategieë en hul effektiwiteit te bepaal. 'n Oorwegend kwantitatiewe metode van data insameling, sowel as dataverwerking is vir hierdie studie gebruik. Drie vraelyste is beantwoord deur 141 kinders (70 seuns en 71 meisies) tussen die ouderdomme van 8 en 13 jaar wat in kinderhuise in die Wes-Kaap woon. Die FOM, FSSC-R en die CS is gebruik en in hierdie volgorde toegepas. Die inhoud van vrese wat op die resultate van die FOM gebaseer is, het weining ooreengestem met die navorsingsbevindings van 'n onlangse studie. Meer ooreenstemming is gevind met betrekking tot die inhoud van vrese wat gebaseer is op die FSSC-R resultate. Dit impliseer dat die gestruktureerdheid van die meetinstrumente 'n rol speel in hoe universeel vrese is. Die aantal sowel as vlak van vrese, was hoër vir die kinders wat in 'n kinderhuis woon vergeleke met die resultate van normatiewe populasies. Die bogenoemde is ook van toepassing ten opsigte van die vlak van vrese op al vyf faktore van die FSSC-R. Geslagsverskille wat voorgekom het, is in ooreenstemming met ander navorsingsresultate waar meisies, in vergelyking met seuns, meer vrese sowel as 'n hoër vlak van vrese op al vyffaktore van die FSSC-R getoon het. Die hanteringstrategieë wat die meeste deur die kinders gebruik is is die sekondêre hanteringstrategieë. Dit is gevolg deur die primêre hanteringstrategieë en laastens die opgegeë beheer hanteringstrategieë. Spesifieke hanteringstrategieë wat gebruik is, is ondersteuning en vermyding. Hierdie strategieë word geassosieer met 'n hoër vlak van geïnternaliseerde simptome. Oor die algemeen is die hanteringstrategieë as effektief beskou in die vermindering van vrese. Daar was min ooreenstemming tussen die resultate van die twee vrees meetinstrumente, die FOM en die FSSC-R, wat die behoefte aan die ontwikkeling van 'n vrees meetinstrument vir Suid-Afrikaanse omstandighede beklemtoon. Ten slotte word enkele riglyne vir toekomstige navorsing gegee.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/49797
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