The influence of an experimental Ropes Course Development programme on the self-concept and self-efficacy of the young career officer

Stadler, Karien (2004-04)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2004.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The tendency to use adventure-based training as an intervention medium for the improvement of the self-concept has grown rapidly over the past few years. However, research results on the effect of adventure-based training on participants' self-concepts are very contradictory. Some studies revealed significant positive improvements, while others revealed no significant differences in pre- and post-measures. The effect of adventure training on the self-concept in the military context has so far not yet been investigated in South Africa. A sound self-concept is of critical importance to young career officers, as it enables them to function with self-confidence in both their work environment and their community roles. They enter the military environment as late adolescents, which implies that the successful mastering of specific developmental tasks such as the formation of identity or self-concept, is a prerequisite for their dynamic functioning in the world of work. The aim of this study was to determine whether adventure training can indeed be utilised to enhance the self-concepts and self-efficacy of young career officers in the South African National Defence Force. A quasi-experimental design with a pre-test, post-test and post-post-test was used to determine the effect of a Ropes Course Development Programme on the self-concepts of young career officers. Subjects for the experimental group were selected from the young career officer population at the Military Academy (n=33) and subjects for the control group were selected from the young career officer population at the SA Army Gymnasium (n=32). Two measuring instruments were administered, during three time intervals, namely the Self-description Questionnaire III and the General Self-efficacy Scale. From the results it can be concluded that the control group did not change much during the eight-week-period of the study. Only three significant withingroup changes occurred, namely in the scores of the mathematical skills selfconcept sub-scale, in the scores of the total academic self-concept and the GSE scale. All three measurements showed a significant increase for the pretest to post-post-test time interval. The experimental group showed a number of changes between pre-test and post-test, as well as pre- and post-test to post-post-test time intervals. The SOOIII sub-scales with declining scores were the participants' self-concept regarding their verbal skills (post- to post-post-test) and academic ability (preand post-test to post-post-test). The total academic self-concept score was also significantly lower from post-test to post-post-test measurement. Scores that were positively affected over time were their self-concepts regarding their relations with parents (for pre-test to post-test), religion (for pre-test to posttest and maintained to post-post- test), the total non-academic self-concept (pre- to post-test) and the total general self-concept score (from pre- to posttest). The experimental group did not change with regard to their GSE scores. The most evident between-group differences were observed during the postpost- test on the verbal skills, academic ability, and total academic selfconcept scores (control group> experimental group), and relations with same sex self-concept scores (experimental group> control group). A significant relationship between the total SOOIII score and the GSE scale over the three time periods was observed. Highly significant r-values were obtained for both groups on all but one measurement. The final conclusion is that the Ropes Course Development Programme was not an effective intervention medium to enhance the self-concepts and selfefficacy of young career officers. There is still a need for scientific research to motivate adventure-based programmes as training intervention in the South African military context.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die neiging om avontuurgerigte opleiding as ingreep vir die ontwikkeling van die selfkonsep te gebruik, het die afgelope paar jaar ingrypend toegeneem. Navorsingsresultate rakende die invloed van avontuurgerigte opleiding op deelnemers se selfkonsepte is egter teenstrydig. Sekere studies het beduidende positiewe verbeteringe aangedui, terwyl ander weer geen beduidende verskille in voor- en na-toetse getoon het nie. Die uitwerking van avontuuropleiding op die selfkonsep, is tot dusver nie binne militêre konteks in Suid-Afrika ondersoek nie. 'n Positiewe selfkonsep is van kritiese belang vir jong beroepsoffisiere, aangesien dit hulle bemagtig om met selfvertroue in sowel hul werksomgewing as hul gemeenskapsrolle te funksioneer. Hulle betree die militêre omgewing tydens adolessensie, wat impliseer dat die suksesvolle bemeestering van bepaalde ontwikkelingstake soos identiteitsvorming of die vorming van 'n selfkonsep 'n voorvereiste is om effektief in die werksomgewing te funksioneer. Die doel van hierdie studie was om te bepaal of avontuurgerigte opleiding wel gebruik kan word om die selfkonsepte en selfdoeltreffendheid van jong beroepsoffisiere in die Suid-Afrikaanse Nasionale Weermag te bevorder. 'n Kwasi-eksperimentele ontwerp met 'n voortoets, na-toets en na-na-toets is gebruik om die invloed van 'n Toubaan Ontwikkelingsprogram op die selfkonsep en selfdoeltreffendheid van die jong beroepsoffisiere te bepaal. Proefpersone vir die eksperimentele groep is geselekteer vanuit die groep jong beroepsoffisiere by die Militêre Akademie (n=33) en proefpersone vir die kontrolegroep is vanuit die jong beroepsoffisierpopulasie by die SA Leërgimnasium geselekteer (n=32). Twee meetinstrumente is tydens drie geleenthede geadministreer, naamlik die "Self-description Questionnaire III" (SDQIII) en die General Self-efficacy Scale (GSE). Van die resultate kan afgelei word dat die kontrolegroep nie veel verander het tydens die agt weke periode van die studie nie. Slegs drie beduidende binne- groep veranderinge het plaasgevind, naamlik in die wiskundige vaardigheid selfkonsep subskaal, in die totale akademiese selfkonsep en die Algemene Selfdoeltreffendheidtelling. AI drie tellings dui op 'n beduidende toename vir die voor-toets tot na-na-toets tydsinterval. Die eksperimentele groep het 'n beduidende aantal veranderinge getoon tussen voor- en na-toets, sowel as voor- en na-na-toets. Die SDQIII subskale wat 'n afname in tellings getoon het, was die deelnemers se selfkonsepte aangaande hulle verbale vaardighede (na-toets tot na-na-toets) en akademiese vaardigheid (voor en na-toets tot na-na-toets). Die totale akademiese selfkonseptelling was ook beduidend laer tussen die na-toets en na-na-toets meting. Tellings wat positief oor tyd beïnvloed was, was hulle selfkonsepte ten opsigte van verhoudings met ouers (vir voor-toets tot natoets, godsdiens (vir voortoets tot na-toets en in stand gehou tot na-na-toets), die totale nie-akademiese selfkonsep (voor- tot na-toets) en die totale algemene selfkonseptelling (van voor- tot na-toets). Die eksperimentele groep het nie ten opsigte van hulle GSE tellings verskil nie. Die mees klaarblyklike tussen-groep verskille in tellings is waargeneem tydens die na-na-toets met betrekking tot verbale vaardighede, akademiese vermoë, en totale akademiese selfkonseptellings (kontrole groep > eksperimentele groep) en selfkonsep betreffende verhoudinge met dieselfde geslag (eksperimentele groep> kontrole groep). 'n Betekenisvolle verband tussen die SDQIII en die GSE skale is oor die drie tydperke heen waargeneem. Hoogs beduidende r-waardes is vir albei groepe op alle metings waargeneem, met die uitsondering van een meting. Die finale bevinding dui daarop dat die Toubaan Ontwikkelingsprogram nie 'n effektiewe ingreep was om die selfkonsepte en selfdoeltreffendheid van jong beroepsoffisiere te verbeter nie. Daar bly dus steeds 'n behoefte aan wetenskaplik gefundeerde navorsing om die waarde van avontuurgerigte opleidingsprogramme in die Suid-Afrikaanse militêre konteks te motiveer.

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