Exposure to violence and self-reported aggression among a sample of high school learners in the Stellenbosch district

Sullivan, Daniel Lawrence (2005-04)

Thesis (MScPsy)--University of Stellenbosch, 2005.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The phenomenon of violence is an all-too-common experience for many people around the world. In South Africa the legacy of a system of institutionalised violence has influenced the fabric of this society. The consequences of violence on South African youth are of major concern for the country's future. This research examines the types and contexts of exposure to violence and the types of self-reported aggression in a sample of 426 adolescent learners from three schools in the Stellenbosch District. The role of gender in mediating the type and the location of violence exposure and aggressive behaviour is also explored in this study. A questionnaire consisting of modified versions of the Screen for Adolescent Violence Exposure (SAVE) and the Aggression Questionnaire (AQ) was administered to 187 male and 239 female adolescents from three schools. The sample reported being exposed to moderately high levels of indirect violence in their community. This exposure was significantly correlated to high levels of self-reported aggression. Results from the Analyses of Variance indicated that females were exposed to more physical/verbal abuse at home, while males more frequently witnessed traumatic violence at school and in the community. The learners reported high levels of aggression, particularly with regard to physical aggression, verbal aggression and hostility. From these observations, females were found to be more hostile, while males demonstrated higher levels of physical aggression. Analysis of the gender differences suggested that males were more likely to display verbal aggression when exposed to violence, while females' exposure to physical/verbal abuse at school appeared to increase their levels of anger. The findings from this study indicate that adolescents exposed to high levels of violence are at risk of presenting with elevated levels of aggression. Efforts need to be made to reduce the levels of exposure to violence and adolescents' levels of aggression. It is suggested that adolescents be taught prosocial skills with regard to conflict situations.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geweld is vir baie mense dwarsoor die wêreld 'n alledaagse verskynsel. Die stelsel van geinstitusionaliseerde geweld in Suid-Afrika het die wese van die samelewing beinvloed. Die gevolge van geweld op die Suid-Afrikaanse jeug is vir die land se toekoms kommerwekkend. Hierdie studie ondersoek die tipes en inhoud van blootstelling aan geweld, die tipes van selferkende aggressie en die verband tussen blootstelling en aggressie. Die studie ondersoek ook die rol van geslag in die blootstelling aan geweld, asook dié van aggressiewe gedrag. Die ondersoekgroep was 'n groep van 426 adolessente leerders van drie skole in die Stellenbosch Distrik. 'n Vraelys, bestaande uit aangepaste weergawes van die "Screen for Adolescent Violent Exposure (SAVE)" (Hastings & Kelley, 1997) en die "Aggression Questionnaire (AQ)" (Buss & Perry, 1992) is gebruik om 187 manlike en 239 vroulike adolessente by die drie skole te toets. Daar is gevind dat die ondersoekgroep blootgestel was aan redelike hoë vlakke van indirekte geweld in hulle gemeenskap wat beduidend korreleer met hul hoë selferkende aggressie. Resultate van die variansie-ontleding wys dat meisies meer blootgestel is aan fisiese/verbale geweld tuis, terwyl seuns weer meer dikwels getuies van traumatiese geweld by die skool en in die gemeenskap was. Die leerders het hoë vlakke van aggressie, veral fisiese aggressie, verbale aggressie en vyandigheid gerapporteer. Van die bevindings kan afgelei word dat meisies meer vyandig is, terwyl seuns weer hoër vlakke van fisiese aggressie geopenbaar het. Analise van die geslags verskille dui aan dat seuns meer geneig is tot verbale aggressie wanneer hulle aan geweld blootgestel word, terwyl meisies meer geneig is tot woede wanneer hulle aan fisiese of verba Ie geweld by die skool blootgestel word. Die bevindings dui aan dat adolessente wat blootgestel word aan hoë vlakke van geweld geneig is tot hoë vlakke van aggressie. Pogings behoort aangewend te word om geweld en die vlakke van aggressie verminder. Daar word aanbeveel dat adolessente sosiale vaardighede geleer moet word om konfliksituasies beter te kan hanteer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/50350
This item appears in the following collections: