Identity-related decisionmaking among Xhosa-speaking adolescents

Mdikana, Andile Alfred (2000-03)

Thesis (MEd)--Stellenbosch University, 2000.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Identity-related decisionmaking by Xhosa speaking adolescents was investigated in this study. Adolescence is an exceptionally challenging developmental phase in the human life cycle, and the development of identity is regarded as a central developmental task during this developmental phase. The managing and solving of the identity crisis influences the whole psychosocial development of the individual, and effective personal development is largely dependent on the aquisition of a personal identity. The process of identity development holds further important implications for education and guidance, because a knowledge and understanding of this process can be regarded as a condition for effective educational and psychological intervention. There is a real need for research in the field of identity development, especially in the multicultural context. This study focused on the decision-making of Xhosa speaking adolescents in the Cape Metropolitan area concerning matters that can play an important role in their identity development. From the research literature it appeared that in the past certain differences in the patterns of identity development were found among different cultural groups. Possible explanations for these differences are offered. The empirical investigation, which was conducted by means of interviews, focused firstly on aspects such as the following: • the most important factors that played a role in the participants' lives • important decisions that they have made, the factors and considerations that played a role and their commitment to these decisions. • their plans and goals for the future, important factors that play a role and their commitment to these plans and goals. Apart from the above mentioned aspects, the Identity Status Interview (Grotevant and Cooper, 1981) was used to investigate identity development in four specific areas, namely, occupation, religion, dating and gender role. For the purpose of the investigation a sample of convenience was constituted of grade 12 learners who attended a voluntary Enrichment Programme under the auspices of the South African Institute of Race Relations in Cape Town on Saturdays. The research group consisted of 40 (20 male and 20 female) grade 12 learners. The following were the most important findings: • The parents (in particular the mother) constitute the most important factor in the most participants' lives, but it appears that the parents playa progressively less important role when it comes to the making of specific decisions. • The most important decisions that the participants made in the past are dominated by decisions regarding their future occupations, and almost all the participants are considering tertiary education. • The traditionally strong collectivist approach is apparently on the decline, and a more individualistic orientation is becoming evident with regard to , among other things, matters such as future marriage. • With regard to occupational identity, the male participants displayed significantly higher levels of identity development than the female participants. In spite of the fact that about 75% of the male participants were classified in the occupation achievement status, as against 35% of the female participants, a qualitative analysis of the interviews indicated that the breadth of exploration of both groups was fairly limited. • The religious domain displayed largely the same identity status pattern as the occupational domain, with significant differences between the two sexes. • Of the four areas of identity development, gender role is the one in which the largest percentage of participants were classified as being in the achievement status. • Age displays a significant correlation with exploration in the occupational domain and with the level of commitment in the religious domain. • In the case of female participants, three independent variables (age, family size and the educational level of the mother) displayed a relationship with the participants' decisionmaking in identity-related areas. Important implications of the findings, recommendations derived from these, limitations and recommendations for further research are indicated.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Identiteitsverwante besluitneming IS III hierdie studie by Xhosasprekende adolessente ondersoek. Adolessensie is 'n besonder uitdagende ontwikkelingsfase in die menslike lewensiklus, en identiteitsontwikkeling word algemeen beskou as 'n sentrale ontwikkelingstaak tydens dié ontwikkelingsfase. Die hantering en oplossing van die identiteitskrisis beïnvloed die totale psigososiale ontwikkeling van die individu, en effektiewe persoonlike ontwikkeling is grootliks afhanklik van die verwerwing van 'n persoonlike identiteit. Die proses van identiteitsontwikkeling hou verder belangrike opvoedkundige en voorligtingsimplikasies in, want kennis en begrip van hierdie proses kan as 'n voorwaarde vir effektiewe opvoedkundige en sielkundige intervensie beskou word. Daar bestaan egter 'n behoefte aan navorsing op die terrein van identiteitsontwikkeling, veral in die Suid- Afrikaanse multikulturele konteks. Hierdie studie het gefokus op Xhosasprekende adolessente in die Kaapse metropolitaanse gebied se besluitneming oor sake wat 'n belangrike rol in hul identiteitsontwikkeling kan speel. Uit die navorsingsliteratuur het dit geblyk dat bepaalde verskille in die patrone van identiteitsontwikkeling tussen verskillende kultuurgroepe in die verlede gevind IS, en moontlike verklarings vir sodanige verskille word gebied. Die empiriese ondersoek, wat by wyse van onderhoude gedoen is, het eerstens gefokus op aspekte soos die volgende: • die belangrikste faktore wat 'n rol in die deelnemers se lewens speel • belangrike besluite wat hulle geneem het, die faktore en oorwegings wat 'n rol daarin gespeel het, en hul verbintenis tot dié besluite • hul planne en doelstellings vir die toekoms, belangrike faktore wat 'n rol daarin speel, en hul verbintenis daartoe. Benewens bogenoemde aspekte is die Identity Status Interview (Grotevant en Cooper, 1981) gebruik om identiteitsontwikkeling in vier spesifieke areas te ondersoek, naamlik beroep, godsdiens, uitgaan (Engels: dating) en geslagsrol. Vir die doel van die ondersoek is 'n gerieflikheidsteekproef saamgestel uit graad I2-leerders wat 'n vrywillige Verrykingsprogram onder beskerming van die Suid-Afrikaanse Instituut vir Rasseverhoudinge in Kaapstad op Saterdae bygewoon het. Die ondersoekgroep het bestaan uit 40 (20 manlike en 20 vroulike) graad 12-leerders. Vandie belangrikste bevindinge was die volgende: • Die ouers (by name die moeder) is die belangrikste faktor in die meeste deelnemers se lewens, maar dit blyk dat die ouers 'n toenemend minder belangrike rol speel wanneer dit kom by die neem van spesifieke besluite. • Die belangrikste besluite wat die deelnemers in die verlede geneem het, word oorheers deur besluite ten opsigte van hul beroepstoekoms, en feitlik al die deelnemers beplan tersiêre opleiding. • Die tradisioneel sterk kollektiwistiese benadering is skynbaar besig om af te neem, en 'n meer individualistiese oriëntasie in besluitneming, onder andere oor sake soos 'n toekomstige huwelik, kom na vore. • Ten opsigte van beroepsidentiteit toon die manlike deelnemers beduidend hoër vlakke van identiteitsontwikkeling as die vroulike deelnemers. Ten spyte van die feit dat sowat 75% van die manlike deelnemers in die beroepsverwerwingstatus geklassifiseer is, teenoor 35% van die vroulike deelnemers, toon 'n kwalitatiewe analise van die onderhoude dat die breedte van eksplorasie by beide geslagte redelik beperk is. • Die godsdienstige domein het grootliks dieselfde identiteitstatuspatroon as die beroepsdomein getoon, met beduidende verskille tussen die twee geslagte. • Vandie vier areas van identiteitsontwikkeling is geslagsrol die een waarin die grootste persentasie deelnemers in die verwerwingstatus geklassifiseer is. • Ouderdom toon 'n beduidende korrelasie met eksplorasie in die beroepsdomein en met die vlak van verbintenis in die godsdiensdomein. • In die geval van die vroulike deelnemers toon drie onafhanklike veranderlikes (ouderdom, gesinsgrootte en die opvoedingsvlak van die moeder) 'n verband met die deelnemers se besluitneming op identiteitsverwante terreine. Belangrike implikasies van die bevindinge, aanbevelings wat daaruit voortspruit, beperkinge van die ondersoek en aanbevelings vir verdere navorsing word aangedui.

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