Fears in a selected group of middle childhood South Africa children : a cross cultural study

Burkhardt, Käthe-Erla (2002-03)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The primary aim of this study was to determine the content, number, level and pattern of fears expressed by a culturally diverse selected group of middle childhood children in the Stellenbosch area. The secondary aim of this study was to establish whether there were any differences in the fears expressed with respect to culture, gender and socio-econmic status (SES) as well as to ascertain any differences with respect to the two fear measuring instruments. The two fear measuring instruments administered were the Free-Option Method (FOM) and the Fear Survey Schedule for Children Revised (FSSC-R). The FOM was used to determine the content and number of fears and the structured FSSC-R, to establish the content, number, level and pattern of fears. A predominantly quantitative method of data collection was used. In all, three questionnaires were completed by 404 middle childhood children between the ages of 8 and 12 years, attending four primary schools in the Stellenbosch area. These questionnaires comprised of the Biographical questionnaire, the FOM and the FSSC-R and were administered in the same order as mentioned. The data was also analysed in a quantitative manner. Culture was defined in the terms of the main representative cultural communities III the Stellenbosch area, namely, black, white and coloured South African children. The content of fears based on the results of the FOM yielded only a few similarities upon comparisons to the findings of previous studies. This, however, may be due to variations in the methodology of the FOM among studies. Similarities were found regarding the content of fears based on the FSSC-R results implying that certain fears are universal. The fear of crime or crime related aspects featured among the ten 11:0stcommon fears for all the children regardless of the measuring instrument used. The number and level of fears for the three cultural groups were the highest for the black South African children, followed by the coloured South African children while the white South African children displayed the lowest number and level of fears. The number and level of fears for all three cultures were generally higher than found elsewhere in the world according to previous studies. The pattern of fear was similar for all three cultures. Gender differences for all three cultures were consistent with preVIOUS research with girls expressing more fears than boys. Girls also displayed a higher level of fears on all the five factors than the boys. The number and level of fears was the highest for children coming from lower SES background than those coming from higher SES background. Difficulties were experienced with regard to sample size and SES and a caution to use the results regarding SES as only tentative guidelines is given. The similarities between the results on the two measuring instruments, the FOM and the FSSC-R, were sparse emphasising a need for the development of emic assessment tools. In the conclusion, recommendations for future studies are provided.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die prim ere doel van die onderhawige studie was om die inhoud, aantal, vlak en patroon van uitgesproke vrese deur 'n kultureel diverse geselekteerde groep van kinders in die middelkinderjare in die Stellenboscharea, te bepaal. Die sekondere doel van die onderhawige studie was om vas te stel of daar verskille was in die uitgesproke vrese wat uitgedruk is met betrekking tot kultuur, geslag en sosio-ekonomiese status (SES), sowel as die vergelyking tussen die twee meetinstrumente vir vrese. Die twee meetinstrumente wat toegepas is, is die "Free Option Method" (FOM) en die "Fear Survey for Children Revised" (FSSC-R). Die FOM was gebruik om die inhoud en aantal vrese te bepaal, terwyl die FSSC-R gebruik was om die inhoud, aantal, vlak en patroon van vrese te bepaal. 'n Oorwegende kwantitatiewe metode van data insameling is gebruik in hierdie studie. In totaal is drie vraelyste beantwoord deur 404 kinders in die middelkinderjare tussen die ouderdomme van 8 en 12 jaar, wat tans vier primere skole in die Stellenbosch area bywoon. Die drie vraelyste bestaan uit die Biografiese vraeIys, die FOM en die FSSC-R en is toegepas in die voorafgaande volgorde. Die data is ook kwantitatief geanaliseer. Kultuur is omskryf in terme van die hoof verteenwoordigende kultuurgemeenskappe III die Stellenbosch area, naamlik: swart, wit en kleurling Suid-Afrikaanse kinders. Die inhoud van die vrese wat op die resultate van die FOM gebaseer is, het weinig ooreengestem met ander navorsingsbevindings. Die verskynsel kan heeIwaarskynlik toegeskryf word aan die wisselende metodiek van die FOM in navorsing. 'n Groot mate van ooreenstemming met betrekking tot die inhoud van vrese wat gebaseer is op die FSSC-R resuitate, is bevind met betrekking tot verwante navorsing. Die implikasie hiervan is dat sekere vrese wel universeel is. Vrese vir geweld of geweiddadige aspekte het gefigureer onder die tien mees algemene vrese vir al die kinders, ongeag die meetintrument wat toegepas is. Die aantal en viak van vrese vir die ver~killende kuItuurgroepe was die hoogste vir die swart Suid-Afrikaanse kinders, gevoig deur die van die kleurling Suid- Afrikaanse kinders, terwyI die wit Suid-Afrikaanse kinders met die Iaagste aantal en vlak van vrese gepresenteer het. Die aantal en viak van uitgesproke vrese vir al drie kultuurgroepe was oor die algemeen hoer as die van navorsingbevindinge elders in die wereld. Die patroon van vrese was egter dieselfde vir die drie kultuurgroepe. Geslagverskille ten opsigte van al drie kultuurgroepe is in ooreenstemming met ander navorsingsresultate bevind. Meisies het, vergeleke met seuns, meer vrese, sowel as 'n hoer vlak van vrese op al vyf faktore van die FSSC-R getoon. Kinders vanuit 'n laer SES agtergrond het 'n groter aantal, sowel as hoer vlak van vrese ervaar as kinders vanuit 'n hoer SES agtergrond. As gevolg van die probleme wat ondervind is met die steekproefgrootte en die bepaling van SES, word gemaan om die resultate met betrekking tot SES net as tentatiewe riglyne te interpreteer. Daar was baie min ooreenstemming tussen die resultate van die twee meetinstrurnente, die FOM en die FSSC-R, wat die behoefte aan die ontwikkeling van gepaste meetintrurnente beklemtoon. Ten slotte word enkele riglyne vir verdere navorsing aanbeveel.

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