Aspects of middle childhood fears : reports by children and their parents from a South African farming community

Burnett, James Michael (2008-03)

Thesis (MA) -- Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Fear is a normal, expected human emotion, and as such it is also part of children’s normal development. South African research indicates that fear is context related. However, little is known regarding fear in specific contexts, such as a South African farming community. In order to facilitate the identification of excessive or abnormal fears, a reliable literature base regarding normal fears in that specific context is required. Without such a contextualised literature base, clinicians will find it difficult to distinguish between normal developmental fears and excessive or abnormal fears for children in that specific context. Due to the lack of research in South Africa regarding middle childhood fears from children in a specific context, such as a farming community, the current study aims at exploring a fear profile of middle childhood children from a South African farming community. The aim of the current study pertains to four research questions: (1) What are the content, number and intensity of fears of a group of middle childhood children from a South African farming community in the Stellenbosch region? (2) Are there any differences between the Koala Fear Questionnaire (KFQ) scores without visual cues (KFQ1) and the KFQ scores with visual cues (KFQ2)? (3) Are there gender differences regarding content, number and intensity of fears of a group of middle childhood children from a South African farming community in the Stellenbosch region? (4) Are there differences regarding content, number and intensity of fears of a group of middle childhood children from a South African farming community in the Stellenbosch region as reported in child reports and parental reports? The participants consisted of a sample of 84 children between the ages of 10 and 12 years, attending a local primary school in the Stellenbosch region in the Western Cape, South Africa, and the parents of 56 of the children. Two measuring instruments were used to assess childrens' fears, namely the Fear List Method (FLM) and the Koala Fear Questionnaire (KFQ). The parents completed the Parental Biographical Questionnaire (PBQ). Analysis of the data from the FLM revealed that Wild animals was the largest fear category for the total sample of children (46.4%), with children expressing an average of 2.37 fears (SD = 0.875) and an average intensity of 2.88 (SD = 0.361). The findings of the current study are discussed and each of the four research questions is addressed individually in order to facilitate a comprehensive answer to each.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Vrees is 'n normale, verwagte menslike emosie en as sodanig is dit ook deel van 'n kind se normale ontwikkeling. Suid-Afrikaanse navorsing dui aan dat vrees konteksverwant is. Min is egter bekend oor vrees binne spesifieke kontekste soos in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse plaasgemeenskap. Om die identifisering van buitensporige of abnormale vrese te vergemaklik, word betroubare literatuur aangaande normale vrese binne daardie spesifieke konteks benodig. Sonder sodanig gekontekstualiseerde literatuurbasis sal klinici dit moeilik vind om te onderskei tussen normale ontwikkelingsvrese en buitensporige of abnormale vrese by kinders in daardie spesifieke konteks. Vanweë die gebrek aan navorsing in Suid- Afrika aangaande middel-kinderjare vrese by kinders in 'n spesifieke konteks - soos 'n plaasgemeenskap - stel die huidige studie hom ten doel om 'n vreesprofiel van middel-kinderjare kinders afkomstig van 'n Suid-Afrikaanse plaasgemeenskap te ondersoek. Die doel van die studie verwys na vier navorsingsvrae: (1) Wat is die inhoud, aantal en intensiteit ten opsigte van die vrese onder 'n groep middel-kinderjare kinders in 'n Suid-Afrikaanse plaasgemeenskap in die Stellenbosse omgewing? (2) Is daar enige verskille tussen die 'Koala Fear Questionnaire (KFQ)' sonder visuele prikkels (KFQ1) en die 'KFQ' met visuele prikkels (KFQ2)? (3) Is daar geslagsverskille aangaande inhoud, aantal en intensiteit van vrese onder 'n groep middel-kinderjare kinders in 'n Suid- Afrikaanse plaasgemeenskap in die Stellenbosse omgewing? (4) Is daar verskille rakende die inhoud, aantal en intensiteit van die vrese onder 'n groep middel-kinderjare kinders vanuit 'n Suid-Afrikaanse plaasgemeenskap in die Stellenbosse streek soos gerapporteer deur onderskeidelik deur kinders en deur ouers? Die deelnemers het bestaan uit 'n steekproef van 84 kinders tussen die ouderdomme van 10 en 12 jaar wat 'n plaaslike primêre skool in die Stellenbosse omgewing, in die Wes-Kaap, Suid-Afrika, bywoon, en die ouers van 56 van die kinders. Twee meetinstrumente is aangewend om kinders se vrese te meet, naamlik die 'Fear List Method (FLM)' en die 'Koala Fear Questionnaire (KFQ)'. Die ouers het die 'Parental Biographical Questionnaire (PBQ)' voltooi. 'n Analise van die data verkry uit die FLM het aan die lig gebring dat Wilde diere die grootste vrees kategorie was vir die hele steekproef kinders (46.4%), met kinders wat gemiddeld 2.37 vrese (SD = 0.875) aangedui het en 'n gemiddelde intensiteit van 2.88 (SD = 0.361). Die bevindinge van die huidige studie word bespreek en elk van die vier navorsingsvrae word individueel aangespreek om 'n omvattende antwoord op elk te verkry.

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