Why I Pay it Forward: Motivations and Basic Psychological Needs of Young Adult Peer Educators

McFarlane, Julie (2016-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT : Peer educators, particularly those in developing countries, are the primary resource used to deliver health promotion messages to their peers in many resource constrained communities and are used extensively as behaviour change agents in the battle against HIV/AIDS. These peer educators work mostly within contexts of overwhelming social challenges which ostensibly would place a strain on their mental health. Although extensive studies report the relative efficacy of peer education programmes, there is little evidence of the peer educators’ “voice” or indication of the benefit of peer education work for the peer educators themselves. Given the significant role played by peer educators in intervention programmes, this study explored what motivates individuals to become peer educators and what benefits accrue from the experience. This study used qualitative inquiry to examine a case study of peer educators in a particular higher education context. The aim of this study was to examine the subjective well-being of peer educators through the lens of Self Determination Theory (SDT). This was accomplished by identifying intrinsic and extrinsic motivations and satisfaction of the basic psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness in their narratives. Well-being of the participants was further ascribed within the broader fields of positive psychology, prosocial and peer education literature. Data, obtained from an initial pilot study with 4 participants and 24 subsequent individual interviews, were used to explore the experiences of peer educators participating in a specific peer education programme presented at the Tertiary School in Business Administration (TSiBA). Findings of the study revealed that indication of well-being was clearly identifiable in terms of SDT expressions, and further, compelling evidence of satisfaction or thwarting of basic psychological needs of autonomy, competence and relatedness was recorded. Analysis further supported the key aims of peer education praxis: learning, sharing and caring, and added data to prosocial and community engagement literature. The overarching finding of this study was that peer education work for the participants was predominantly intrinsically motivated and conducive to satisfaction of the basic psychological needs of the educator. Specifically, findings recorded significant improvements in familial relationships, meaningful awareness and understanding of the needs of others, self-initiated learning skills and a confidence and increased self-esteem through gaining competence. All of these in turn addressed subjective well-being and led to an improvement in the psycho-social functioning of the peer educators and an awakening of critical consciousness in these young adults.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Portuuropvoeders is in veral ontwikkelende lande die primêre bron vir die lewering van gesondheidbevorderingsboodskappe aan hulle eweknieë in baie gemeenskappe met beperkte hulpbronne, en word gereeld as gedragveranderingsagente in die stryd teen MIV/VIGS gebruik. Hierdie portuuropvoeders werk meestal teen ʼn agtergrond van oorweldigende maatskaplike uitdagings wat potensieel druk op hulle geestelike gesondheid kan plaas. Alhoewel verskeie studies die relatiewe doeltreffendheid van portuuronderrigprogramme verkondig, is daar min bewyse van die portuuropvoeders se “stem” of aanduiding van die voordeel wat die portuuropvoeders self uit portuuronderrigwerk kry. In die lig van die belangrike rol wat portuuropvoeders in intervensieprogramme speel, stel hierdie studie ondersoek in oor wat mense motiveer om portuuropvoeders te word en watter voordele die ervaring wel inhou. Die studie gebruik kwalitatiewe ondersoek om 'n gevallestudie van portuuropvoeders in 'n bepaalde konteks van hoër onderwys te bestudeer. Die doel van die studie was om die subjektiewe welstand van portuuropvoeders deur die lens van selfbeskikkingsteorie te ondersoek; daar is veral gefokus op die identifisering van hul intrinsieke en ekstrinsieke motivering en bevrediging van die basiese sielkundige behoeftes aan outonomie, bevoegdheid en verwantskap. Die deelnemers se welstand is verder beskryf binne die breër veld van positiewe sielkunde-, pro-maatskaplike en portuuronderrigliteratuur. Data wat uit 'n aanvanklike loodsstudie met 4 deelnemers en 24 individuele onderhoude verkry is, is gebruik om die ervarings van portuuropvoeders wat deelneem aan 'n spesifieke portuuronderrigprogram wat by die Tersiêre Skool in Besigheidsadministrasie (TSiBA) aangebied word, te verken. Bevindinge van die studie het getoon dat aanduiding van welstand duidelik identifiseerbaar was in terme van uitdrukkings van selfbeskikkingsteorie, en verder is afdoende bewyse van tevredenheid en verhindering van basiese sielkundige behoeftes van outonomie, bekwaamheid en verwantskap aangeteken. Analise het die hoofdoelwitte van portuuronderrigpraktyk – leer, deel en deernis – verder ondersteun en data bygedra tot pro-maatskaplike en gemeenskapsbetrokkenheidliteratuur. Die oorkoepelende bevinding van hierdie studie was dat portuuronderrigwerk vir die deelnemers oorwegend intrinsiek motiverend en bevorderlik vir die bevrediging van die opvoeder se basiese sielkundige behoeftes was. Spesifieke bevindings het aangedui daar is beduidende verbeteringe in familiële verhoudings, betekenisvolle bewustheid en begrip van die behoeftes van ander, self-geïnisieerde leervaardighede en selfvertroue, en verhoogde selfbeeld deur die verkryging van bevoegdheid. Dit het weer subjektiewe welstand tot gevolg gehad en gelei tot 'n verbetering in die psigososiale funksionering van die portuuropvoeders, asook 'n ontwaking van kritiese bewussyn in hierdie jong volwassenes.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98832
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