Exploring the interaction between depression and learning in Shona culture : a study of students and lecturers in a tertiary education institution in Zimbabwe

Mhlanga, Songile (2020-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2020.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY : Depression is one of the most common psychological problems encountered by students in higher and tertiary education yet remains under-researched particularly in indigenous cultures. This study explores how Shona students in a tertiary institution in the Midlands Province of Zimbabwe understand depression and how it interacts with their learning. Guided by the pragmatic paradigm, the study adopted a sequential mixed-methods approach to facilitate the collection of both qualitative and quantitative data in order to make the research comprehensive. Quantitative data were initially collected through the use of the Beck Depression Inventory II (BDI-II). The questionnaire informed the study of the prevalence and severity of depressive symptoms in a sample of 367 volunteer first-year students. Qualitative data were collected using a semi-structured interview guide from 11 volunteer students exhibiting severe symptoms of depression as informed by the BDI-II ratings. Thirteen volunteer lecturers who taught these students were also interviewed. This approach facilitated triangulation of data-collection sources and methods to provide stronger evidence for conclusions through convergence and corroboration of findings. Quantitative data were analysed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and qualitative data were thematically analysed. The study discovered a 36 per cent prevalence rate of depressive symptoms with no significant differences in prevalence rates for males and females. The findings indicate that the Shona students and lecturers understand depression largely as stress, thinking too much, “kufungisisa”, sadness, “kusuruvara”, mental instability, and as spiritually orientated. The students experience somatic, emotional and cognitive symptoms of depression stipulated in the DSM-5, as well as feelings of loneliness, anger, lack of a social life, missed menstrual cycle and “pain in the heart”. Depression inhibits optimal academic performance in the students and leads to a lack of concentration and motivation, a failure to meet academic demands, indiscipline, and alcohol, drug and substance abuse. The study recommends on-campus professional counselling services and programmes to increase mental health literacy and aid the prevention of depression.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING : Depressie is een van die mees algemene sielkundige probleme wat deur studente in hoër onderwys ondervind word. Navorsing daaroor bly egter ontoereikend, veral onder inheemse kulture. Hierdie studie ondersoek hoe studente van die Shona-kultuur in Zimbabwe depressie verstaan en hoe dit met hul leer in wisselwerking tree. Die studie het 'n gemengde metodes benadering gebruik om die versameling van kwalitatiewe en kwantitatiewe data te vergemaklik, ten einde die navorsing meer omvattend te maak. Kwantitatiewe data is aanvanklik met gebruik van Beck se Depressie Inventaris II (BDI-II) ingesamel. Die vraelys het die studie ingelig oor die voorkoms en erns van depressie in 'n steekproef van 367 vrywillige eerstejaarstudente. Kwantitatiewe data is met behulp van 'n semi-gestruktureerde, diepgaande onderhoud met 11 erg depressiewe vrywilligersstudente ingesamel, soos deur BDI-II-graderings ingelig. Onderhoude is ook met 13 vrywillige dosente van hierdie studente gevoer. Dit het die triangulering van bronne en metodes vir data-insameling vergemaklik om sterker bewys vir gevolgtrekkings deur konvergensie en bevestiging van bevindings te lewer. Kwantitatiewe data is met behulp van die Statistiese Pakket vir die Sosiale Wetenskappe (SPSS) ontleed en kwalitatiewe data is tematies ontleed. Die studie het 'n hoë voorkomspersentasie van depressie van 36% getoon, sonder enige verskil in die voorkomssyfer vir mans en vrouens. Die Shona-studente en dosente verstaan depressie in 'n groter mate as stres, te veel dink, “kufungisisa”, teurigheid, “kusuruvara”, geestelike onstabiliteit en as geestelik georiënteerd. Die studente ervaar somatiese, emosionele en kognitiewe simptome van depressie soos uiteengesit in die DSM-5. Daarbenewens is daar gevoelens van eensaamheid, gebrek aan 'n sosiale lewe, gemiste menstruele siklus, en “pyn in die hart” is ook ervaar. Depressie het optimale akademiese prestasie by die studente belemmer vanweë 'n gebrek aan konsentrasie, 'n gebrek aan motivering, versuim om aan akademiese eise te voldoen, gebrek aan dissipline, en misbruik van alkohol, dwelms en dwelmmiddele. Die studie beveel die instelling van professionele adviesdienste op die kampus aan, en programme om bewustheid en voorkoming van depressie te verhoog.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/109145
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