The coping mechanisms of low-income women : a grounded theory analysis of subjective descriptions of coping

Spies, Dorothea Janetta (2001-12)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The primary goal of this cross-cultural study was to determine how low-income female farm workers in the Western Cape of South Africa, describe their own coping mechanisms. Eight participants were asked to respond to an open-ended question on how they cope with life's difficulties. The current study formed part of a larger project entitled: "Forgotten women on farms". The psychological distress and resilience of female farm workers of colour in the Western Cape: exploring the possibilities for mental health support (Kruger, 1998). The coping interviews were analyzed by means of grounded theory. Analysis revealed that 28 coping mechanisms were identified by the participants themselves. A distinction was made between problem-focused coping mechanisms and emotion-focused coping mechanisms. Out of the 28 identified mechanisms, 8 were categorized as problem-focused coping mechanisms, while 20 were categorized as emotion-focused coping mechanisms, suggesting that the participants predominantly employ emotion-focused coping mechanisms. It was also found that the emotion-focused coping mechanisms employed by the participants often involved an avoidance of emotion. The findings were discussed by: (i) Critically discussing the way in which emotion-focused coping is traditionally defined within the coping literature. (ii) Comparing this to the conceptualization of the role of emotion by authors of trauma literature. Possible reasons for the prevalent use of emotion-focused coping mechanisms in this particular population were provided. The implications of these findings for assessment of coping strategies and for mental health care in this population were discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ole hoofdoeisteiling van hierdie kruis-kulturele studie was om vas te stel hoe laeinkomste vroueplaaswerkers in die Wes-Kaap van Suid-Afrika hulle eie streshanteringsmeganismes beskryf. Agt deelnemers is gevra om op "n oop vraag oor hoe hulle lewensmoeilikhede hanteer, te reageer. Hierdie studie vorm deel van "n groter projek getiteld "Forgotten women on farms". The psychological distress and resilience of female farm workers of colour in the Western Cape: exploring the possibilities for mental health support (Kruger, 1998). Hierdie onderhoude oor streshantering is ontleed m.b.v. "grounded theory". Analise het getoon dat 28 hanteringsmeganismes deur die deelnemers self ge"ldentifiseer is. Onderskeid is gemaak tussen probleem-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes en emosioneel-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes. Uit die 28 gerdentifiseerde meganismes, is 8 gekategoriseer as probleem-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes, terwyl 20 gekategoriseer is as emosioneel-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes, duidend daarop dat deelnemers grootliks van emosioneel-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes gebruik maak. Daar is ook gevind dat die emosioneel-gerigte hanteringmeganismes dikwels "n vermyding van emosie behels het. Hierdie bevindinge is bespreek deur: (i) Die manier waarop emosioneel-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes tradisioneel in die literatuur gedefinieer word krities te bespreek. (ii) "n Vergelyking te tref met die wyse waarop die rol van emosie deur die outeurs van trauma literatuur gekonseptualiseer word. Moontlike redes vir die groter gebruik van emosioneel-gerigte hanteringsmeganismes in hierdie spesifieke populasie is voorsien. Die implikasies van hierdie bevindinge vir die meting van hanteringsmeganismes en vir geestesgesondheidsdienste binne hierdie populasie is bespreek.

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