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S. Isaacs S. Savahl Department of Psychology University of the Western Cape Cape Town South Africa.

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Presentation on theme: "S. Isaacs S. Savahl Department of Psychology University of the Western Cape Cape Town South Africa."— Presentation transcript:

1 S. Isaacs S. Savahl Department of Psychology University of the Western Cape Cape Town South Africa

2  2001 – in response to the need for more accurate and relevant data on the state and well-being of South Africa’s children and the absence of effective measuring and monitoring initiatives – key child rights researchers embarked on a range of evidence based initiatives  Institute for Child and Family Development (UWC) supported by UNICEF, British Council and the National Development Agency, embarked on project developing indicators of well-being using child participation methodology  Project was conducted in two provinces and included 400 child participants between the ages of 9 – 17  Data collection followed a sustained contact model and incorporated a skills development component, over a 6 month period

3  1.Participants unanimously regarded personal safety and security as the most significant indicator of well-being  2.Hope emerged as the pervasive theme in discursive activity of participants and was regarded as an important determinant of well-being

4 What have we got to look forward to? If we finish Matric, get pregnant, get hooked on drugs…might as well start now… (Urban Group 1) How do we escape this… every day gang fights, drinking, drugs, this is our life, that’s all there is for us… there’s no hope for us… (Urban Group 7) yes, you kind of inside you in this little umm like a box in this thing and there’s no way out because you the only one in the box and that’s how we feel when you constantly have to face these things that we can’t do anything about and you the only one there at the moment… (Urban Group 3)

5 Child Indicators Project Ideological Constructions of Childhood Influence of hope on the relationship between exposure to community violence and children and adolescents’ perceptions of well-being Hope and Well-being in the context of community violence: A qualitative exploration Safety and security as a key dimension of child well-being Influence of self- esteem and social support on the relationship between exposure to community violence and adolescents’ perceptions of well-being

6  Child’s life-world in many of our communities is characterised by violence  While violence no longer has a socio-political manifestation, it undoubtedly has a socio- political genesis with interpersonal, community, domestic manifestations to a large extent informed by Apartheid and colonial policies.  Key drivers of violence are social inequality, poverty, unemployment, patriarchal constructions of masculinity, substance abuse, intergenerational cycling of violence (Seedat et al, 2009)



9 Between 2008 – 2009 approx 50 000 children were victims of violent crimes (SAPS) Between 2009 – 2010 this figure rose to 56 500 (SAPS) Individuals younger than 19 yrs accounted for 10% of all deaths 19% victims between the ages of 0 – 10 29% of all sexual abuse cases are against children aged 0 – 10


11  Hope cognitive set ◦ a “cognitive set involving the beliefs in one’s capabilities to produce workable routes to goals (the pathways component) as well as the self- related beliefs about initiating and sustaining movement towards these goals (the agency component)” (Snyder et al., 1997, p. 401) ◦ Hope is centred in the cognitive ◦ Emotions are seen as a consequence of cognitive processes regarding goals

12 Gilman, Dooley and Florell (2006): ◦ The relationship among adolescent students’ level of hope and various academic and psychological indicators of school adjustment was investigated in a quantitative study  Low levels of hope: ◦ irregular school attendance, ◦ behaviour ◦ dropping out of school ◦ academic achievement Edwards et al. (2007) ◦ validated the children’s hope scale.  Hope correlated positively: ◦ positive affect, life satisfaction, ◦ Family/friend support and optimism.

13 Aim The aim of the research study was to ascertain adolescents’ perception of community violence exposure and the extent to which those perceptions influence their sense of hope Specific Objectives To ascertain how adolescents understand and give meaning to community violence. To determine the way in which adolescents understand and give meaning to hope within the context of community violence.

14 Participants Participants Purposively selected based on specific criteria 14-15 years of age Lived in a high violence area (selected on the basis of police statistics) Selected from a high school within the area 6 males and 8 females (14 participants) Procedures Procedures Data Collection Data Collection 2 focus groups (3 males/4 females) Conducted in both English and Afrikaans Data analysis Data analysis Analysed by thematic analysis as Braun and Clarke (2006) Ethical Considerations Ethical Considerations Voluntary participation: all participants and parents given information letter Signed consent/assent forms Confidentiality ensured

15  Hope is  Hope is “wishing,” “your values,” “self-esteem.” future & motivation  Linked hope to the future & motivation  Hope is strongly connected to faith religion and faith  Offer solace during challenging times patience endurance  Gives one patience and endurance  Hopelessnessno purpose  Hopelessness, even in the face of adversity, served no purpose “Something one would like to have happen” “It motivates you ja...passed the negative side.” “Something one would like to have happen” “It motivates you ja...passed the negative side.” “You’re used to it already so if I get robbed you don’t worry anymore because you know tomorrow the same thing is going to happen

16  Hopelessness crimes suicide  Hopelessness, was connected to people who commit crimes and even suicide vision  Participants all had a vision for their future – knew their interest in their prospective careers  Violence in their community seemed to inspire them to do better FR: I see myself overseas. MR: I see myself studying FR: I see myself overseas. MR: I see myself studying FR: Beauty therapist MR: Civil engineering MR: IT FR: Beauty therapist MR: Civil engineering MR: IT “It gives you, not more power, but it motivates you. It gives you more motivation.”

17  Age group of participants  Definition of hope needs to be explored/expanded further

18  They have a socialised understanding of violence, it’s causation, perpetuation and consequences.  Violence removes adolescents’ sense of power and control – attempt to regain it by perpetuating violent acts  A strong connection was made between hope and faith/religion  Adolescents also connected hope to the future and had a vision for themselves in the future  Fostering a sense of hope in adolescents very important  Adolescents indicated both directly and indirectly that their exposure to violence did not negatively affect their vision of the future or their perceived sense of hope


20  Our focus is on exposure to community violence, with the literature suggesting the following:  Internalising problems: PTSD, fear and anxiety, depression, low self-esteem  Externalising problems: violent and aggressive behaviour, sleep disturbance, anti-social behaviour, poor academic functioning, substance use

21 Social support Quality of Family Relationships Parenting Peer relations Neighbourhood quality Gender Age Individual Characteristics Hope?

22  Is exposure to violence a predictor of child well-being  To what extent does the construct of ‘hope’ moderate or mediate that relationship

23  A 3 rd variable acts as a mediator when it transforms the predictor or input variable in some way. The 3 rd variable is the mechanism through which the predictor variable affects the output variable ECV (Predictor) Well-Being (Output) Hope (Mediator)

24  A 3 rd variable acts a moderator when it affects the direction or strength of the relationship between the predictor and output variable. It is also referred to as the buffering variable ECV (Predictor) Well-Being (Output) Hope (Moderator)

25  Design: Pearson Product Term Regression  Sample: 568 adolescents 14-15 yrs  348 females and 218 males  Selected from 6 Schools (stratified random sampling) in the EMDC South  Instrumentation: ◦ Kidscreen 52: Child Well-Being Scale (52 items) ◦ Recent Exposure to Violence Scale (22 items) ◦ Child Hope Scale (6 items)

26  Linear regression to determine if ECV significant predictor of well-being  Result: Negative moderate but significant relationship between ECV and child well- being. Increased ECV predicts a decreased level of well-being

27  Pearson Product Term Regression to determine if Hope mediates or moderates the relationship  Results:  Hope did not significantly mediate the relationship  Hope significantly moderated the relationship

28  Confirms the influence of hope as protective or resilience factor  Hope should be seriously considered in prevention and intervention strategies  Sense that hope could disrupt intergenerational cycling of violence  Hope is unfortunately a volatile construct and persistent negative engagements could erode any positive influence  Speculation that hope interacts with other protective factors  Multi-systemic therapeutic intervention models

29  Standardise Hope Scale for South African context  Standardise Exposure to Violence Scale for South African Context  Explore the nature of the pathways between these and other variables using SEM (Partial Least Squares)

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