|dc.description.abstract||The purpose of this study was to determine the sources of stress, support systems, coping
strategies and psychological well-being of adolescents in a rural area, and to use this
information to develop a coping and life skills programme.
While all families face stressor events and crises, some are more likely than others to
experience a series of challenges that threaten their functioning. Rural families often face
a greater variety of stressor events on a more continues basis than do families in
metropolitan areas (Dyk, 2003). Rural families do not have as many resources and
services available lo address their problems as do urban families (Deavers & Hoppe,
Farm schools suffer from a variety of shortages. Many schools suffer from a pressing
shortage of space and educational aids and in most cases there is only one teacher for
every 50 learners (Van Kleist, 2002). Some of the learners have to walk more than 1Okm
to school everyday because of the lack of transport. Most schools lack proper sanitation
and electricity. Recreational and cultural activities are curtailed through shortages of
equipment and suitable locations.
Education in life skills may contribute to the enhancement of life quality, The
development of constructive coping strategies protects mental health and enhances bio psycho-
social well-being in times of high stress. Previously it was assumed that each
individual acquired these skills as part of growing up. Alas, the truth is that many people
do not cope with life and never learned these skills. These skills should therefore be
taught in a direct and systematic way, rather than being left to be learnt incidentally.
The qualitative research design was based on a sample of 56 male and female adolescents
between 1 2 and 16 years of age. The adolescents were from four farm schools situated in
the Potchefstroom area. Sixteen learners were randomly selected for semi-structured
interviews to obtain basic information for the pilot study. Approximately 37 learners
took part in the programme. The learners attended Grades 4-7.
The deve1opment of the programme was done in five phases. During phase one semi structured
interviews were held with some of the learners. During phase two the
interviews were evaluated thematically, The data was then organized into conceptual
categories and was then analyzed. During phase three the programme was developed
according to the themes derived from phase two. In phase four the programme was
presented at the schools as a trial test. During phase five the programme underwent some
changes according to the findings in phase four.
The development of the programme went well, however presenting the programme was a
more demanding task. Almost none of the participants could properly speak or
understand Afrikaans or English.||