Self-concept of children from different family statuses
This study forms part of a larger inter-university research project that focuses on psychological resilience and related concepts in children. The title of the overall project is: Psychological resilience in children in the South African context. This particular study falls under the supervision of Mrs E. van Rensburg. The aim of this study is to establish whether there are any differences in the self-concept of children from intact and divorced families. Self-concept is regarded as one of the facets that make up psychological resilience. Over the years there has been an increasing interest in the effects that divorce has on children. Some of the aspects that have been focused on include social and psychological factors such as school performance, behaviour, self-esteem, and self-concept. The first part of this study examines the paradigms of self-concept and self-esteem and identifies the differences between the two concepts. This is done by examining some of the theories regarding the development of both self-esteem and self-concept. The rationale behind this approach is that there are a number of conflicting definitions for both of these terms in the literature and this has led to some confusion in the past. Self-concept is then examined as a factor of psychological resilience. This is done by providing a brief description of psychological resilience as it is described in the literature. The role which self-concept plays in psychological resilience is then investigated. A number of practical suggestions that can be followed up to enhance psychological resilience through increasing children's self-concept are then are provided. The empirical study forms the next part of this investigation. The sample group consisted of children in their late-middle childhood (9 - 13 years old) who are between grades 4 and 7. The children were chosen by means of an availability sample from various schools in the different provinces of South Africa. Class lists were used to select random samples of children from the different grades. The final figures . for the two sample groups - intact and divorced families - were 838 and 88 respectively. The measuring instrument used - Piers Harris Children's Self-concept Scale (Piers, 1983) was administered after school hours and only once permission had been obtained from both the parents and also the principals of the various schools. The reliability indices for the various sub-scales of the measuring instrument were calculated using the Cronbach-alpha reliability coefficient. Based on the empirical investigation, only three of the sub-scales reveal statistically significant differences and overall there do not seem to be practically significant differences in the self-concept of children from intact and divorced families, there is a statistically significant difference. Finally the last section of this investigation provides recommendations for further studies in this area as well as practical suggestions for the implementation of the findings.
- Health Sciences