Fears, coping and perceived efficacy of coping mechanisms among South African children living in children\'s homes

  • Käthe Burkhardt Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa
  • Helene Loxton Department of Psychology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland 7602, South Africa

Abstract

Background: The present study examined common childhood fears, coping strategies and perceived efficacy of coping mechanisms among 8- to 13-year-old South African children (n = 141) living in four children\'s homes. Method: Fears were assessed by means of the Fear List Method (FLM) and the Fear Survey Schedule for Children Revised (FSSC-R). For both measures, the content and number of fears were determined. The FSSC-R was also used to establish the levels of fearfulness, as well as the pattern of fears. Coping strategies and the perceived efficacy of these strategies were assessed by means of open-ended questions. Results: The rank orders of fears as obtained with the FLM were quite different from those derived from the FSSC-R. Girls expressed more fears as well as higher levels of fears than boys. Secondary coping strategies (i.e. seeking social and/or spiritual support) were most often engaged in and were also perceived as most effective. Conclusions: A greater sensitivity to the emotional needs, especially with regard to fears, coping and perceived efficacy, of special populations is recommended.

Journal of Child and Adolescent Mental Health 2008, 20(1): 1–11
Published
2008-08-13
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1728-0591
print ISSN: 1728-0583