The relationship between coping behaviour and resilience processes in children in a high risk community
Coping and resilience occurs on a regular basis within the lives of children residing in at-risk communities. Coping refers to an action or behaviour on behalf of the child with the aim of diminishing the burden of psychological and emotional stressors. Coping can be achieved by means of internal factors, such as avoidance, positive cognitive restructuring, and wishful thinking, as well as by means of external factors such as social support. Resilience was operationalized as the ability of the child to bounce back from adversity or stress in order to achieve positive developmental outcomes. This ability to overcome adverse events can be achieved by means of external as well as internal factors, and thus resilience is understood as a socio-ecological construct (Ungar, 2008). Hence a theoretical link between the two constructs has been identified in relevant literature, since both coping and resilience refer to children's ability to deal with stress and adversity they encounter. A quantitative method of research was chosen for this study in order to investigate the relationship between coping behaviour and resilience processes. The sample consisted of 262 primary school pupils aged 10 to 14, residing in a severely socio-economically deprived community in Vereeniging, Gauteng. An equal distribution of gender was achieved in the sample. Two questionnaires were administered to determine the coping behaviour and resilience processes of participants, namely The Children's Coping Strategy Checklist (CCSC) compiled by Ayers and Sandler (1999), and the Resilience and Youth Developmental Model (RYDM) by West.Ed (1999; 2002). Both measures were administered in Afrikaans, which was the medium of teaching in the school. All ethical requirements for a study of this nature were met with precision. Descriptive statistics regarding the sample revealed that the majority of the participants were aged 12 years, in Grade 6 and Afrikaans speaking. Furthermore the measuring instruments yielded acceptable reliability coefficients, with the CCSC as well as the RYDM obtaining a value of ρ = 0,98. Measurement model 1, consisting of an eleven-factor structure (coping consisting of six factors and resilience of five factors) indicated the best fit, with a Chi-square (χ²) value of 4667,30; CFI of 0,95, and a TLI value of 0,95. Furthermore, significant but tenuous statistically correlational relationship was observed between coping and resilience. A coping measurement model could be conceptualized from the results of this study. Possible limitations of the study were that: The data was collected in 2010, with secondary analysis being the focus of this study; the CCSC as well as the RYDM are relatively new measures within a South African context, and although both were translated for use in this project, cultural equivalence was not ensured. Possible recommendations for further studies may include the development of standardised South African measures, as well as qualitative studies to explore and provide an in-depth understanding of coping behaviour and resilience processes in children.
- Humanities