Exploring factors that contribute to prosocial behaviour of maltreated adolescent females living in residential care
Van der Walt, Johanna Magdalena
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The purpose of this study was to explore the factors that contribute to prosocial behaviour in maltreated adolescent females living in a children’s home in the Tshwane-metropole, Gauteng, South Africa. The age of the participants varied between 14 and 18 years. The study was approved by the Internal Research Panel and Faculty Board of the North-West University. Approval was also obtained from the children's home where the study was conducted. The researcher worked from a positive psychology paradigm which guided the researcher to focus on the participants' strengths and positive aspects which contributed to their display of prosocial behaviour. A literature study was conducted to provide the researcher with a clearer understanding of the meaning of the research problem. The literature study focused on the development of prosocial behaviour and adolescent development within the context of child maltreatment. The researcher utilised a qualitative research approach, which enabled her to describe and understand the participants' behaviour. As methodology, the researcher utilised an intrinsic case study design and participants were selected based on purposive sampling. Data collection relied on two semi-structured interviews per participant which provided the opportunity for participants to share their thoughts, feelings and perceptions. Thematic data analysis was performed, using Creswell’s spiral of data analysis. During data analysis, regarding the factors surrounding the prosocial behaviour of maltreated adolescent females living in residential care, two main contributing themes were identified, namely: * Internal factors * External factors Internal factors illuminate the importance of (1) a moral identity that guides behaviour according to internalised moral values; (2) an internal locus of control which attests to the participants’ view of themselves as active role-players and not mere victims of circumstances, and (3) cognitive skills demonstrated in the capacity to engage in critical thinking. External factors emphasise the importance of (1) attachment figures and positive role-models that model moral values and (2) a supportive, nurturing environment. Internal and external factors do not operate in isolation, but there is rather a definite interplay between these factors, such as attachment figures in the environment (external factor) who model moral values which the child incorporates into her identity in the attainment of a moral identity (internal factor). Strategies to broaden support networks for children should receive attention within the child welfare context, as they could, among other factors, promote positive outcomes for youth in residential care.
- Humanities