Exploring privileged adolescents' experiences during an act of pro-social behaviour
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The purpose of the study was to explore how privileged adolescents in an affluent school in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa, experienced an act of pro-social behaviour. The age of the participants varied between 17 and 18 years. Every year at the school, Grade 11 learners participate in the Habitat for Humanity South Africa (HFHSA) community building project. It is a volunteer programme comprising of fundraising after which learners physically build houses for members of an underprivileged community. This specific school was involved in a community in Johannesburg. The study was approved by the Research Committee and Faculty Board of the North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus. Consent was also obtained from the Gauteng Provincial Manager of HFHSA and the Headmaster of the school where the study was conducted. A literature review was conducted to describe the concepts that supported the study. The literature review focused on the development of adolescents and pro-social behaviour and included a discussion on the influences that family, peers and school have on pro-social development as well as discussion on the effects that volunteering and the socio-economic status of the adolescents have on pro-social behaviour. Gratitude and its contribution to pro-social behaviour were explained, followed by the final section on positive psychology as the theoretical basis for the study. The researcher utilised a qualitative research approach, which enabled her to explore and describe participants’ experiences. A phenomenological design was used as method of inquiry through purposive and convenience sampling. Data collection relied on two focus group discussions and four individual interviews. Preceding the focus group discussions and individual interviews, creative art work was conducted as a reflective technique to assist participants in recollecting their experiences, thoughts and feelings. Thematic analysis was performed using Braun and Clarke’s linear model to analyse data. During data analysis three main themes were identified, namely: * Experience of a sense of awareness * Experience of a closeness among community members and with peers * Experience of the outcome of a simple act of pro-social behaviour A sense of awareness on an intrapersonal level was experienced by participants in the form of (1) gratitude for the privileges they have and (2) awareness of the reality of others less privileged. Participants experienced the true sense of ubuntu in the community as well as closeness with their peers. Reflecting on the experience prompted gratitude and satisfaction in participants in what they had accomplished as the outcome of a simple act of pro-social behaviour. Considering the above, community outreach programmes should be made mandatory in the school curriculum to provide the necessary exposure for adolescents in order to promote pro-social behaviour and positive outcomes for the self and others less privileged.
- Humanities