AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Coping strategies of church-going adolescents in Durban / Sarah M. Chamberlain

by Sarah M Chamberlain

Institution: North-West University
Year: 2014
Keywords: Coping; Coping strategies; Adolescents; Religion; Religious beliefs; Case study; Hantering; Hanteringstrategieë; Adolessente; Godsdiens; Godsdienstige oortuigings; Gevallestudie
Record ID: 1467717
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10394/11531


Adolescents face many challenges in their communities, families and individually during the complex developmental stage of adolescence. It is during this time that their sense of self and an identity apart from their parents become more strongly developed and they become more autonomous. As adolescents separate more and more from their parents they move progressively towards their peer relationships, which is an important part of identity formation. However, during this period they are exposed to many healthy and unhealthy influences in the community, especially when engaging with their peers and other social structures outside of the family. During childhood they were less likely to engage in undesirable or risk behaviour for fear of disapproval and rejection from their parents but during adolescence there is a strong need for approval from their peers, who might engage in and encourage risk behaviour. Effective coping strategies can be an important protective factor aiding them in making the right choices and decisions and resisting peer pressure. Previously, many models of adolescent coping have been taken from coping studies done with adults, which have not accounted for the developmental differences between adults and adolescents. Now as literature on coping with regards to adolescence is growing, the studies often ignore religious coping strategies and their potential impact on functioning. Yet, recent data suggests that religious behaviour and beliefs have a protective influence that moderates the impact of adverse interpersonal life events and social adversity as well as physical and mental health. Thus, this qualitative study applied case study methods to explore and describe the different coping strategies used by a group of church-going adolescents from branches of a non-denominational church in Durban. Ethical approval for the study was obtained from the North-West University and informed consent was obtained from the parents and the adolescent minors before they participated in the study. Data was collected using a visual representation technique, two individual interviews and a focus group discussion with twelve participants. The data was analysed using thematic analysis and three main themes and various subthemes emerged. The first theme was understanding of coping as indicated by participants while the second theme identified the sources of their coping strategies and the third theme involved their specific coping strategies, which included religion, leisure activities, physical coping, social support systems, creativity and behaviour. These findings provide a greater understanding of the coping strategies and modalities used by church-going adolescents. MA (Psychology), North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, 2014