An investigation into the perceived sources of stress and coping strategies amongst adolescents at a secondary in Kwazulu-Natal.
In this study, a self-report questionnaire was used to obtain a picture of sources of stress amongst a sample of 150 adolescents (75 male and 75 female) at a secondary school in KwaZulu-Natal. Students scored the intensity of stress on a four point stress scale. In addition, students completed similar rating scales to assess self-esteem and depression amongst the students, and to obtain a picture of coping strategies they used. Findings revealed that students, both male and female, perceived the main sources of stress to be related to academic and life stress factors such as: the fact that there is too much schoolwork, being nervous to speak in front of the class, the worry that they may not pass grade 11, fear of being a victim of crime or violence, fear of losing a loved one, being prone to over-react to things, fear of not finding a job upon leaving school. Male students also reported fear of contracting a serious illness as a source of stress. The study found a significant negative correlation between stress and self-esteem, and a significant positive correlation between stress and depression. The findings on coping strategies indicates that the most frequently used coping strategies are: talking to friends, turning to religion, thinking positive thoughts. However, the number of students who responded in the categories 'often" and 'all the time" was fairly low: It is interesting to note that although students did not perceive family factors as key stressors in their lives, only 43 students talked to parents when experiencing stress. There was evidence of gender differences in the use of certain strategies. 25 males and 12 females indicated that they turn to religion 'all the time' as a means of dealing with stressors in their lives. More males (21) than females (6) use the strategy of talking to friends 'all the time'.
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