An exploratory study of violence and the development of self-concept in black children.
South African black children have been exposed to extremely high levels of violence, especially in the townships. This study was initiated in ,order to explore the effects of violence on the self-concept of the black child in South Africa. In addition the applicability of current self-concept theories and psychometric measures to this population was investigated. This study is therefore mainly exploratory. Sixty individuals of both sexes between the ages of 8 and 10 years were sampled from two schools. Thirty from one in a high violence and the other thirty from one in a low violence area. However, after finding that the experimental and control groups did not differ signifficantly these groups were reassigned according to exposure to violence rather than geographically. Direct and indirect exposure to violence as well as family and other stressors were measured with the aid of the Life Events Questionnaire (Mason and Killian, 1993). In order to determine the effect of exposure to violence on selfconcept these two groups were compared using one quantitative and two qualitative selfconcept measures. The quantitative measure was the Piers-Harris Children's SelfConcept Scale and the qualitative measures were the Human Figure Drawing Test and an Incomplete Sentences Test. Results were analysed by multivariate statistical procedures. This study concluded that violence has no significant effect.on self-concept in black children (p,>O.05). The Piers-Harris Children's Self-Concept Scale was found to be a reliable measure of self-concept in black children. Recommendations include broadening self-concept theories for black children by incorporating theories from disciplines other than psychology. The power of the present study would have been increased by using larger samples.
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