Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.770458
Title: Violence, socioeconomic disadvantage and interpersonal protective factors for adolescents' resilience in education in the Eastern Cape, South Africa
Author: Herrero-Romero, Rocio
ISNI:       0000 0004 7652 840X
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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Abstract:
Background: many adolescents from socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in South Africa are exposed to multiple types of violence at home, in school and in their communities. To date, little is known in this context about the effects of this violence on the adolescents' educational outcomes, nor is much known about the protective factors contributing to adolescents' resilience in education. In order to partially address this gap in knowledge, this DPhil thesis generates evidence using self-report data from a purposive sample of 503 adolescents aged 10 to 18. Adolescents came from 40 socioeconomically disadvantaged communities and were participating in a child-abuse prevention trial in the Eastern Cape Province. Aims: This DPhil thesis has two aims. First, this thesis examines the effects of self-report past-month exposure to violence and socioeconomic disadvantage on adolescents' school delay and academic motivation (Study/Paper 1). Second, following a socioecological resilience approach, this thesis then investigates parents and teachers as two potential sources of resilience in education (Studies/Papers 2 and 3 respectively). Methods and results: Study 1: Paper 1 applied Latent Profile Analysis (LPA) to examine relationships between past-month exposure to violence, school delay and academic motivation. In the sample of 503 adolescents, 93.8% experienced 'poly-violence' - exposure to at least two forms of violence in the past month. Results identified two distinct profiles in this socioeconomically disadvantaged sample: Profile 1, adolescents exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence', and Profile 2, adolescents exposed to less-frequent 'poly-violence'. Being exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' was associated with greater risk of school delay - based on age-appropriate grades in South Africa. However, being exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' was not associated with lower academic motivation: adolescents still showed high rates of wanting to achieve. Study 2: Paper 2 applied an aggregated multilevel Structural Equation Model (SEM) in order to investigate the potential of supportive parenting in protecting against adolescents' school delay. Adolescents' self-report data on child abuse in the family, school and community, and adolescents' perceptions of positive parenting, consistent discipline, good monitoring, parental involvement and social support were analyzed. Results showed that perceptions of more-positive parenting and consistent discipline significantly moderated the relationship between more-frequent exposure to multiple forms of violence and school delay; while none of the five parenting factors included in the model were directly and significantly associated with school delay. Results indicated that supportive parenting practices cannot completely compensate against the strong negative effects of exposure to violence and socioeconomic disadvantage on adolescents' school delay. However, adolescents exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' and receiving positive parenting and consistent discipline from their parents are less likely to be behind the appropriate grade for their age. Study 3: Paper 3 applied an aggregated multilevel Structural Equation Model (SEM) in order to investigate the potential for teachers' academic and emotional support to protect against adolescents' school delay. Adolescents' self-report data on child abuse in the family, school and community, and adolescents' perceptions of teacher emotional and academic support were analyzed. Results suggested that being exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' and receiving more emotional support from teachers were both independently associated with greater school delay (p<0.05). On the contrary, higher academic support from teachers was associated with lower school delay (p<0.01). However, neither the academic nor emotional support from teachers - as perceived by students - significantly moderated the relationship between more-frequent exposure to 'poly-violence' and adolescents' school delay. This means that academic support provided by teachers can help to mitigate the likelihood of school delay for all adolescents living in disadvantaged communities in South Africa. However, teacher academic support does not translate into an extra 'boost' for those who have experienced more-frequent 'poly-violence'. Overall findings: Exposure to more-frequent 'poly-violence' increases the risk of school delay for adolescents from disadvantaged communities in South Africa, though it does not reduce their academic motivation. Thus, whilst adolescents maintain aspirations and goals to do well at school, frequent exposure to violence impacts their capacity to fulfil these aims. Further, the findings from this study suggest that supportive parenting has the potential to partially protect against school delay for more-frequent poly-victimized adolescents in South Africa, which suggests resilience processes for education are at play in the home lives of these adolescents. This is contextualized by the findings that teacher academic support is an important factor for school success for all adolescents living in these communities - whether they are exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' or not. However, the level of teacher academic support within the poorly-resourced schools that these children attended was found to be quite low (on average). Policy considerations: Three main policy considerations are suggested by these findings. First, results suggest that in order to improve the educational outcomes of at-risk adolescents in South Africa, interventions aiming at reducing exposure to violence are urgently needed (Study 1). Second, results also showed the potential benefit of targeted interventions that promote positive parenting and consistent parental discipline amongst the most vulnerable families with adolescents exposed to more-frequent 'poly-violence' (Study 2). Third, school-based secondary intervention programs that assist teachers to provide greater academic support in deprived contexts - characterized by adolescents being frequently exposed to violence - have the potential to lessen the occurrence of school delay (Study 3).
Supervisor: Cluver, Lucie ; Hall, James Sponsor: Economic and Social Research Council ; Obra Social "La Caixa"
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.770458  DOI: Not available
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