The implementation and evaluation of a resiliency programme for children
SOUTH AFRICAN JOURNAL OF PSYCHOLOGY
University of the Free State
Children moving from middle childhood to adolescence experience challenges that require effective skills to cope with the increasing complexity of life. This is particularly true in South Africa where the exposure to violence, poverty and ongoing socio-economic transformation leads to high levels of stress. Accordingly, children need to be resilient to cope with stress and trauma. The goal of this investigation was to develop, implement and evaluate a resiliency programme for 12-year-old children. A total of 161 participants was selected from four schools in the Bloemfontein area and divided into experimental and control groups. The Solomon Four Group Design was used. The following measuring instruments were used to assess the participants' resilience: the Behavioural and Emotional Rating Scale, Resiliency Scales for children and adolescents, and the Fortitude Scale. The intervention programme consisted of 15 sessions presented over a period of three weeks and focused on activities promoting emotional regulation, stress management, interpersonal skills, and problem solving. Two post-test evaluations were conducted: three weeks after the intervention programme and a follow-up three months later. Findings indicated that intrapersonal characteristics such as emotional regulation and self-appraisal increased significantly after the children had been exposed to the resiliency programme; while interpersonal skills and external resources such as family and general social support did not increase significantly. The content of the resiliency programme and the recommendations for interventions are discussed in the article.