Date of Award

2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of Psychology and Social Sciences

Faculty

Faculty of Computing, Health and Science

First Advisor

Lynne Cohen

Abstract

Adolescence has been described as a period of many physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes. During such a tumultuous time some adolescents cope better than others with life stressors, and these individuals can be considered resilient. The degree to which a person is resilient can be influenced and determined by protective factors, including social support, sense of belonging and self-efficacy. Positive social support has been identified as a buffer that protects individuals from the negative effects of stressful life situations. A strong sense of belonging has positively reflected adolescents' motivation, participation and ability to relate to their environment. Self-efficacy has also been examined as it is the sense of competence an individual holds when dealing with problems. All protective factors examined yielded positive outcomes when experienced in high degrees. However, conflicting findings were identified. These discrepancies, although minor, indicated a need for further research. Adolescence is a transitional period defined by major physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes. These changes have been identified as major stressors, although some individuals cope well with these changes, others struggle to adapt. These individual differences in coping stem from the ability to be resilient. The degree to which a person is resilient can be influenced and determined by protective factors. Social support, sense of belonging and self-efficacy are factors that may be considered as protective against risk. The current study aimed to examine whether social support, sense of belonging and self-efficacy would predict resilience. Sixty grade nine and ten students completed self-report questionnaires to measure levels of social support, sense of belonging, self-efficacy and resilience. Standard multiple regression analysis revealed that the predictor variables in combination significantly predicted resilience scores. However, independently only social support presented as having a significant predictive relationship to resilience. Avenues for future research were identified, including further exploration of school policies and strategies to ensure a strengths based approach is adopted.

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