Understanding risk in the everyday identity-work of young people on the East Rand
- Authors: Graham, Lauren
- Date: 2013-04-10
- Subjects: Risk-taking (Psychology) , Identity (Psychology) in adolescence , Risk perception - Social aspects , Gender identity - Social aspects
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:7434 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/8292
- Description: D.Litt. et Phil. (Sociology) , Inquiry that seeks to understand young people’s engagement in risk behaviours is numerous. Concern for and interest in young people has stimulated a wide range of debates about what makes young people do the things they do. Despite the plethora of research in this area there are still gaps in our knowledge, primarily because much of the research has sought to understand young people by looking at their decision making from the outside. This study departs from what has gone before by applying a youth development approach to understanding youth risk. In order to do so it sought to delve into the worlds and lives of a few young people living in an informal settlement in Gauteng, South Africa. The key question that the study poses pertains to how young people understand and negotiate risk as an aspect of their everyday identity-work. It is thus important to note that youth in this study is not understood simply as a particular age range or a phase that exists between childhood and adulthood. Rather it is understood as a life stage that carries with it particular experiences, needs and processes. In particular for the purposes of this study identity-work is understood to be an intensive process during the life stage of youth that involves drawing on culturally and socially available labels (McCall, 2003), definitions and markers of identity and testing them in their social networks in a process of reflexivity towards developing a self-identity (Giddens, 1991). In order to generate a deep understanding of the lives and worlds of young people, this study employed a critical ethnographic design, combining the usual methods of ethnography such as observation and interviews, with innovative methods that sought to challenge commonly held perceptions of research that young people might have had, and to encourage them to participate in the research. The study found that risk is understood in multiple ways. Young people understand and internalise the risk prevention messaging that is often targeted at them but they also have other perceptions of risk that ‘experts’ tend to overlook. Most important of these were their perceptions of risk that were influenced by their socio-economic surroundings – risks that were foremost in their lives because of their day-to-day struggles to manage them. The study also demonstrates the ways in which risk is negotiated as a feature of identity-work in three ways – in identity-work that has to do with masculinity and femininity, in identity-work pertaining to who one is within a family, and in identity work that involves their roles in the community. One of the main recommendations arising from this research is the need for integrated interventions that combine the prevention models that are currently employed, with locally specific interventions aimed at enhancing the protection and preparedness of young people in order to reduce their vulnerability. By conceptualising young people and the phase of ‘youth’ differently, and applying a youth development approach to understanding youth risk, it is hoped that an innovative way of considering how young people make decisions regarding risk has been opened for future consideration in research.
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Personality as a predictor of risk-taking behaviour
- Authors: Van Zyl, Casper J. J.
- Date: 2014-02-05
- Subjects: Risk-taking (Psychology) , Personality
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:3652 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/9037
- Description: M.A. (Psychology) , The present study was conducted to investigate the relationship between personality and risk taking behaviour in the South African context. Personality was measured with the Basic Traits Inventory (BTl), an assessment specifically developed to measure the broad dimensions of the five factor model of personality (John & Srivastava, 1999) in South Africa. The five dimensions on the BTl have the same names as the well-known five factor model, namely: Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience, Agreeableness, and Conscientiousness. The primary objective of this study was to investigate the underlying personality structure across ten different forms of risk-related behaviour. The risk behaviours included smoking, alcohol consumption,.illegal drug use, sexual promiscuity, thrill-seeking activities, gambling, physical violence, romantic infidelity and other behaviours that may have led to a respondent being arrested. Given South Africa's unique population, a further objective ofthis study was to examine the degree to which the results from the study would be in line with those reported in so-called Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich and Democratic (WEIRD) societies. The sample consisted of 683 respondents, all second-year students from a bilingual (Afrikaans and English) university in Johannesburg. There were 142 men and 538 women in the sample. Three of the respondents' gender was unknown. There were 425 White respondents, 120 Black respondents, 83 Indian respondents, 46 Coloured respondents and nine respondents who did not specify any population group. Respondents' mean age was 20.99 years with a standard deviation of5.10 years. The sample was not representative ofthe South African population, with men being underrepresented and White respondents overrepresented in comparison to other population groups. A multivariate technique, Descriptive Discriminant Analysis, was used to analyse personality differences across groups. The groups were formed based on the frequency with which individuals engaged in the different risk-behaviours. Post-hocanalyses allowed for a close rexamination of group differences. The results revealed that a single, statistically significant discriminant functionemergedfor all ten of the risk variables with the exceptionof one, for whichtwo possible discriminant functions were identified. This showed that different combinations of the five personality factors were, to some extent, able to account for group separation on each of the risk variables. Considering the results as a whole, some interesting findings were revealed: It became evident that no single personality structureexists across the different risk-variables of this study. It was clear that some personality factors were more important, whereas others were less important, depending on the type of risk-behaviour being considered. Despite these seeming differences, important patterns of personality emergedacross the risk-variables. Conscientiousness, and in particular, Extraversion were identified as the most salient predictors of the risk-behaviours in this study, although important contributions were also made by the remaining personality factors: Conscientiousness was further found to be the most important predictor of health-risk behaviours such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and druguse. In general, Opennessto Experience, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism appeared to be more selectively associated with specific risk-behaviours when compared to Extraversion and Conscientiousness. Overall, the findings reported in this study were largely in line with those reported in so called WEIRD countries. The results of this study further supported the generalisability of prior research regarding the relationship between personality and risk-taking. It also demonstrated the utility of the five factor model as a promising predictor of risky behaviour. For future research it is recommended that the facet-scale level of the BTl be used to further investigate the personality-risk relationship.
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A socio-psychological perspective on the perception and acceptance of risk
- Authors: Botha, Louise
- Date: 2014-05-14
- Subjects: Nuclear industry - Psychological aspects , Risk , Risk-taking (Psychology) , Industrial sociology
- Type: Thesis
- Identifier: uj:11078 , http://hdl.handle.net/10210/10651
- Description: D.Litt. et Phil. (Sociology) , The Licensing Branch of the Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa is responsible for setting safety standards as regards the nuclear energy industry. The present study forms part of an investigation, initiated by members of the Licensing Branch, into the impact and possible social risk of nuclear technology on society. The ultimate aim of the investigation, towards which this study intends to make a sound contribution, is the development of appropriate social risk criteria. Financial assistance by the Atomic Energy Corporation of South Africa is hereby acknowledged. Any views or conclusions are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the AEC. The financial assistance of the Human Sciences Research Council towards the costs of this research is hereby acknowledged. Opinions expressed or conclusions reached are those of the author and are not to be regarded as a reflection of the opinions and conclusions of the Human Sciences Research Council.
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