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Youth Resilience Across Seven South African Sites Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 4th, 2021


People are an integral part of society, and the conditions, in which they live, influence them substantially. If these conditions are good, they introduce some benefits for people, while worse ones can have the opposite impact. In the second case, people need resilience – an ability to stand against adverse social settings. This ability is the main topic of “A Comparison of Youth Resilience across Seven South African Sites” by Van Breda (2015). The research tests the hypothesis that South African children from different sites can have different levels of resilience. That is why the author has conducted a literature review to understand to what extent this topic has been researched. According to Van Breda (2015), there were only “23 published articles between 1990 and 2008 on the subject” (p. 226). This fact explains the presence of outdated sources in the research. Nevertheless, all sources, both old and new, are credible, which eliminates any bias in the selection of studies. Thus, the primary purpose of writing this paper is to critique the quantitative research on youth resilience.

Summary of Methods

The author utilized particular research methods to achieve the required goals. This research is an example of a non-experimental study, meaning that the main focus is to interpret the findings, rather than to influence or alter them. According to Aggarwal and Ranganathan (2019), the study is descriptive – “one that is designed to describe the distribution of one or more variables” (p. 34). In addition to that, this is quantitative research, denoting that it should be based on a large sample, while validity and reliability are its central values (Newman, 2016). Thus, this information has influenced the further development of the study.

The research design had a significant impact on the sampling method, as well as data collection and analysis. The author utilized a specific approach to provide age, racial, and cultural diversity among the sample. In this manner, “a total of 598 children participated in the study” (Van Breda, 2015, p. 229). To collect data from the participants, the researcher developed the questionnaire of “21 subscales and 117 items” with appropriate questions in each of them (Van Breda, 2015, p. 229). Thus, the participants were to answer these questions to provide the scientist with the necessary information, which is said to be a validated instrument for data collection. According to Van Breda (2015), the results of all the scales were then analyzed according to a 100-point system, where “higher scores indicated higher levels of resilience” (p. 229). Furthermore, specific efforts were made to ensure reliability; the researcher deleted 21 questionnaires that “were less than 80% completed” and two questionnaires that “demonstrated very high levels of impression management” (Van Breda, 2015, p. 229). Thus, it is possible to say that the given study can reckon on credible findings.

Summary of Results

One should note that the research arrived at unexpected results. It was found that both participants from children’s homes and those from schools in poorer neighborhoods were not less resilient compared to children from relatively satisfactory living conditions. These findings are supported by statistical analysis of the questionnaires that came from the sites. For example, the highest mean resilience was identified among participants from a residential care setting for young people, while children from a private school in a middle-class neighborhood showed one of the lowest resilience scores.

The findings above show make the author conclude that any child can be resilient, despite their social peculiarities. This statement seems to be logical and valid, paying attention to the statistical analysis. The reasoning for this is quite simple – the author introduced this conclusion as the evaluation of specific figures, rather than the description of theoretical issues. In this case, it is difficult to deny or dispute precise information. In addition to that, the author pays attention to the practical significance of the results. The scientist proves that all children require assistance to develop their resilience, and representatives of satisfactory living conditions are no exception. Thus, school teachers and social workers should make some efforts to minimize children’s vulnerability.

Ethical Aspects

The given study introduces a particular situation considering its ethical issues. On the one hand, the potential risks were relatively low because the study design did not involve the participants in painful or harmful experiences. On the other hand, any research with children can have some risks. As a result, the researcher decided to address the ethical issues explicitly to protect the participants’ wellbeing and confidentiality. That is why the heads of each site are permitted to cooperate with their pupils. Besides, the children and their parents voluntarily signed a written consent to participate in the research. What is more, Van Breda (2015) stated that “the University of Johannesburg’s Faculty of Humanities Ethics Committee gave ethical approval to the study” (p. 229). Thus, the scientist did his best to avoid any ethical issues.

Evaluation of Study

Based on the information above, the most suitable research design and methods were used to investigate the issue. As has been stated by Aggarwal and Ranganathan (2019), a descriptive study is used to analyze the quantitative distribution of some phenomena. Thus, these research methods and designs seem to meet Van Breda’s intentions ideally since the scientist aims at explaining and interpreting his findings. At the same time, another approach might not be useful in achieving such precise results. The main strengths of the study are represented by the vast and diverse sample size that makes it possible to arrive at statistically based conclusions.

As for limitations, Van Breda did not mention any of them explicitly in the study. It appears that the research has achieved the goals and objectives of a quantitative survey to a full extent. Thus, it is not possible to identify some limitations that were not mentioned by the author since the children of various genders, ages, and social statuses were analyzed. Furthermore, the researcher suggests that his study can be a useful article to make school teachers and social workers deal with children’s resilience in practice. However, no suggestions for future work on the topic were introduced.


The research under critique focuses on children’s resilience in South Africa. An excellent study design and methods were chosen to achieve the required goals. Thus, Van Breda managed to produce credible results thanks to specific attention paid to statistical information. The scientist considered ethically questionable issues and did all his best to avoid them. To conclude, this article is a useful guide for responsible persons to affect the children’s resilience directly. A possible recommendation for a further study can refer to reclassifying the research into a qualitative one to determine what factors influence children’s resilience at a particular site.


Aggarwal, R., & Ranganathan, P. (2019). Study designs: Part 2 – descriptive studies. Perspective in Clinical Research, 10(1), 34-36.

Newman, M. (2016). Research methods in psychology. (2nd ed.). San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education.

Van Breda, A. D. (2015). A comparison of youth resilience across seven South African sites. Child and Family Social Work, 22(1), 226-235.

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"Youth Resilience Across Seven South African Sites." IvyPanda, 4 June 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/youth-resilience-across-seven-south-african-sites/.

1. IvyPanda. "Youth Resilience Across Seven South African Sites." June 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/youth-resilience-across-seven-south-african-sites/.


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IvyPanda. 2021. "Youth Resilience Across Seven South African Sites." June 4, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/youth-resilience-across-seven-south-african-sites/.


IvyPanda. (2021) 'Youth Resilience Across Seven South African Sites'. 4 June.

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