Original Research

Strengthening intellectually challenged adolescents’ sense of self: An appreciative inquiry mixed-methods intervention

Christene J. Louw, Hermanus B. Grobler, Richard G. Cowden
Health SA Gesondheid | Vol 23 | a1113 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hsag.v23i0.1113 | © 2018 Christene J. Louw, Herman B. Grobler, Richard G. Cowden | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 February 2018 | Published: 22 November 2018

About the author(s)

Christene J. Louw, Community Psychosocial Research (COMPRES), North-West University, South Africa
Hermanus B. Grobler, Community Psychosocial Research (COMPRES), North-West University, South Africa
Richard G. Cowden, Community Psychosocial Research (COMPRES), North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Individuals with intellectual challenges may experience a sense of isolation within their families. How their families and friends react towards these challenges influences the formation of their identity and self-acceptance significantly.

Aim: The aim of this research was to explore and describe how the sense of self of intellectually challenged adolescents could be strengthened within familial relationships and to evaluate the effectiveness of appreciative inquiry as an intervention approach.

Setting: The study was conducted with families at a school for children with intellectual disabilities in the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Area, Northern Region of Gauteng, South Africa.

Methods: In an embedded mixed-method approach, a sample of 24 intellectually challenged adolescents and their families were selected, tested and interviewed. Quantitative data were collected using the BarOn Emotional Quotient Inventory (BarOn EQ-i:YV) on adolescents and the Family Environmental Scale (FES) on families in the experimental and control groups, before and after intervention. Qualitative data were gathered through an appreciative inquiry intervention and semi-structured interviews with adolescents in the experimental group.

Results: Although the quantitative findings were not statistically significant, the qualitative findings indicated that adolescents and family members experienced the sense of self of intellectually challenged adolescents positively, rather than as ‘disabled’. The appreciative inquiry shows potential to strengthen intellectually challenged adolescents’ sense of self in a supportive, positive family environment.

Conclusion: The research is valuable in the way it highlights the importance of relational research in cases where quantitative research does not seem to be effective.


Keywords

appreciative inquiry; familial relationships; mixed methods; adolescent identity; intellectual challenged; developmental disabilities

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