n African Journal of Psychiatry - Depression and exposure to violence among Venda and Northern Sotho adolescents in South Africa : original article

Volume 13, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1994-8220



Despite the high levels of violence in South Africa, a lacunae in research exists regarding the influence of violence exposure on children. This study investigated the correlation between children's exposure to violence and the development of psychological problems such as depression. 186 Venda and 151 Northern Sotho adolescents were studied in a questionnaire survey to determine this relationship. Two measuring instruments were used: The Children's Depression Inventory and the Child Exposure to Violence Form. When comparing gender, no significant differences were found in terms of overall exposure to violence between males and females. For depression, the total group of girls had a remarkably higher prevalence of depression. Regarding ethnic comparison, no significant differences were found in terms of overall exposure to violence or for witnessed events. However, the Venda adolescents had been victims significantly more often. Venda and Northern Sotho females had a similar prevalence of depression, but Northern Sotho boys had a higher depression rate than Venda boys. The correlation between victimisation and total group depression was relatively low for the Northern Sotho group, and non-existent for the Venda group. A significant correlation was found between total exposure to violence and depression for the overall group. This study indicates that adolescents' exposure to violence and subsequent mental health is an area of concern. However, adolescents could be taught effective coping and problem-solving techniques in schools to help empower them against stressors they might encounter.

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