This study forms part of and involves the analysis of data from an existing NRF-funded broad research project. The broader project, which has been conducted in collaboration with Fordham University in New York City (USA), aimed to facilitate social change through a school-based intervention that focused on physical fitness, psychosocial well-being and healthy eating habits of young learners. The current study involves the investigation of the effect of the intervention on the psychosocial well-being of the Grade 1 to 3 learners who participated.
For the purpose of the current study, I followed a quantitative methodological approach, relied on a post-positivist epistemological perspective and implemented a secondary data analysis research design. I analysed the psychosocial well-being sections of the Nutritional Habits, Physical Activity and Well-being (NPWB) questionnaire, the Kid-KINDL® as well as the Feelings questionnaires by making use of descriptive and inferential statistics. I specifically made use of the Wilcoxon signed-rank test.
For many of the items included in the three questionnaires, the results remained relatively constant prior to and following the intervention. As such, the results of the study indicate that the health promotion intervention did not have an overall positive effect on the psychosocial well-being of the respondents, despite certain areas of functioning being affected by the intervention. It was namely found that an increased number of learners felt angry more often, were bored more often, and felt calm less often following the health promotion intervention. Learners reportedly also had fun and laughed less often after the implementation had been implemented. More learners felt excited more often after the intervention in relation to before its implementation. In addition, more of the learners felt content at home more often following the health promotion intervention than prior to implementation.
Based on the findings of the current study and differences between these and those obtained from the qualitative measures that were implemented as part of the broader project, I can conclude that the use of quantitative measures with young children needs careful consideration. Specific regard should be given to learners’ developmental level, as well as age and language proficiency when using quantitative measures. Any quantitative measure should also be standardised for the context it is intended for, in order to yield reliable and valid results. Finally, practitioners are encouraged to include qualitative measures in supplementation of standardised quantitative measures when doing research with young children in at-risk school community contexts.