Title : Identify and compare the psychosocial problems and coping strategies of preadolescent girls with early onset of puberty in selected rural and urban schools
Puberty, the biological transition to reproductive maturity is considered as an exemplary marker of transition from childhood to adolescence. Although puberty is a natural event, early puberty poses a risk for number of psychosocial problems in preadolescent girls. Coping strategies may act as mediators of stress
that may support or inhibit positive adolescent adaptation.
The present study was carried out to identify and compare the psychosocial problems and coping strategies of preadolescent girls with early onset of puberty in rural and urban schools.
A descriptive comparative - correlational survey design was adopted for the study.A total of 300 preadolescent girls (rural-150 and urban-150), aged between 10-12 years with early onset of puberty were selected.Data was collected from fifth, si xth and seventh standard of eight schools from rural and urban areas of two randomly selected educational district of Kottayam revenue district. Self-reported psychosocial assessment scale, Children’s Coping Strategies Checklist-Revision1 (CCSC-R1) and opinionnaire were used to collect the data.
Findings of study revealed that19.66% of the preadolescent girls in rural school had mild psychosocial problems and 1.33% had moderate problems. Whereas 12.33% of urban subjects had mild problems and only 0.33% had moderate problems. There was a significant difference in the mean score of the
psychosocial problems of preadolescent girls in rural and urban schools (t=2.836, p<0.01). A significant difference was seen in the mean scores of anxieties (t=3.058, p<0.01) and depression (t= 3.824, p<0.001) among the rural and urban girls. Active coping strategies (t=2.847), avoidance strategies (t=2.554, p<0.01) and support seeking strategies (t=1.949, p<0.05) were significantly differ in rural and urban girls.Girls from rural schools were using more active and avoidance coping strategies whereas urban girls used more support seeking strategies. A positive relationship was found between psychosocial problems of preadolescent girls with early onset of puberty and different dimensions of coping strategies such as active, distraction, avoidance and support seeking strategies (p< 0.001). Majority of the preadolescent girls with mild-moderate problems were in the age of less than 11 years (57.1%). Religion was significantly associated with psychosocial problems of subjects in urban schools (p<0.01).
Preadolescent girls with early onset of puberty from both rural and urban background were affected with psychosocial problems. Anxiety and depression were significantly higher among rural girls. The girls were using both productive and non-productive coping strategies when encountered with a problem. Nurses
working with adolescent girls should consider the mental health needs of early maturing girls.