The effects of car-hijackings on the academic performance of senior primary school children

Feldman, Vanessa. A.
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This post-hoc study examines the academic effects of car hijackings on primary school children in South Aftica. The sample includes senior primary school children in Grades 4 to 7 from eight schools in Gauteng. A Questionnaire / Consent form was administered to the parents of all the children in these grades. A total of 3200 forms were given to all the children’s parents. Only 19 response forms were returned. Some parents of children who had been hijacked refused to participate in the study. In addition, many of the children’s families who had been involved in car-hijackmgs, had left South Africa and were living in another country. Each child’s academic scores relative to their class average scores were obtained both before and after the trauma. The results were statistically analysed by means of the Sign Test and the Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test. These results indicate that there were no significant changes in the academic performance of children who had been hijacked five months earlier. Implications of these results were discussed,with a view to future research. An important extraneous variable could have been exposure to post-trauma counselling. During the course of the research it came to the researcher’s attention that every child in the sample had had some form of trauma debriefing. This may have contributed to the post-trauma functioning of the children.