A psychosocial approach to understanding girls' runaway behaviours

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A psychosocial approach to understanding girls' runaway behaviours


Author: Lam, Yee-mi Amy
Title: A psychosocial approach to understanding girls' runaway behaviours
Degree: M.A.
Year: 1996
Subject: Runaway children
Runaway teenagers
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Studies
Pages: v, 103 leaves ; 30 cm
Language: English
OneSearch: https://www.lib.polyu.edu.hk/bib/b1230710
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/4059
Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative and exploratory case study is to adopt a psychosocial approach to understand the girls' runaway behaviours. Studies revealed that multiple runaway behaviours were due to the interaction between the individual and environmental situation than simply the problem of the individual or the social context which affected the individual. The psychosocial approach to understanding the girls' runaway behaviours was adopted for examination. Chu, a runaway girl, manifested her first runaway behaviour since she was fourteen. She and her family were selected purposefully and studied through in-depth semi-structured interviews from October, 1994 to May, 1995. She manifested four obvious subsequent runaway behaviours after she was made a subject of the Care or Protection Order in August, 1993. It was found that the weak family control, weak personal control and undesirable peer influences were interactive in affecting Chu's multiple runaway behaviours. Her family's inadequate supervision bestowed Chu's freedom and chances to acquaint with undesirable peers. The family was inadequate in disciplining Chu over her multiple runaway behaviours and other deviant/delinquent behaviours. They had to collaborate with the agents of formal control so as to guard against Chu's drug-related runaway behaviours. The family also did not provide adequate affectionate functions to Chu. Weak family control contributed to Chu's weak personal control. Chu did not internalise that her drug-related runaway behaviours were problems. She had low commitment to conventional values and goals. She also had low commitment to her family but high commitment to her deviant peers. Her peers did not regard Chu's runaway behaviours as deviant and they provided Chu with sheltered places and money during her runaway life. Owing to weak family control, weak personal control, and strong undesirable peer influences, Chu manifested her multiple runaway behaviours, from her home and even from the Police's lawful custody. The implications of this study are that runaway girls need to receive both "control" and "care" from their socialising agents. From a psychosocial approach, both the girls and their families should be helped. First, the parent-child interactions and relationships should be facilitated so as to strengthen the family controls. Second, the personal controls of the girls should be strengthened by modifying their beliefs and normative values. Third, the girls and their peers should be encouraged to have more involvement in socially acceptable activities so that they would be less vulnerable to deviant peers' attraction that supports their runaway behaviours.

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