Children’s Narratives of Family Life in Ghana: A Cultural Lens via Story Stems

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A Western worldview pervades the social and psychological study of children. The current study employed a story-stem method to qualitatively explore the daily and family life experiences of young Ghanaian primary school children in urban Ghana through their story narratives. The recorded narratives of 69 five- to eight-year-old children were elicited through presenting stems of common child-caregiver scenarios and thematically analysed. Five overarching themes were identified: daily routines and concerns, child-caregiver interactions, spirituality, death-related fears and depictions, and responses to injury. The narrative themes reveal the likely mental and physical occupations of these children, as characterized by household chores, financial concerns and school concerns, as well as underlying cultural values through their portrayals of parenting values, parental discipline and spiritual beliefs. Story stems depicting common childhood problems (e.g. knee injury) sometimes evoked death and hospitalization subthemes following an escalation of health problems. Possible interpretations for these findings are discussed, taking into account cultural, developmental and emotional factors. Story stems are a promising and developmentally appropriate tool for qualitative analysts to investigate the experiences and worldview of young children in non-Western cultures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3521–3535
JournalJournal of Child and Family Studies
Early online date12 Oct 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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