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Medos infantis na contemporaneidade: contribuições do Procedimento de Desenhos-Estórias com Tema [Children’s fears in contemporary times: contributions from The Thematic Drawing-and-Story Procedure]

GOMES, G.F. Medos infantis na contemporaneidade: contribuições do Procedimento de Desenhos-Estórias com Tema [Children’s fears in contemporary times: contributions from The Thematic Drawing-and-Story Procedure]. 224 p. (Master’s Dissertation). Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia, Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (USP). 2022.

Available on: https://doi.org/10.11606/D.59.2022.tde-08072022-075905

Abstract: Fear is a fundamental emotion of human beings and changes during their development, affected in its nature and intensity not only by biological aspects, but also by the historical context, social and cultural backgrounds in which someone lives. The objective of the present academic work was to carry out an investigation about current childhood fears, including their attributed objects and nature, anxieties and defenses used against them, child’s perception of the external environment and their means to elaborate fear, in addition to observing whether there are variations in the types of fears reported according to sex, socioeconomic level and periods before and during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. The instrument used for data collection The Thematic Drawing-and-Story Procedure. The epistemological-methodological foundation was Psychoanalysis, and the underlying theory was mostly the Winnicottian perspective of emotional development. The survey sample comprised 40 children between 8 and 11 years old, 20 males and 20 females, 14 of them from public schools and 26 from private schools, with half of data collected on the period before the coronavirus pandemic and the other half during, respecting social distance via D-E (T) online test application. The digital platform used was WhatsApp. The results revealed that children presented a variety of fears, with a predilection for locating them in objects of external reality to the detriment of imaginary creations of children’s fantasy. This trend was observed especially on girls, private school students and during the pandemic. Even so, there was no restraint of fantasy and imagination, and both still remained as child’s powerful resources to handle fear. Most of distress reported by children was persecutory, but even so the defenses recruited were mainly neurotic, especially during the pandemic, demonstrating that anxiety somehow remained circumscribed, without claiming an Ego’s regression on a large scale. The perception of the environment was markedly negative, as it also contemplated the dreaded object. However, during the pandemic, this propensity was somewhat more balanced by attributing positive characteristics to the environment, revealing that children also respond with an increased confidence in their surroundings in a crisis situation. Although this tendency towards greater attention and attachment to external reality is part of the psychological processes that take place in the latency period (which corresponds globally to the age group of survey participants), it also seemed to be linked to the characteristics of contemporary society, whose flow of continuous changes also demands children unrelenting attention to outside world. The survey findings could help psychological interventions that do not seek to eliminate fear, since it is a protective factor for human beings, but integrate it into the child’s self as a driving force for healthy and meaningful emotional development.

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