Impact of Psycho-Social Factors on School Adjustments among Secondary Schools Students



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1.1   Background to the Study     

Students’ willingness to participate and adjust in school programme might be influenced by school environment and students experiences inside and outside school. Adjustment has been defined in various ways by psychologists to mean a process of maintaining harmonious relationships between a living organism and its environment (Raju & Rahamtulla, 2007). Weiten &Lloyd (2003) defined adjustment as the psychological processes through which people manage or cope with the demands and challenges of everyday life. Kulshrestha in Ugodulunwa and Anakwe (2012) described adjustment process as a way in which the individual attempts to deal with stress, tension, conflicts and meet his or her needs while making efforts at the same time to maintain harmonious relationships with the environment. This implies that the individual and the environment are two important factors in adjustment (Ugodulunwa & Anakwe, 2012).

School adjustment is the degree of school acculturation required or adaptations necessitated for maximizing the educational fit between students’ unique characteristics and the distinct nature and requirement of learning environments. Agbakwuru & Agbakwuru (2012) defined school adjustment as the process of bringing an individual’s behaviours in conformity with the norms of the school setting. It is a continuous process that is geared towards the adaptation of the individual to school life and culture. Gates and Jersild in Mangal (2008) see school adjustment as a continual process in which the students vary their behaviour to produce a more harmonious relationship with the school environment. School adjustment can be viewed as comprising academic, social and emotional adjustment. It can be taken to mean the process the students adopt in maintaining a balance between their academic, social and emotional needs and the school environment. Indeed a students’ school adjustment depends on the match between his or her competences and needs and the demands of the school environment.

Richard in Adeyemo (2005) defined students’ adjustment as the ability to cope, to manage their emotions and anatomy to behave in socially appropriate and responsible way to meet up school challenges and responsibilities. This means that adjustment involves coping ability of physiological and emotional components to meet up the social demands of the environment. Adjustment potentials enable students deal better with pressures of peers, school life, academic challenges and temptation of alcohol, drugs and sex. Students variables that are involved in school adjustment are numerous and include the individuals competencies e.g social behavioural, emotional, cultural and academic competences. Peer acceptance, motivation, school interest and so on contribute to their adjustment. Social and emotional competencies emerged as predictors of successful school adjustment. Desocialization is the changing or discarding of selected values, beliefs and traits one brings to school in response to the school experience.

Socialization is the process of being exposed to and taking on some of the new values, attitudes, beliefs and perspectives to which one is exposed at school. Various factors have been suggested as sources of influence on students adjustment to school. How one sees himself or herself aids to adjustment in any environment. A belief about who you are – that is selfconcept.

Weiten and Llyod (2003) defined self-concept as a collection of beliefs about one’s own nature, unique qualities and typical behaviour. Nwankwo (2010) sees self-concept as the understanding you have about yourself or what you believed about yourself. Emotional intelligence is one of the psychological factors that can predict students adjustment to school. Colman (2005) defined emotional intelligence as ability to monitor one’s own and other people’s emotion, to discriminate between different emotions and label them appropriately, and to use emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. He further defined it as the ability to regulate one’s own emotion to promote growth and well-being.

Ramalingam (2006) sees emotional intelligence as the awareness of an ability to manage one’s emotions in a healthy and productive manner. Emotional intelligence is the ability to monitor, access, express and regulate one’s own emotions, the capacity to identify, interpret, and understand other’s emotions and the ability to use this information to guide one’s thinking and actions (Weiten & Lloyd 2003).

Recent studies with younger children consistently find that friendship status and general peer acceptance each seem to influence many adjustment outcomes. Children seem to be better adjusted overall when they are accepted by peers and have one or more close, supportive friendship (Ladd & Burgess, 2001).

Akinade (2008) defined peer group as close group of people who like themselves and share among themselves trust, affection, interests, acceptance, attitude and have similar personality. Peer groups are therefore informal primary groups of people who share similar and equal status and who are usually of roughly the same age and interest within the social aggregate. Based on this background the researchers deemed it necessary to investigate the extent some psychosocial factors can predict secondary school students adjustment to school.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

Although, scholars have identified the correlation between psycho-social factors and maladjustment among children, it must be noted that secondary school students are different from the typical elementary-aged children and therefore reacts differently to direct parent involvement in their lives (Criss, Pettit, Bates, Dodge & Lapp 2002).

A combination of previous academic achievement and psycho-social factors (PSFs) can predict students’ later achievement via the influence it has created in the mind, but interactions between academic achievement and PSFs are not yet fully understood. Although the incremental contributions of PSFs in the prediction of achievement at the middle school level have been addressed in previous research, there are still many questions that need to be investigated. Specifically, it is unclear how student psychosocial factors interact with prior academic achievement and sex when predicting subsequent academic achievement. For example, it is unknown whether PSFs have different effects for students who differ in academic achievement or sex.

The problem of inferiority complex among adolescents is becoming alarming. Often times, we see adolescents doing things against their wish because most of their friends or peers supported that. This attitude makes them to blame society for their failure (external locus of control). Because the action was not their desire, there is every tendency that they will bear the blame. This pattern of life affects their development.

Due to this worry, the present study deems it necessary to know whether most of the adolescents who lack confidence in themselves will attribute their failures to society or themselves.

1.3       Research Objectives

The purpose of the study was to investigate impact of psycho-social factors on school adjustments among secondary schools students. Hence, the general aim is expressed in the following specific objectives which are to:

  1. Examine the extent to which self-concept predict students’ adjustment to secondary school activities;
  2. Find out whether emotional intelligence predict students’ adjustment to school activities;
  3. Investigate the effects of peer group influence on adjustment among adolescents in secondary school;
  4. Examine the whether family background have significant effect on adjustment among students in secondary school.

 1.4      Research Questions

Based on the purpose of the study, the following research questions were asked.

  1. To what extent does self-concept predict students’ adjustment to secondary school activities?
  2. To what extent does emotional intelligence predict students’ adjustment to school?
  3. To what extent does peer group predict students’ adjustment to school?
  4. Examine the whether family background have significant effect on adjustment among students in secondary school.

 1.5      Research Hypotheses

To guide the conduct of the study, the following null hypotheses were stated:

Ho1:     Self-concept does not significantly predict students’ adjustment to school.

 Ho2:     Emotional intelligence does not significantly predict students’ adjustment to school.

Ho3:     Peer group does not significantly predict students’ adjustment to school.

 Ho4:     Family background does not significantly predict students’ adjustment to school.

1.6 Scope and Limitations of the Study

This study examines impact of psycho-social factors on school adjustments among secondary schools students. The study will be confined to five selected secondary schools in Alimosho Local Government Area, Lagos.

The study will be limited to the psychosocial variables of emotional intelligence, family background, parents’ socio-economic status, peer influence and self concept on maladjustments among adolescents in secondary schools using some selected schools in Abuja as case study.

Apart from the shortage of fund and time frame, the following limits are expected to be encounter in the study:

It is recognized that not every parent will fit neatly into a particular parenting style.  These parent-child pairs will be discarded from the sample.

Some students will rate their parents as fair when in actuality they are not, therefore there will be some bias in the parents nominations.

It is recognized that many adolescents may not give factual information as regards their maladjustments

The accuracy of the data was limited by the skills of the researcher and validity of the tests administered.

1.7      Significance of the Study

This study will be useful to many people who may want to know the factors that could make or mar students’ during adolescence. Therefore, the study is significant in the following regards:

The Ministry of Education may use the study to understand the impact of psycho-social factors on school adjustments among secondary schools students and as result focus more attention on the management of students social affairs.

It will enable both public and private high schools to be able to plan systematically for psycho-social factors affecting secondary schools students. Other stakeholders of education (parents, students, lecturers, support staff, donors, will use the study as a checkpoint to act as a safeguard against any future happenings of the same nature.

It has provided empirical evidence to schools, parents, and students about the nature of development adolescents may encounter and how it affects their behavior. It offers a reference for future research that might investigate the same variables.

1.8      Definition of Terms

Psycho-Social: Psychosocial means one’s psychological development in, and interaction with a social environment.

Emotional Intelligence: This is the capacity to be aware of, control, and express one’s emotions, and to handle interpersonal relationships judiciously and empathetically.

Self-concept: It is an idea of the self constructed from the beliefs one holds about oneself and the responses of others.

Peer Group: This is a group of people of approximately the same age, status, and interests.

Locus of Control: Locus of control refers to the extent to which individuals believe they can control events affecting them.

Family Background: Family background comprises of beliefs, tradition, socio-cultural and social economic status of a particular family.

School: A school is an institution designed for the teaching of students (or “pupils”) under the direction of teachers.

Student Performance: This shows the result of students’ assessment, test and examination.

Education: Education in its general sense is a form of learning in which knowledge, skills, and habits of a group of people are transferred from one generation to the next through teaching, training or through research.

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