Effects Of Cognitive Behaviour And Social Learning Therapies On Managing Adolescents Aggressiveness

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Effects Of Cognitive Behaviour And Social Learning Therapies On Managing Adolescents Aggressiveness


The work Effects of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies on managing adolescents aggressiveness in Secondary school is concerned with adolescence which is the third phase of human development. This is characterized by stress and storm. Unresolved identity crisis coupled with some factors such as parenting styles, socio-economic status, religion, and peer pressure lead to aggression. The study adopts an experimental research with 3 x 2 x 3 x 3 factorial design. The variables in the study include the independent variables, which consist of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies and control group. The intervening variables are gender, socio-economic status and parenting styles while the dependent variable is aggression. A sample size of 90 adolescents is purposively selected. Participants are randomly assigned into experimental and control groups. The three instruments relevant to this study are: Conduct disorder scale, Socio-Economic Scale and Parenting Styles Scale. Eight research hypotheses are raised and tested at 0.05 level of significance. The procedure for data collection include the pre and post tests administered to the participants. Participants are exposed to intervention sessions twice a week for the period of eight weeks. Data collected from the study are analyzed using both the descriptive and inferential statistical methods. The study reveals the parenting style, the prevalent parental socioeconomic status is the medium. A significant difference exists in the pre-test and posttest. The results from the tested hypotheses are: There is no significant difference in the prominence in aggression of the followings: prevalence of paternal and maternal parenting styles, cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies and cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies on the basis of gender and parental SES. Others include parenting styles, age, educational level, and length of stay at the correctional centres. There is a significant difference in the followings: degree of severity of aggression before and after treatment, treatment of aggression of participants in the two experimental groups when compared with the control group and cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies on the basis of religion. Recommendations are proffered in the study.

Chapter One


1.1 Background to the Study

Aggression is a serious behavioural and emotional disorder that can occur in adolescents. Adolescents with this disorder may display a pattern of disruptive and violent behaviour and have problems following rules (Hinshaw & Lee, 2003). It is not uncommon for adolescents to have behaviour-related problems at some time during their development. However, the aggression is considered to be a conduct disorder when it is long-lasting and when it violates the rights of others, when it goes against accepted norms of behaviour and disrupts the child’s or family’s everyday life (Hinshaw & Lee, 2003; Goldberg, 2012).

The word ―adolescence‖ comes from a Latin word ―adolescere‖ which means to grow or to grow to maturity (Oladele, 1994; Martins, Carlson & Buskist, 2007). Psychologists have given different definitions of adolescence. Some define it as the transitional period of life between childhood and adulthood; while at other times it is called the period of teenage which is marked by changes in the body, mind and social relationships. This means that the transition is as much social as it is biological. Adolescence is the time between the beginning of sexual maturation (puberty) and adulthood. It is a time of psychological maturation during which a person becomes “adult-like” in behaviour. According to Sacks (2003), adolescence begins with the onset of physiologically normal puberty and ends when an adult identity and behaviour are accepted. This period of development corresponds roughly to the period between the ages of 10 and 19, which is consistent with the World Health

Organization‘s definition of adolescence (WHO, 2013). Martins, Carlson & Buskist (2007) opine that adolescence starts from teen age and ends in the early twenties, while Gutgesell & Payne (2004) describe adolescence as a prolonged developmental stage that lasts approximately ten (10) years, nominally described as between the ages of eleven (11) and twenty-one (21). It is also noted that an adolescent progresses through stages of biological development as well as changes in psychological and social functioning. Developing proper emotions and controlling them is very essential during adolescence. Meeting social demands as well as eliminating the damaging effects of the emotions on attitudes, habits, behaviour and physical well-being, as well as control of emotions, is essential. Control does not mean repression but learning to approach a social situation with a rational attitude and repression of those emotions which are socially unacceptable.

When an individual reaches adolescence, he/she knows what type of behaviour is expected of him or her and which behaviours are unacceptable. Adolescents however misbehave from time to time for a variety of reasons. Perhaps, they feel that they need to assert their own independence or they wish to test the limits imposed on them. Sometimes, adolescents misbehave because they are experiencing internal distress, anger, frustration, disappointment, anxiety, or hopelessness. There are also those whose behaviour is consistently of concern to others. In such cases, the adolescents‘ behaviour is clearly outside the range of what is considered normal or acceptable. Perhaps, most alarming is that many of them show little remorse, guilt, or understanding of the damage and pain inflicted on people by their behaviour (Pruitt, 2000).

The future of any nation is largely determined by the well-being of adolescents. Dealing with adolescents has always been a challenge for both parents and helping professionals. Behavioural disorders typically develop in childhood and adolescence. While some behavioural issues may be normal, those who have behavioural disorders develop chronic patterns of aggression, defiance, open refusal to laws or regulations, disruption and hostility. Adolescents‘ behaviours can cause problems at home or school and can interfere with relationships. Adolescents with behavioural disorders may develop personality disorders, depression, or bipolar disorder as adults (Richard Harrington, 2008).

1.2 Statement of Problem

Adolescents with behavioural disorder not only affect themselves, their families and schools negatively but also the society at large. Increase in adolescents‘ behavioural disorder has led to a leap in chaos, disorderliness, destruction of lives and property, armed robbery, terrorist activities, kidnapping, oil bunkering, and many more evils. The Nigerian government established Remand Homes (now Secondary schools), Approved Schools and Juvenile Courts to address these behavioural disorders in adolescents but mere admission of the latter is not sufficient to reduce or eradicate the aggression. For adolescents with aggression to be helped, there is, therefore, the need to expose them to counselling interventions in order for them to become responsible individuals to themselves and their parents, good students at school and worthy ambassadors of the nation as a whole. Various behavioural modification techniques like cognitive restructuring, self management and token economy among others have been used to treat rebelliousness, disorderliness, depression, anxiety, gambling, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other disruptive behaviours (Lam, Cole, Sharpiro & Bambara, 1994; Kanter, Schildcrout, & Kohlenberg, 2005; Chronis, Gamble, Roberts & Pelham, 2006; Pull, 2007; Jime´nez- Murcia, lvarez-Moya, Granero, Aymami, Go´mez-Pen˜ a, & Jaurrieta, 2007; Aderanti & Hassan, 2011).

Nevertheless, this study sets out to examine the Effects of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies in the treatment of aggression (aggression, hostility, deceitfulness/theft and rule violation) among adolescents in two Secondary school.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

1.3.1 General Objective

The study mainly sought to examine the Effects of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies in the treatment of adolescent aggression.

1.3.2 Specific Objectives:

Specifically, the study sought to:

  1. Compare the significant difference between participants in experimental groups (cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies) and control group.
  2. Compare the significant difference between participants exposed to cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies.
  3. Investigate the impact of gender, parenting style and parental socio-economic status on conduct disorder in adolescents.

1.4 Research Questions

In the light of the above, the following research questions were raised:

  1. Is there any difference in the degree of severity of aggression before and after treatment among participants?
  2. Will cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies be effective as treatment methods of aggression in adolescents?
  3. Will gender, parental socio-economic status and parenting style affect the effectiveness of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies in the treatment of adolescent conduct disorder?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The research hypotheses stated in null form tested in this study were:

Hypothesis one:

There is no significant difference in the treatment of aggression of the participants exposed to cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies when compared with participants in the control groups.

Hypothesis two:

There is no significant difference in aggression of participants exposed to cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies.

1.6 Significance of the Study

The knowledge and research on aggression can serve as a useful tool to clinicians, teachers, and the community in that it will enable them to understand the origin and spread of aggression in order to provide preventions, interventions and treatment programmes. This study will benefit practising and upcoming counselling professionals (counsellors) in the following ways:

For best practices, counsellors through this study will be more enlightened on the most effective intervention for treating aggression. For instance, if behavioural rehearsal is the most effective, it will assist counsellors to use the intervention on any of their clients exhibiting aggression. Professional counsellors, psychologists, parents and people in other related fields will also be enlightened on the likely factors that can cause aggression in human beings especially in adolescents and proffer solutions to combat behavioural disorder for the nation at large to have glorious future leaders. The findings from this study are expected to enable counsellors to help adolescents to build their self esteem, teach them new skills and healthy ways to behave.

1.7 Scope of the Study

This study was limited to adolescents in two secondary schools in Lagos State (Secondary school for Boys situated at Oregun and Special Correctional Centre for Girls at Idi-Araba). The study covered male and female adolescents of different ages, educational levels and length of stay (duration) in the secondary schools.

1.8 Operational Definition of Terms

In this study, the following terms were operationally defined as follows:


These are individuals that have reached the puberty stage but are not yet adults. The terms “adolescents,” ―juvenile,‖ “youth,” “young adults” and “young people” are used interchangeably.

Behavioural Disorder:

This is an unruly or anti-social behaviour that does not align with the societal norm (examples are: aggression, oppositional defiant disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

Good Conduct:

Good behavioural pattern that conform to the societal norm.


These are individuals found in the Secondary schools. In order to avoid stigmatization, this term is no longer used for adolescents in Secondary schools.


This is a deliberate measure or act of influencing another person‘s affair positively to prevent undesirable consequences. Interventions in this study are Cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies.

Parenting Styles:

These are ways parent bring up or raise their children. It can also be referred to as child rearing style.

Socio-Economic Status:

This is the child‘s parent‘s financial and social status. It is simply measured by the child‘s parent‘s occupation, standard of living, income and social class.

Chapter Five

Conclusions and Recommendations

5.1 Conclusion

This study investigated the Effects of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies on managing adolescents aggressiveness in Secondary schools. It has been observed that social therapy is more effective than Cognitive behavioural therapy in the treatment of aggression. The adolescents are peculiar individuals, as they stand midway between childhood and adulthood; hence they are not liable when involved in aggression. It is therefore the responsibility of the parents, schools and government at all levels (local, state and federal) to play their expected roles to promote good conduct in adolescents. This is more so when we remember that they are the future of the society.

The study revealed that parenting styles of parents are not usually the same. It was also discovered that the three styles can influence aggression. Hence, parents should be vigilant and observant in their rearing methods and the results. Likewise, the study revealed that not only low socio-economic status of parents predict adolescent aggression, as participants from the medium and high socioeconomic status also exhibited aggression.

5.2 Recommendations

From the study, the following recommendations are proffered based on my findings:

  1. Counselling curriculum should be introduced, encouraged and promoted at the Secondary schools and other educational settings. This will go a long way in eradicating aggression in the adolescents that are admitted into the centres.
  2. Counsellors, psychologists, social workers at the Secondary schools and other helping professionals should endeavour to attend conferences, workshops and be acquainted with current and relevant literatures. More research should be intensified in order to proffer solution to the challenges that are faced by the adolescents.
  3. It is noted that indigenous psychological tests are not readily available. Counsellors and psychologists should make conscious efforts to develop indigenous psychological tests for easy and effective application in the locality. The conduct disorder scale that was used in this study is a foreign one.
  4. Since cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies are tested and found effective in the treatment of aggression in adolescents, it is recommended that the use of these two interventions be encouraged to combat aggression.
  5. Parents need counselling to enable them understands the challenges that are faced by the adolescents. This will equip them with appropriate and realistic solutions in attending to affected adolescent.
  6. Parents should monitor the activities of the adolescents. This would enable them to detect any indication of aggression early enough.
  7. As much as possible, parents should pay greater attention to their children‘s behaviours. The act of watching home videos for instance should be discouraged and films of movies watched by them should be censored. This would caution their comportment.
  8. Again, adolescents should not be left at the mercy of housemaids or relatives. More time should be spent with them at home and regular checks in their schools be effected unannounced. This is to monitor their conduct at school and compare with that which obtains at home.
  9. The Nigerian government should encourage counselling by employing more counsellors in all educational institutions but especially in Secondary schools and rehabilitation centres. This is to effectively serve the community.
  10. Government should sanction both parents and the adolescents that are caught in any act of aggression. This would serve as a warning to other parents to intensify good upbringing.
  11. It is essential that government provides test batteries and or psychological tests which are difficult to come by and also expensive. This is in order to enhance effective assessment of aggression in clients.
  12. The study revealed that participants from the low and medium parental SocioEconomic Status exhibited more aggression compared to participants from the high SES. There is the need for the government to assist the general public to alleviate poverty, reduce the cost of living and make the masses comfortable.
  13. Persons in the helping profession are to apply the two interventions (cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies) on adolescents‘ aggression cases. In this way, the efficacy of the therapies would be improved upon.
  14. Religious bodies (Christians and Muslims) should intensify teachings on good conduct. The study showed that there is significant effect of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies on aggression of participants based on religion. Churches and Mosques should initiate various programmes to educate parents, children and society at large – on the dangers of aggression. Furthermore, moral instructions should be offered by experts and or models, reordering of values which involve honesty, obedience, friendliness and contentment should be encouraged and rewarded by all.

Effects Of Cognitive Behaviour And Social Learning Therapies On Managing Adolescents Aggressiveness

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