Influence Of Child Abuse On The Social Adjustment Of Pupils In Primary Schools
The study examined the influence of child abuse on the social adjustment of children in primary schools in Mainland Local Government Area of Lagos State. In this study, some relevant and extensive literatures were review under relevant sub-headings. The descriptive research survey was used to assess the respondents; opinions using the questionnaire and the sampling technique. In this study, 120 (one hundred and twenty) respondents were selected and used as samples to represent the population of the study.
A total of four (4) null hypotheses were formulated and tested in this study. Also, the independent t-test statistical tool was used to test and analyses the null hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance.
At the end of the exercise, the following results were obtained:
- There is a significant difference between the family background of children who are abused and those who are not abused.
- There is a significant difference between the social adjustment of children abused and those not abused.
- There is a significant difference between the academic performance of children who are abused and those who are not.
- Finally, there is a significant difference between the abuse of children who come from high socio-economic home and those who come from low socio-economic homes.
1.1 Background to the Study
The level of orientation achieved by the adolescent in the society today, plays back to the kind of early care which the child received from parents, pre – school teachers and the society at large. This is because all the key ingredients of emotional intelligence such as confidence, curiosity, intentionally, self-control, relatedness, capacity to communicate and co-operateness that determines how a child learns and relates in school and in life general are developed.
Anderson (1999), stated that, childhood is the time we learn basic skills and establish the platform for our future. Therefore, the need forachievement orientation among adolescent in our society is paramount because it is what everorientation he or she get that affect the feeling about himself and his relationship with others. People with a high need for achievement sick out situation in which they can compete against some standard be it grades, money, or winning at a game and prove themselves successful while people with low achievement orientation tend to be motivated primarily by a desire to avoid failure as a result, they seek out easy tasks, being sure to avoid failure or seek out very difficult tasks for which failure has no negative implications, since almost anyone would fail at them.
However, the beginning of the adolescent perception of his environment is the accumulated experiences the adolescent gathers from the infant stage to the adolescent period. This is a period the adolescent begins to see things as relative rather than absolute.
Piaget (1966) as contained in Osarenren (2000), observed that it is a period known as formal operational stage (11-15 years) the key patterns of reasoning at this stages combinational, proportional, probabilistic and correlational during this period, the adolescent reason out everything key perceive in their own way.
Bond (1989) asserted that adolescent with a background of family tension may approach schooling as unhappy and insecure, those from a culture different from that of the teacher and different from that portrayed in the learning materials may experience unusual difficulty in learning.
Some adolescents come from a home environment which provides love, understanding, an opportunity to develop individuality and a feeling of security which others do not. Quarreling parents, broken homes, child neglect, child abuse, over protection, parental domination, anxiety, hostility and destructive rivalry among siblings are likely to produce nervous tension and feelings of insecurity and consequently lead to low achievement orientation.
When the behaviour of a low achiever is compared to that of an adolescent making normal progress, it becomes obvious that there are differences in personal and social adjustment. Adolescent who are failing to achieve well are more likely to show signs of emotional and social maladjustment than their successful peers. Most adolescent with low achievement manifest some sort of maladjustment ranging in degree of mild to severe.
In the classroom, adolescent with low achievement manifest symptoms of stress in one way or the other. Often, they appear shy or restless, some seems unable to concentrate. They lack self-confidence, they become discouraged easily and tend to give up when work becomes difficult. The inability to achieve satisfactory usually means severe frustration for the adolescent when his unsuccessful attempts to achieve high make him conspicuous in a society unfavorable way, the adolescent is hurt and ashamed. His continued lack of success with attendant frustration and feelings of insecurity bring on emotional maladjustment.
Sornson (2002), stated that, some of these adolescent easily become convinced that they are stupid. This feeling of inadequacy is enhanced by the attitude of their classmates, their parents and their teachers. Sometimes, failure leads adolescent to become timid, withdrawn and they frequently day dream. Others may compensate for their feelings of inferiority by developing various forms of anti social behaivour which leads to negative self talk.
Negative statements about self originated from poor conceptualization of idea and thoughts. An individual first think of something within him before he acts. This is because a thought of an idea is first generated or conceptualized before one verbalizes or acts it. This thought might be rational or irrational, positive or negative.
The achievement orientation of an adolescent plays back at his thought process which consequently makes that adolescent make either rational or irrational statement about self which are capable of influencing his behaviour.
Hensen (1997) observed that because man has been endowed with the ability to verbalize, thinking and emotion as presented by Elis takes the forms of self talk, and this self-talk directs the individuals behaviour in either rational or irrational direction.
It is imperative however, that the handicapped who has been tagged with various adjectives like unproductive, totally dependant, second class citizen, by the society tends to direct his behaviour towards irrational direction and hence negative self concept, wrong perception of self, poor actualization, poor judgmental value of the ideal self. He makes distorted statements about self and about others. He is biased about other people’s opinion about him. On the whole, he is socially maladjusted in the society.
Nelson (1997), asserts that teachers can become more effective classroom managers by increasing their rate of contingent positive statement for appropriate pupilsbehaviour and decreasing the rate of negative statements for in appropriate pupils behaviour.
The praise and ignore techniques has been repeatedly demonstrated to be an effective classroom management procedure by some behaviourist (Becker, Madsen abd Thomas, 1987, Madson and Thomas 1988 )
Nelson (1997), carried out two experiments with classroom teachers, using self-monitoring to alter negative classroom verbalization. In experiment 1, two teachers self-recorded positive and negative classroom verbalization during different phase of the study. In experiment 11, four teachers self-recorded positive or negative classroom verbalizations and received experimental instructions to increase positive statements or to decrease negative statement the result of their study showed that self-recording tend to increase positive statements but was less effective in decreasing negative statements.
Merchenbaum (1995), noted that negative self talks contribute to maladaptive behaviour in many situations. He went further to say that adolescents thinking style or what he says to himself has an important role in the definition of the present problem.
According to Meichanban, investigations who had treated phobias with different treatment procedures have all suggested that a common mediating mechanism underlying the therapy process is a change in the client’s self statements. Those who have attempted to reduce phobia behaviour by means of desensitization, modeling, flooding and altering cognitions about internal reaction have all commented on the change process, even when no direct effort is made to change these talks.
As Herter (1994), noted the therapy technique which is used to modify the internal dialogue and maladaptive behaviour in large part depends upon how one views the thinking style. Different conceptualizations leads to different therapeutic interventions.
Mecichenbaum (1995) also observed that some semantic or cognitive therapists view the negative self. Talks and poor achievement orientation of the faulty belief system and faulty thinking patterns. It was however concluded that modeling, behavioural and imagery rehearsal, operant and aversive conditioning and others could be used to modify the adolescent’s self talk and belief systems for positive achievement orientation
1.3 Statement of the Problem
It is quite unfortunate that achievement orientation is seriously jeopardizing the self-talk of the adolescents in primary schools. The adolescent self-talk could either be positive or negative, when the self talk is negative, it is because self-defeating for instance, ‘I’m going to fail for sure’.
Negative self-talk often causes adolescents to feel bad, and to experience upsetting emotions or anxiety which influences their academic work. It should be noted that what people say to themselves does affects their ability to combat and ward off achievement. To this end, an adolescent can tap into the power of his own self-talk by recognizing it for what it is, reducing harmful negativity and increasing the number of positive internal messages and it can be achieved when the right thought process is encouraged (Positive self statement), the self-talk of the adolescents will continue to be poor and invariably a succession of failure may discourage pupil to a point where frustration may block further efforts. This trend if unchecked, may increase drop out rate in the primary school level. Mass failure is equally frustrating to parent and the trend may hinder Nigeria’s scientific and technological advancement and general progress.
1.4 Objectives of the Study
In specific terms, the objectives of the study are to:
- Investigate the relationship between child abuse and social adjustments of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Find out the relationship between child abuse and academic performances of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Find out the difference between academic performances of physically abused and psychologically abused primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.5 Research Questions
This study seeks to answer the following questions:
- What are the relationships of child abuse on the social adjustments of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria?
- What are the relationships of child abuse on the academic performances of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria?
- What are the differences between the academic performances of the physically abused and psychologically abused primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria?
HO1: There is no significant relationship between child abuse and academic performance of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
HO2: There is no significant relationship between psychological abuse and social adjustment of primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.6 Basic Assumptions
For the purpose of this study, it is assumed that:
- Child abuse might have high or low relationship with social adjustment of primary school pupils.
- Child abuse might have high or low relationship with the academic performances of its victims.
- Psychological abuse might have high or low relationship with social adjustments of its victims.
- Psychological abuse might have high or low relationship on the academic performances of its victims.
- Significant difference might exist between the social adjustments of physically abused and psychologically abused primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
- Significant difference might exist between the academic performance of physically abused and psychologically abused primary school pupils in Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.7 Significance of the Study
This research is significant in the sense that it will help a great deal in providing additional information on the prevailing problem of physical and psychological forms of child abuse in our society. Over the years, there have been different researches with varying degrees of success on different aspects of child abuse such as drug abuse, moral abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, but the aspects of physical and psychological forms of abuse have not been seriously explored or investigated at the primary school sub-sector. The study will also provide useful information and serve as a guide for the scope and nature of child abuse, the immediate and long-term consequences and aftermaths of this scourge on individuals, families and the society at large.
Furthermore, it will provide effective and sustainable policies for child protection programmes. As a result, the study is significant to the following people. It will assist classroom teachers in identifying physically and psychologically abused pupils in their classrooms. Moreover, this identification is the prerequisite for the teacher in his or her attempt to help the victims overcome their appalling conditions. It will also serve as a guide for teachers and school authorities design and implement special classes in their bid to help the affected pupils before referring them to the appropriate agencies or specialists for adequate, further or complementary help or measures. It will help abused pupils get solutions to their problems. It will also direct them to the people from whom they should seek help instead of suffering in silence.It will be of great significance to school counselors in knowing more about the various forms that physical and psychological abuses take. This will help them render counseling services effectively and efficiently to their pupils that are in dear need of help.
This study is relevant to psychologists in the sense that it will enable them learn more about physical and psychological forms of abuse children experience. As such, the research will help them in solving cases of abuse in good time, in the midst of pupils, thus contributing to the promotion of effective learning. It will help educationists identify the various forms of abuse pupils are subjected to and insert proper ideas on how to treat the affected pupils within the school and class rooms so that they can perform better, into the curriculum. The study will also serve as a source of information and guide for educational policy makers and administrators. For example, the Ministry of Education can set up and implement special educational programmes and services for the physically and psychologically abused children similar to those of the disabled children. It is hoped that this research will enlighten the NGOS as to the physical and psychological forms of abuse children suffer and how these affect the learning process of the children. By being significant to the above-mentioned people, this work will surely help in curbing if not eradicating child abuse in order to make the society a better place for children.
1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study
The scope was limited to public primary schools in Mainland L.G.A. in Lagos State. The study was also delimited to physical and psychological abuse of children in Lagos State, the research hinged on the premise that these forms of abuse have various abysmal short or long-term consequences on the lives of the children. Most cases of abuse are not reported and from the prevailing circumstances, it is believed that pupils in public schools are likely to suffer from the scourge. Finally, the study was delimited to six (6) public primary schools.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
This study was structured into five chapters in order to effectively carry out this research work. Chapter one presented the background and purpose and objectives of the study, the statement of the problem, six research questions, six hypotheses, basic assumptions as well as the scope and limitations of the study. The study is significant as it will provide Lagos state government and NGOs with adequate information on experts‟ views on how to curb the menace of physical and psychological forms of abuse among primary school pupils and provide quality service delivery to the physically and psychologically abused pupils for better academic performance and social adjustment. Chapter Two presented literatures related to this study under the conceptual framework, theories of child abuse, physical and psychological abuses as they affect academic performance and social adjustment of pupils.
In Chapter Three, the research methodology adopted was discussed. The target population for this research consisted of 21,469 Primary Five pupils of public schools in Lagos State. Six schools were selected and 377 abused respondents were used. Three (3) instruments, namely child abuse questionnaire, psychological abuse questionnaire and social adjustment questionnaire were used for the study. Pupils‟ examination results in English, Mathematics, Social Studies and Computer Science were derived from their third term examination results. Content and face validity of the instruments were assessed by lecturers in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling in Unilag, and corrections were made. The researcher proceeded to conduct a pilot study to test the reliability of the instrument using Cronbach alpha coefficient statistical technique. Procedures for data collection were administered and the data collected were analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences (SPSS version19) in which Pearson Moment Correlation (PPMR) was used to analyse hypotheses One(1) to Four (4) and T- test was used to analyse hypotheses Five (5) and six (6). The number of pupils who had experienced different types of abuse was expressed in percentages andthe P value enabled the researcher to reject or retain the formulated hypotheses. The interpretation of the significant value calculated by SPSS was done by comparing the value with alpha level (0.05) at which each of the hypothesis was tested.
The analysis, presentation and discussion of the result were carried out in chapter four. The SPSS version 20 statistical package was used to carry out the entire data analysis. It was discovered that child abuse had significant negative association with social adjustments and academic performance of primary school pupils in Lagos State.It was revealed that psychological abuse had significant negative relationship with social adjustment and academic performance of primary school pupils in Lagos State. The result also showed that psychologically abused pupils had lower social adjustment and poor academic performance than their physically abused counterparts. Finally, Chapter five presented the summary, conclusion and recommendations of the entire study.
5.2 Contributions to Knowledge the Study Established that:
- Significant relationship existed between child abused and academic performance of abused pupils (P = 0.001),
- Significant relationship existed between psychological abused and social adjustment of abused pupils (P = 0.001),
Based on the above findings, the researcher concluded that physical and psychological forms of abuse have negative association with low social adjustment and poor academic performance among pupils,especially those attending public primary schools. In addition, the psychologically abused pupils are discovered to have lower social adjustment and poorer academic performance than their physically abused counterparts.
Based on the outcome of the study, the researcher recommended that:
- Psychologists, counselors, teachers and parents should be sensitized through workshops on how to prevent low social adjustment among physically abused pupils and to develop maladaptive coping strategies and techniques to remedy the menace that showed as child abused increases, the social adjustment of pupils decreases.
- Psychologists, counselors, teachers and parents should give proper educational support and counselling supervision to physically abused pupils. They should be made to understand that as child abuse increases pupils academic performance decreases and vice versa. This can be achieved by increase in funding of educational inspectorate departments.
- Psychologists, counselors and teachers should be given special allowance to provide psychological support services and conducive learning environment to psychologically abused pupils. They should be made to understand that increase in psychological abuse leads to decrease in the social adjustment of pupils.
- Psychologists, counselors, teachers and parents should provide academic and social skills enhancement training in schools for psychologically abused pupils. They should understand that when psychological abuse increases, the academic performance of pupils decreases.
- Significant difference existed between social adjustment of physically abused and psychologically abused pupils with mean difference of 1.98. The physically abused have better social adjustment.
- Significant difference existed between academic performance of physically abused and psychologically abused pupils with mean difference of 0.60. The physically abused performed better.
Influence Of Child Abuse On The Social Adjustment Of Pupils In Primary Schools
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