Study On Overcrowding As Predictor Of Poor Health Among Hostel Students In Taraba State University
This study examined overcrowding as a predictor of poor Health among Hostel Students in Taraba State University. It also explored the influence of age and gender on the perceived effects of overcrowding. The sample consists of 453 (248 males and 205 females) young adults drawn from seven halls of residence within the campus. The selected participants completed a questionnaire that assessed both the physical and psychological health status. The results showed that experience of overcrowding, loss of privacy, number officially allocated to the room and the total number of room occupants had significant joint effects on the physical and psychological health status of hostel occupants. It was also revealed that that the type of room had influence and contributed to the level of exposure to disease causing agents. Results also showed a significant influence of gender and age on perception of crowding effect.
Table of Content
- Title Page
- Table of Content
- 1.1 Background of the Study
- 1.2 Statement of the Problem
- 1.3 Research Objectives
- 1.4 Research Questions
- 1.5 Hypotheses
- 1.6 Significance of the Study
- 1.7 Definition of Terms
- 1.8 Organization of Study
2.0 Literature Review
- 2.1 Conceptual Review
- 2.2 Rationale for Student Hostel Accommodations
- 2.3 Problems Associated with Students’ Hostel Accommodation
- 2.4 Strategies for Alleviating of Student Accommodation Problems
- 2.5 Housing and Health: A Long-Standing Relationship
- 2.6 Theoretical Framework
- 2.6.1 System Theory
- 2.6.2 Contingency Theory
- 2.6.3 Human Relations Theory
- 3.1 Research Design
- 3.2 Study Area
- 3.3 Sample and Sampling Procedures
- 3.4 Instrument
4.0 Results and Discussion
- 4.1 Results
- 4.2 Discussion
5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation
- 5.1 Conclusion
- 5.2 Recommendation
1.1 Background of the Study
Crowding as a concept in environmental psychology is one of the three sub areas that comprise the literature on human spatial behaviour; the other two are interpersonal distancing and small-group ecology. Crowding is viewed as a situation in which individuals are confronted with environmental circumstances beyond their control. Stokols (1976) differentiate crowding from density, though the two concepts look similar. He opined that density is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for individuals to experience the feeling of being crowded. Levy and Herzog (1974) also attempted a distinction between crowding and density. The former is basically measured as either the ratio of persons to rooms or as the living area per person. The latter is measured as the number of persons residing within a standard area unit (square mile, square kilometers, acre, and hectare).
Over the past three decades, the issue of crowding had received a substantial attention of social scientists. In general, much has been done in the area of its possible effects on human living. Researchers like Stokols, Walter and Resnick (1978); Baron, Mandel, Adam and Griffen (1976), Saegert (1978) have examined the impact of overcrowding and task performance of students. Rodin (1976) worked on household crowding and task performance among children. On stress and related variables, the contributions of Marsella, et al (1971) and Cohen (1977) were noteworthy. Crowding effects on interpersonal relations have been looked into by Freedman, Levy, Bucham and price (1972) while Hutt and Vaizey (1966) had documented report of group crowding on social behaviour of children.
On sex difference, Freedman, et al, (1972) using a laboratory setting found that male subjects response unfavourably to increasing density while female response is favourable. Although there is substantive literature on effects of crowding on human health, most of the research findings show mixed results. Booth and Cowel (1976) study revealed that crowded household have very little or no effect on people‟s health. Stokols et al. (1978) study on perception of residential crowding, classroom experiences and students health indicates that residential crowding experiences promote medical problems and poor academic performance. They were of the opinion that although crowding has effects on health, it does not provide a basis for inferring causal connections between residential crowding and human health. Before then, Stokols et al, (1976) study among university students shows a strong relationship between the subjects perceived crowding and health.
Mitchell (1971) concluded from his Hong Kong study that while overcrowding produces superficial signs of psychological stress (complaining, unhappiness, worry) and certain problems relating to control of children, it does not cause deeper and more basic levels of emotional strain and hostility. Kalin and Perlin (1967) found that strains and irritations caused by overcrowding do precipitate a certain amount of minor mental illness, mainly psychoneurotic symptoms including a large component of somatisation but not related to the severe mental disorders which result in hospitalization. Gove, Hughes and Galle (1979) found that experience of crowding were associated with poor physical health by being strongly associated with getting insufficient sleep, catching infectious disease, having to do chores being unable to get a good rest and not being care for by others when sick.
In contrasts to these positive findings, Gale et al. (1972); Schoor (1966) opined that if crowding is related to physical health, it is because persons in crowded households are physically run down, more susceptible to infectious disease and when sick, are involved in a flow of activities, and consequently cannot get a good rest and are not cared for. Moge Schmitt (1966) from his epidemiological study of the city of Honolulu also tends to dismiss crowding as a significant correlate of measures of health and social disorganization. In the same direction, Edwards, Tuedore and Saruda (1994) study on the effects of both subjective and objective crowding on human living findings shows a possible factors contributing to deficiencies in psychological well-being, family relations, sexual relations and reproductive behaviour but no effects on health status, thus confirming the inconsistency of research findings to establish a concrete position on the effect of crowding on human health.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
The rate at which the world population is increasing with little or no associated rise in the resources needed to meet this upward trend call for examination of some of the consequences that such population explosion may have on human living. Despite the level of world civilization, it is not uncommon to find people living a dormitory life in a single room. This is in contrast with WHO conventional standard of one person per room (Marsella et al, 1971). As the number of students seeking admission into Nigerian universities increases, yearly the provisional structures put in place for conducive learning of which good housing is one tends to be in shortage of expected demand. As a result of inadequate funding which makes it impossible to provide adequate facilities to meet this demand, the available ones are being rationed among teeming population of students, thus giving rise to overcrowding and stretching of the facilities.
In most of Nigerian universities, it is not uncommon to see students sitting on bare floor to listen to lectures, placing their notebook on their laps, and more devastating is the overcrowded situations being witnessed in their halls of residence. The university halls of residence that was initially designed to accommodate two students per room are now being officially allocated to nine students in some halls and six students in majority of the halls, with another possibility of occupants of such rooms accommodating as much as six squatters in the same single room, thereby raising the number of occupants to twelve or even fifteen in some rooms. In such arrangement, the room is overcrowded and congested, such that breathing air that ought to be free and accessible are now being competed for; personal space and privacy becomes a luxury and the risk of contracting infectious disease is increased. Basic sanitary facilities become a problem. About 120 to 150 students per floor of at least ten rooms competes for the use of four urinal bowls, bath showers and water closet system that ought to be for twenty students. One then needs to ask „Are there not possible effects of these experiences emanating from overcrowding on the students” health as well as their social and psychological functioning. It is the focus of this study to examine some of the possible consequences.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study was to assess overcrowding as predictor of poor Health among Hostel Students in Taraba State University.
The specific objectives of this study are to:
- To find out to possible health consequences associated with residential crowding as experienced and reported by University students residing in Halls of residence
- To explore and examine the negative effects the crowding experiences may have on the psychological and mental functioning of the students living in such crowded environment.
- To examine differences between single room occupants and multiple room occupants on the reported crowd induced physical and psychological health consequences.
- To seek for possible influence of age and gender in the reported health and psychological consequences of overcrowding.
1.4 Research Questions
- What are the possible health consequences associated with residential crowding as experienced and reported by University students residing in Halls of residence?
- What are the negative effects the crowding experiences may have on the psychological and mental functioning of the students living in such crowded environment?
- What is the difference between single room occupants and multiple room occupants on the reported crowd induced physical and psychological health consequences?
- What is the possible influence of age and gender in the reported health and psychological consequences of overcrowding?
The following null hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance:
- HO1: Experience of overcrowding is not a significant predictor of poor health among hostel students.
- HO2: Experience of overcrowding will not have significant effect on psychological health of hostel occupants.
- HO3: Type of room will not have significant influence on the physical and psychological health of hostel occupants.
- HO4: Gender will have no significant influence on the experience of overcrowding, privacy and health status.
- HO5: Age will have no significant influence on the experience of overcrowding privacy and health status
1.6 Significance of the Study
Considering the major role that health play in human functioning and the great importance attached to it, it becomes highly imperative to point attention to various possible factors that may hamper the course of healthy society being agitated for all over the world. With the current attention of medical and paramedical fields towards health promotion and maintenance, and efforts being geared towards prevention more than cure, this study contribute to this effort by exploring and exposing variables associated with residential crowding that may short-cut this goal. Moreover, a review of post 1960‟s and 1970‟s literature on human spatial behavior revealed that the incidence of crowding and population density cut across major develop and developing countries of the world and research focusing on its impact on human living have gulped a lot of human and financial resources, yet, the issue remains unclear especially one that concerns the effects of crowding on human health. Although most literature on crowding give insight into nature and its impact on human task performance, academic deficiencies, interpersonal relations and social pathologies, research studies on its effect on human health are with mixed results and inconsistence thus, making it inconclusive and reliable. This study examined this issue of crowding and health in a culture and setting different from previous studies so that further contributions can be made on the issue and progress can be made in the area
1.7 Definition of Terms
The presence of more people or things in a space than is comfortable, safe, or permissible.
A person’s mental or physical condition.
A thing that forecasts that something will be a consequence of something, in this case poor health of students will be a consequence of overcrowding.
1.8 Organization of Study
The study comprises of 5 chapters. In chapter one, the concepts are introduced and the problem of the study is established with the research objectives and questions. Chapter two presents the literature review while chapter three presents the research methodology. The fourth chapter presents the results and discussion, and the last chapter presents the conclusion and recommendation.
5.0 Conclusion and Recommendation
From the findings from this study, it can be concluded that overcrowding has significant negative effects on both the physical and psychological health of hostel occupants. The type of room and being female also impact significantly on the students’ health.
From the findings of the study, the following recommendations are made:
- School authority in collaboration with the government should endeavour to build more hostels for students in order to avoid the problem of inadequate of hostel buildings and overcrowding. Also, hostels should be located close to the lecture rooms for easy accessibility by students.
- School management and the government should endeavour to repair dilapidated hostel buildings, toilet facilities, and also ensure the constant supply of water and electricity as well as other necessary facilities, so as to enable the students settle down and undertake their studies.
- Students also have the responsibility of keeping the hostels clean. They would achieve this by cleaning their rooms, toilets and bathrooms, sweeping their corridors and also dumping refuse where appropriate.
- Factors responsible for students’ hostels accommodation problems such as increase in students’ enrolment should be tackled by the school authority, so as to avoid over population of the hostel buildings.
- The management strategies suggested for the amelioration of students’ hostel accommodation problems, such as government and individuals being allowed to build and manage hostels for students, provision of funds by the government for building of more hostels, admission of students based on available bed spaces and good maintenance culture among all those concerned with the management of the hostels should be implemented, in order to provide good hostel environment for students.
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