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EFFECTS OF THOUGHT-STOPPING AND SELF-MONITORING TECHNIQUES ON THE ADJUSTMENT OF RESTIVE IN-SCHOOL ADOLESCENTS

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Topic Description

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background of the Study

As children grow and develop, profound physical changes occur. These changes usher them into adolescence. Adolescence is the developmental period of transition between childhood and adulthood which involves biological, cognitive, and socio-emotional changes (Grabber, Brooks-Gunn & Peterson, 1996). Adolescence is a difficult period. This is in-line with what Abraham, (2005) called a challenging time in which physical, mental and social developments occur quickly. In other words, one can say that adolescence is a period when fast and tremendous changes in physical, mental and social developments occur. It is a time of transition and includes important biological, social, emotional and cognitive changes that take place quite rapidly over a relatively short period of time (Smith, 1998).

     Traditionally, adolescence has been viewed as a critical period in development. Popular discussion, plays, films, drama and books portray adolescence as a period of storm and stress especially in a more technologically advanced society (Abramowitz, 1991). Generally speaking, the adolescents in Nigeria are classified as youths. This is in line with Ibeh, (1990) who pointed out that the youths in Nigeria are more of adolescents who are in the Secondary Schools, Polytechnics, Colleges of Education and Universities. Many scholars among whom are Uba, (1987) agree that adolescence is a transition period between childhood and adulthood. It is a period in the life span of an individual when physiological and psychological processes are in transition between puberty and maturity.

Behavioural scientists like Erikson (1968) also tend to agree that adolescence is a period of storm and stress. The Physiological changes that take place at puberty and the necessity to pass through development tasks imposed on adolescents by society, like press for independence, vocational preparation, development of basic philosophy of life and for sexual adjustment are some of the problems which the adolescents face (Nwachukwu, 2002). It is also presumed to be rather a critical period in psychological development, forcing basic reorganizations in personality. Anifowose, (2004) asserted that adolescents experience a rapidly widening life space along geographic, social and future time dimensions, and are caught in an ambiguous overlap between the roles of the child and the adult. In a dynamic and heterogeneous culture, the broadening of the life space introduces the youngster to many ambiguous or out-and-out conflict situations, which he is ill-equipped to handle. In other words, adolescents have psychological problems like acting-out behaviours such as aggression, anger, arguing too loud and impudence, fighting, truancy, depression, moodiness, disruptiveness, distractibility gangsterism and even cultism. With these problems, they are unable to handle the situations and even come out of them. In the context of this present study therefore, adolescence means a period in every student’s life when all seems to be confuses, when nothing is well in the eyes of the perceiving student, when he/she is in no man’s hand.

In-school adolescents are those students who are in between childhood and adulthood stage of life usually around the ages of 12 and 18 years and are within the school setting. Speculations are rife that in-school adolescents with these psychological problems may not concentrate on their learning which may influence them to be involved in in-school restiveness. Uncertainty of role, similarly creates ambiguities for the adolescent who, for example, is at one time expected to behave as an adult and at another is treated as a child.

In recent times, Nigeria and Rivers State in particular battles with challenges such as HIV/AIDS, drug abuse among adolescents. Also among the challenges are robbery, assassinations, inflation precipitated by global economic depression, decay in critical sectors of socio-economic life, corruption, poverty, unemployment and reduced life expectancy (Oyadeyi, 2012). In the face of these challenges, another dimension, adolescence restiveness evolved in different parts of the country. This had led to breakdown of law and order, contempt for authority, killing of innocent citizens and wanton destruction of property. Nigeria and Rivers state, specifically have witnessed adolescence restiveness in different forms and dimensions depending on the initiators or perpetrators and their reasons. Such crises like adolescence restiveness as a result of drug abuse among others are often accompanied by death of many innocent citizens and wanton destruction of properties.

The Advanced Learners Dictionary defines “restiveness as unwillingness to be controlled”. To be restive is to be unable to stay still or unwilling to be controlled especially because one is bored or not satisfied with certain decisions, changes and, or existing laws considered to be unfavourable (Oyadeyi, 2012). Restiveness therefore in the context of this study refers to in-school adolescents inability skill, or unwilling to be controlled due to boredom with certain decisions, changes or existing laws in-schools considered to be unfavourable.

Restiveness is a great challenge to peaceful co-existences in Rivers state and the entire country. The mode of operation of these anomic adolescence groups include creating confusion, arson, rioting, killing, kidnapping, hostage taking, destruction of valuable properties including public utilities, extortion of money from innocent citizens, looting and even robbery (Oyadeyi, 2012). It has been observed that membership of restive groups include students, drop-outs, graduates and the unemployed.

Adolescent of every society are looked up to as leaders of the next generation, and as such, a great resource for national development. African traditions according to Oyadeyi (2012) teach conformity to societal norms and standard. Thus, character training is at the centre of the society’s educational values, teaching and lifestyle. Yet, Nigerian adolescents have for some years developed into what could be regarded as social loafing, non-conformity behaviour, illusions of self and group vulnerability (Enueme and Onyere, 2010).

Adolescence restiveness can be described as a combination of actions, conducts or acts that constitute unwholesome, socially unacceptable behaviours exhibited by the adolescents in any community (Oyadeyi, 2012). It is a phenomenon which in practice has led to break down of law and order, low production activities, apparent increase in crime rate, intra ethnic hostilities, harassment of prospective investors as well as other sundry criminal expressions. Elegbeleye (2005) also defined adolescence restiveness as a sustained protestation embarked upon to enforce desired outcome from a constituted authority by an organized body of adolescents. It is marked by violence and disruption of lawful activities. It is an abberative excess behaviour attribute that is always marked by violence and disruption of lawful activities.

However, the scourge of adolescence restiveness has been around for a long time and it looks as though it is defying solutions. In Nigeria for instance, Rivers State specifically which is one of the bedrock of the oil industry permeated the news for a lengthy period of time as the adolescences of this state tried various means of getting government and oil companies to pay attention to their dire conditions of living and alleviate their sufferings since according them the resources which is building the nation is flowing from their land so by virtue that, they should also be partakers of its benefits (Bleeker, 2010). This stifle led to a rise in kidnapping and vadalization of oil pipe lines as well as other vices that were being perpetrated (Elegbeleye, 2005). After a period of years according to the author, the Nigeria government intervened and the amnesty programme was created to help deliver some of the promises which government had made to the adolescence in Rivers State.

Adolescence restiveness in secondary schools of Rivers State is presumed to be as a result of catalogue of closely related factors including poverty, corruption, unemployment but more especially as a result of lack of vocational skills (Bleeker, 2010). A number of studies have identified factors responsible for adolescent restiveness. Elegbeleye (2005) identified three major factors; the peer motivated excitement of being students, the jingoistic pursuit of patriotic ideas, and perceived victimization arising from economic exploitation. Furthermore, Ofem and Ajayi (2008) identified lack of humanitarian and social welfare, lack of good governance, corrupt practices of government officials, unemployment, lack of education among others as the reasons for constant adolescent restiveness.

Similarly, it may be hypothesized that significant difference may or may not exist between male and female in-school adolescents on their perception of the causes of restiveness because males in-school adolescents by virtue of their physique are found in acts leading to restiveness unlike females (Tambawal and Saidu, 2012). Gender highlights the fact of being male or female (Hornby, 2001). Gender as on operational definition in this research study is a set of characteristics distinguishing between male and female in-school adolescents. It is against this point that the present study seeks to ascertain the gender influence on treatment outcome.

It has also been confirmed by Chika and Onyene(2010)  that adolescence restiveness is more prevalent in the cities than in the rural locations. Chika asserts that economic realities and the quest for survival in urban location often force adolescent into restive behaviour. The adolescent are forced into labour market not minding the dangers involved. It is for this point that the study also would want to investigate the influence of location on treatment outcome. Also concept of adjustment would help understand this study the more.

Adjustment is an inevitable process in the life of every individual. Adjustment to Obiweluozo and Ibiam (2008) refers to various activities of an individual which involves effects to cope with his life, vocational, social and economic contingencies. Adjustment to them is a process an individual adopt to change his behaviour in order to cope with a new situation. Morris and Onyilofor (2004), see adjustment in terms of the ability of the individual to cope effectively with his/her environment. Spencer and Jeffrey, (2005) refers to adjustment as response to the environment, to stress, to pressure, and to life.

Adjustment need could mean having to adopt ways of acting that will conform with the expectation of the society. Omoreesemi (1995) listed areas of adjustment need as, having to cope with (a) release from the pressures of peer groups (b) need to concentrate on interest previously neglected (c) choice of new friends on the basis of congeniality (d) lack of intense competition with others. In-school adolescence who are usually restive, needs adjustment to help cope with threat, hurt, violation and frustration associated with the period. Adjustment is a renewal to emphasize the individuals struggle to get along or survive in his or her environment. According to Marinbo (2010), the adjustment of a person is the characteristic way in which the individual involved perceives, reacts to, and solves the main problems of life. An operational definition of adjustment in this study therefore means the characteristic way in which in-school adolescents perceives, reacts to, and solves the problem of restive behaviours.

Inappropriate behaviour can be adjusted through behaviour modification. Different kinds of behaviour modification techniques like role therapy, psychodrama, relaxation training aversive therapy, reinforcement among others have been used for intervention on maladaptive or distortive behaviours among in-school adolescence (Maria, 2009). Psychological principles and the experiences of counsellors and those who have worked with in-school adolescents support the following techniques for adjusting in-school adolescents’ restive behaviour (Chima, 2004). These techniques include, finding special skills, training in skills, (already acquired), discussion, group guidance among others. Yet restive behaviour among in-school adolescence are on the increase. For instance, the Tiv youths did a reprisal attack on the Jukun’s in Makurdi following the Tiv massacre in Taraba State and in Zaki Biam (Chika and Onyene, 2010). The magnitude and dimensions which it has assumed had in the recent time made the trend a public agenda. The loopholes inherent in the control measures presently used, have agitated the mind of the researcher to seek behaviour modification techniques appropriate to the problem especially bearing in mind that restive behaviour can be acquired or learned  behaviour and hence can be unlearned (Colale, 2007).

Consequently, to modify behaviour, one needs to fall back on some behavioural techniques as self-monitoring and thought-stopping training strategy that employs the use of will power to control oneself. However, many researchers have noted the efficacy of self-monitoring on anti-social behaviour. For instance, Anifowose (2003) investigated the effect of self-monitoring on youth in Nigeria and noted that self-monitoring is a way to empower young people.

Self monitoring according to Ekeruo (1990) is a technique of self management. It is used when an individual wants to modify his behaviour. The person now monitors his activities after establishing the base line. Hence, self monitoring is a theory that deals with the phenomena of expressive controls (Burke, 1997).

In this work, self monitoring technique provides a basis for treatment of restive behaviour of in-school adolescents in Rivers state. Self-monitoring in the context of this research work, therefore means a procedure aimed at helping in-school adolescence to exert control over his/her behaviour. It enables the in-school adolescents to gain immediate awareness of his actions and also to receive cumulative feedback on those actions. In a similar vein, thought-stopping which is also a behaviour modification technique that employs the use of will power involves the individual being trained to reward himself when he achieves the target that he set for himself (Martins, 1981). For example, buying a new article of clothing, provided the individual attends classes/lectures everyday for four weeks in an attempt to modify the fear of school. Thought stopping according to Martins (1981) gives a sense of control when followed with a positive and reassuring statement. It is essential to specify the target behaviour and the amount of the reinforcer which a particular set of responses would warrant. The timing of reinforcement is also important. It is essential that the consequence follows the responses as soon as possible for efficacy. Thought stopping as an operational definition in this research work therefore is a technique of behaviour modification which in-school adolescents adopt to reward themselves when they adjust to restive behaviour. Restive behaviour disrupts the enabling learning environment needed for optimal and meaningful activities for both the in-school adolescence and teachers. This phenomenon may cause a standstill in the nation if not speedily arrested. The implication of the aforemention will be too grave for the nation to bear if concerted efforts are not put in the right direction to arrest the situation. The hydra-headed monster of in-school adolescents’ restiveness in River state calls for urgent attention hence, there is need to examine the effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on the adjustment of restive in-school adolescents’ in River State.

Statement of the Problem

Over the past decade, in-school adolescence restiveness in the Niger Delta had led to the destruction, breakdown of law and order, low productivity due to disruption of production activities, apparent increase in crime rate, intra ethnic hostilities, harassment of prospective investors as well as other sundry criminal expressions. Hence, the security situation of the area is now a major concern to the nation, especially with the escalating petro-violence by youths in the area.

It is possible that such maladaptive or anti-social behaviour like in-school adolescence restiveness can be positively modified and/or reduced through thought stopping techniques and self-monitoring, technique efficacy. In-school adolescent restiveness is a nagging problem that affects students’ life and hence must be reduced. Considering the effectiveness of thought stopping and self-monitoring in other maladaptive areas, one hopes that they will yield the same results in tackling in-school adolescence restiveness. It is in attempt to finding means of dealing adequately with this problem that the study sought to establish the effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on the adjustment of restive in-school adolescents in Rivers state.

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study was to determine the effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on the adjustment of restive in-school adolescents in Rivers state. Specifically, the study sought to determine:

  • The effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on restive in-school Adolescents adjustment scale
  • The effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on restive in-school urban and rural Adolescents adjustment in Rivers State, as measured by Restive Adjustment Scale.
  • The effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on restive in-school male and female Adolescents adjustment in Rivers State, as measured by Restive Adjustment Scale.

Significance of the Study

The findings of this study will be of great significance to youths, guidance counsellors, the educational system and the society at large.  Theoretically, in the area of counselling, the findings of the study will provide data that may be useful for clear understanding of the existing theories of counselling and behaviour modification. The study will provide data which will prove the functionality or otherwise of the social cognitive theory, theory of reasoned action and behavioural counselling theory.

Practically, the study will also provide information to youths in the management of restiveness using self-monitoring and thought stopping techniques by unraveling these skills, the study will help to prepare the minds of youths experiencing restiveness on the intricacy and reality of adjustment by taking precautionary measures not to fall victims of the ugly incidence of in-school adolescence restiveness.

To the guidance counsellors, the findings will be significant in counselling services, it will direct the attention of guidance counsellors on who to benefit from their professional guidance and counselling exercise. However, counselling exercise should not involve only the youths but both parents and guardians. It will provide information to the guidance counsellors on the techniques on the adjustment of restive behaviour among in-school adolescents. Such concrete research will be utilized in counselling parents and guardians who take care of the youths. In addition, it will inform the guidance counsellors about the fate of youths who are less confidence as their own worth and lower in self esteem and as such provide them with necessary information that will help in designing intervention programme for such youths. The findings will also be of immense benefit to the Guidance Counsellors who will employ some of the counselling techniques in counselling parents and guardians to fully realize the dangers of restiveness.

To education system, the findings will be significant because it will expose how the self-monitoring and thought stopping techniques could help in the management of in-school adolescence restiveness. The study will provide information relating to the effectiveness of self-monitoring and thought stopping techniques in bring about adjustment of in-school adolescents. When this is done, educational system will be equipped with necessary information that would enable them manage restiveness.

The findings of this study when documented and published will be of immense benefit to the society at large. This is because, the findings will lead to a better society where restiveness will be adjusted. It is usually youths who grow up to become hardened criminals, sadists, rapists, mischief makers among others. If the society is relieved of these groups, development and progress of our society will be checked leading to a safer environment that will enhance growth and development.

Finally, the findings of this study when documented and published as it is expected, will add to the stock of existing knowledge in the area of behaviour modification which will be disseminated through learned journals, internet posting, workshops and conferences.

Scope of the Study

This study focused on the effect of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on restive in-school adolescents’ adjustment in Rivers state. In addition, Location and gender as intervening variables in the treatment were explored to establish their influence on treatment.

Research Questions

The following three research questions guided the study:

  • What are the effects of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on the adjustment of restive in-school Adolescents in Rivers State, as measured by Restive Adjustment Scale?
  • What are the effects of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on the adjustment of restive in-school urban and rural Adolescents in Rivers State, as measured by Restive Adjustment Scale?
  • What are the effects of thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques on restive in-school male and female Adolescents in Rivers State, as measured by Restive Adjustment Scale?

 

Hypotheses

The following five null hypotheses were formulated to guide the study and tested at 0.05 levels of significance.

  • There is no significant difference in the mean adjustment scores of restive in-schools adolescents exposed to thought stopping and self-monitoring techniques and those who were not.
  • There is no significant difference in the post mean adjustment scores of urban and rural in-school adolescents exposed to treatment.
  • There is no significant difference in the post test mean adjustment scores of male and female in-school adolescents exposed to treatment.
  • There is no significant interaction of treatment and location on the mean adjustment scores of in-school adolescents.

There is no significant interaction of treatment and gender on the mean adjustment scores of in-sch

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