THE INFLUENCE OF GROUP PRESSURE ON ADOLESCENTS BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA SECONDARY SCHOOLS

Abstract

This study examine the influence of group pressure on adolescent behavioral problems in Nigerian secondary schools, with a focus on the Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State. Two null hypotheses were tested using a random sample of one hundred and thirty three adolescents from four secondary schools in the Uyo Local Government Area. The instrument was a self-designed questionnaire. The collected data were analysed using the chi-square statistics and the simple percentage. The results of the analysis showed that peer group pressure among adolescents is related to their social adjustment and that the gender of the adolescents affects their social adjustment as well as academic performance.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1     Background of the study

Adolescence is a stage were, young people begin to make decision of their own break away from their families and try out different roles and situations to figure out who they are and where they fit into the world. They spend more time with their friends and less time with their families. This is a normal, healthy stage of development, but the growing distance between parents and their children and the increasing importance of friends can be a source of conflict and anger within the family. The desire to feel accepted and to fit in is one of the strongest forces in adolescents; this can lead teens to do things that they know are wrong, dangerous, or risky. On the positive side, the pressure to keep up with the peer group can also inspire teens to achieve goals that they might never aim for on their own. In other words, young people prefer to be in the company of other young people, who offer mutual support in contrast to their parents, who they perceive as authoritarian. Perhaps this is why the issue of peer pressure is of great interest to the psychological and sociological fields. Educational activities are geared towards ensuring that students achieve mastery of educational objectives. In school , the extent to which these objectives have been achieved, is determined by their level of peer pressure, time management as students’ success are reflected in their academic performance. Peers play a large role in the social and emotional development of adolescents Allen (2005). Their influence begins at an early age and increases through the teenage years, it is natural, healthy and important for adolescent to have and rely on friends as they grow and mature. A peer could be any one you look up to in behavior or someone who you would think is equal to your age or ability (Hardcastle, 2002). On the other hand, the term “pressure” implies the process that influence people to do something that they might not otherwise choose to do.

According to Hartney, (2011) peer pressure refers to the influences that peers can have on each other. Peer pressure is emotional or mental forces from people belonging to the same social group (such as age, grade or status) to act or behave in a manner similar to themselves (Weinfied 2010). Jones, (2010) defined peer pressure as the ability of people from the same social rank or age to influence another of same age, bracket peer pressure is usually associated with teens although its influence is not confined to teenagers alone. Individuals in society will usually make friends or have their closest associates from among their peer groups. Therefore, peer associates have a great influence on the lifestyle of their members. Infact peer group association as an agent of socialization, determines to a large extent, what social codes an individual learns (Sutherland 1949, Allen, 2003, Nsofor, 2013). This implies that individuals whose core group members believe and act criminal within norms will learn and internalize more of criminal codes than those that conform with the norms of the society. As a result, they conclude that individuals become delinquent through association with people who are the carriers of criminal norms and that criminal behavior is learned within primary groups in particular, peer groups. That is, Criminal behavior in adolescents is as a result of social influence. It is important to note here, that primary groups are the smallest units of interactions in society and a small group within the society is more likely to have a stronger control over an individual’s action or behavior. In fact, Simmel (1971), observed that “a small group is likely to control the individual completely”. Adolescence is defined both in terms of age (spanning the ages of 10 to 19 years) and in terms of phase of life by special attributes. These attributes include rapid physical growth and development, physiological, social and psychological maturity, but not all at the same time (World Health Organization (WHO), 2003; Nwankwo and Nwoke, 2009); while correlate is a causal, complementary, parallel, or reciprocal relationship, especially a structural, functional or quality correspondence between two comparable entities for example a correlation between drug abuse and crime. On the other hand, sexual behavior is a form of physical intimacy that may be directed to reproduction (one possible goal of sexual intercourse), spiritual transcendence, and or the enjoyment of any activity involving sexual gratification.

1.2     STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Peer pressure can be described as the influence exerted by a peer group in encouraging a person to change his or her attitudes, values, or behaviors to conform to the group. A person affected by peer pressure may or may not want to belong to these groups. They may also recognize dissociative groups that they do not wish to belong to, and therefore adopt behaviors in opposition to those of the group (Adams, 1996). In the same vein, according to Harris (1998), peer pressure can cause people to do things they would not normally do, e.g., take drugs, smoke, date, marry, have a job, have children and buy expensive items. Research has shown that over the last 50 years peer influence/pressure has emerged as the chief source of values and behavioral influence for adolescents, replacing the influence of adults. It is in this vein that the researcher intends to investigate the influence of group pressure on adolescent behavioral problems in Nigeria.

1.3     OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of this study is to ascertain the influence of group pressure on adolescent behavioral problems in Nigeria. But for the successful completion of the study the researcher intend to achieve the following specific objectives;

i)  To ascertain the influence of group pressure on adolescent behavioral problems

ii)  To evaluate the effect of group pressure on the academic performance of secondary school students

iii) To ascertain the relationship between pear pressure and student academic excellence.

iv)  To ascertain the role of group pressure on the sexual behavior of the students.

1.4    RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the successful completion of the study, the researcher decides to formulate the following research hypotheses;

H0: group pressure has no influence on the behavioral problem of adolescent in Nigeria.

H1: group pressure has a significant influence on the behavioral problem of adolescent in Nigeria.

H0: group pressure has no significant effect on the academic performance of secondary school students

H2: group pressure has a significant effect on the academic performance of secondary school students.

1.5     SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

It is believed that at the completion of the study, the findings will be of importance to parent and guidance of these adolescent as they are saddle with the responsibility of catering for the proper upbringing of this children as the study will help them check mate the character of this students, the study will also be of importance to the school authority as the study will guide them to monitor and dissolve every group that is not educationally and morally oriented.  The study will also be useful to researchers who intend to embark on research in similar topic, Finally the findings of this study will also be immense benefit to government, academia, scholars, researchers and the general public.

1.6    SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of this study covers the influence of group pressure on adolescent behavioral problems in Nigeria. Though in the cause of the study there are factors which militate against the scope of the study;

a) AVAILABILITY OF RESEARCH MATERIAL: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.

b) TIME: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.

c) FINANCE: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Group

A Group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.

Pressure

Pressure is the force applied perpendicular to the surface of an object per unit area over which that force is distributed. Gauge pressure (also spelled gage pressure) is the pressure relative to the ambient pressure.

Group pressure

Peer pressure (or social pressure) is the direct influence on people by peers, or an individual who gets encouraged to follow their peers by changing their attitudesvalues, or behaviors to conform to those of the influencing group or individual. This type of pressure differs from general social pressure because it causes an individual to change in response to a feeling of being pressured or influenced from a peer or peer group. Social groups affected include both membership groups, in which individuals are “formally” members (such as political parties and trade unions), and cliques in which membership is not clearly defined. However, a person does not need to be a member or be seeking membership of a group to be affected by peer pressure.

Behavior

Behavior or behavior is the range of actions and mannerisms made by individuals, organismssystems, or artificial entities in conjunction with themselves or their environment, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the (inanimate) physical environment. It is the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs, whether internal or external, conscious or subconsciousovert or covert, and voluntary or involuntary

1.8 ORGANIZATION OF THE STUDY

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (background of the study), statement of the problem, objectives of the study, research questions, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope of the study etc. Chapter two being the review of the related literature presents the theoretical framework, conceptual framework and other areas concerning the subject matter. Chapter three is a research methodology covers deals on the research design and methods adopted in the study. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study