Effects of Cognitive Behaviour and Social Learning Therapies on Managing Adolescents Aggressiveness
Objectives of the Study
The study mainly sought to examine the Effects of cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies in the treatment of adolescent aggression.
Specifically, the study sought to:
- compare the significant difference between participants in experimental groups (cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies) and control group.
- compare the significant difference between participants exposed to cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies.
- investigate the impact of gender, parenting style and parental socio-economic status on conduct disorder in adolescents.
Concept of Adolescence
The origin of the word adolescence is from the Latin verb ‘adolescere’, which means, “to grow up.” It can be defined as the transitional stage of development between childhood and full adulthood, representing the period of time during which a person is biologically adult but emotionally not at full maturity. It represents the period of time during which a juvenile matures into adulthood (Ogunlade & Olasehinde, 1995; Gesinde, 2001; Merriam-Webster Learners Dictionary, 2012).
Mosby’s Dental Dictionary (2008) defines adolescence as the period of development between the onset of puberty and adulthood. This period is generally marked by the appearance of secondary sex characteristics, usually from 11 to 13 years of age, and spans the teen years, terminating at 18 to 20 years of age with the completion of the development of the adult form. During this period, the individual undergoes extensive physical, psychological, emotional, and personality changes.
Kipke (1999), defines adolescence as the period of life ranging from ages 10-24, during which individuals make the developmental transition from childhood to adulthood. Adolescence is characterized by marked physical, emotional and intellectual changes, as well as changes in social roles, relationships and expectations, all of which are important for the development of the individual and provide the foundation for functioning as an adult. The development of healthy adolescents is a complex and evolving process that requires: supportive and caring families, peers and communities; access to high quality services (health, education, social and other community services); and opportunities to engage and succeed in the developmental tasks of adolescence.
Scholars have different age range for adolescence. But most importantly, going through different definitions psychologists group this stage of development into three: early (11-14); middle (15-17); and late (18-21) Green & Palfrey (2000). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, on the other hand, defines the age range for adolescents as 10-19 and refers to 20-24 year olds as young adults, but often group adolescents and young adults are grouped together. Steinberg (2011) affirms that a broad way of defining adolescence is the transition from child-to-adulthood which happens to vary drastically in time between cultures. In some countries, such as the United States, adolescence can last nearly a decade, but in other countries, the transition—often in the form of a ceremony—can last for only a few days.
Historical perspectives such as those offered by Kett (1977) and Hine (1999) stress the fact that adolescence as a developmental period has varied considerably from one historical era to another. Due to its ever-changing nature, it is impossible to generalize about issues such as the degree to which adolescence is stressful, the developmental tasks of the period, or the nature of intergenerational relationships. One group of theorists, referred to as inventionists, argue that adolescence is entirely a social invention, and that the way in which life cycle is divided into stages is nothing more than a reflection of the political, economic and social circumstances in which we live. According to this group, although puberty has been a feature of development for as long as humans have lived, it was not until the rise of obligatory education that we began treating adolescents as a distinct group (Bakan, 1972). Miller (2011), spoke about two cultures – the cultures of science and humanities, which state that most scientists know little about modern age. He also stated that in the past things were different.
According to Larson & Richards (1991), peer groups are especially important during adolescence. It is a period of development characterized by a dramatic increase in time spent with peers and a decrease in adult supervision (Brown, 1990; 2004). Adolescents associate with friends of the opposite sex much more than in childhood and tend to identify with larger groups of peers based on shared characteristics (Eder, 1985). Peer groups offer members the opportunity to develop various social skills, such as empathy, sharing and leadership. Peer groups can have positive influences on an individual, for instance on academic motivation and performance, but they can also have negative influences and lead to an increase in experimentation with drugs, drinking, vandalism, and stealing. Susceptibility to peer pressure increases during early adolescence, peaks around age 14, and declines thereafter (Steinberg & Monahan, 2007).
According to Maier (2012), adolescents experience physical, social, cognitive, moral, behavioural as well as personal and emotional development. The rate at which adolescents experience changes will vary depending on gender, genetics, environmental and health factors.
The design utilized is a 3 x 2 x 3 x 3 factorial design. This design was selected because it is sufficient to test all the variables in the study.
A factorial design is the most common way to study the effect of two or more independent variables (Hassan, 1995). In a factorial design, all levels of the individual independent variable are matched or cross matched with all levels of the opposing, competing, contrary independent variables. The intention of this is to make available, showcase, indicate, exhibit, demonstrate, expose, all possible conditions. This is more so as it is possible to manipulate each independent variable among subjects in a factorial design.
The design is represented below:
O1 X1 O4 – E1
O2 X2 O5 – E2
O3 O6 – Control
Where O1, O2 and O3 represent the pre-test observations for Experimental groups 1, 2 and the control group. O4, O5 and O6 represent the post-test observations for Experimental groups 1, 2 and the control group respectively. X1 represents treatment of Cognitive Restructuring while X2 represents treatment of Behavioural Rehearsal.
Variables in the Study
The variables in the study include the independent variables, comprising of Cognitive behaviour and social learning therapies and Control. The intervening variables are gender at two levels: male and female, socio-economic status at three levels: low, medium and high; and parenting styles which also exist at three levels: authoritarian, authoritative and permissive. The dependent variable is aggression.
DATA ANALYSIS AND PRESENTATION
This chapter‘s main focus is on the data presentation and analysis of result. It begins with the description of the participants‘ demographic information. This is followed by the descriptive analysis of the variables that were employed in the research. The next discussion is on the testing of the hypotheses that were formulated for the study which guides the arrangement of the tables. Finally, a summary of the main findings which appear next to each hypothesis as well as selected findings from the demographic data that were collected are used to inform and contrast the findings.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
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.
From the study, the following recommendations are proffered based on my findings:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Parents should monitor the activities of the adolescents. This would enable them to detect any indication of aggression early enough.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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