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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PEER GROUP PRESSURE AND BULLYING AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN PEER GROUP PRESSURE AND BULLYING AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SELECTED SECONDARY SCHOOLS

 

ABSTRACT

This study examined the relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behavior among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis. The descriptive survey design was used in this study. The research instrument used for this study was a questionnaire tagged PPBBAQ which was adapted by the researcher. The population of this study covered the students in selected secondary schools in Ejigbo Local Government area of Lagos State where data was collected using simple random sampling. Collected data was analyzed using Pearson moment correlation co-efficient statistical tools, descriptive statistics. Demographic data such as gender, age, and class were used. Findings showed that peer pressure has a relationship with bullying. It was concluded that there is a relationship between bullying and gender of the participants. It was therefore recommended that school administrators, vice principals and teachers should refer all victims and perpetrators of bullying to the counsellor.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

Schools have always been recognised as an institution for the transfer of knowledge and culture to the future generation. It is a dynamic human system dedicated to the nurturing of mutual growth and understanding between children and adult.

The school is an institution designed for the teaching of students enrolled in it and part of the purpose of the school is to develop the student through knowledge acquisition so that he/she may become a social being. By this, the student is expected to learn how to relate with fellow students, teachers and significant others in the school on the one hand, live in a harmonious way (by blending with societal values) in the society on the other hand. The school is also expected to be a place where students should feel safe and secure, and where they count on being treated with respect. The reality, however seem to be that only few students or pupils can harmoniously with their school mates without experiencing violence in the school.

Human beings are gregarious and social in nature. They hardly live in isolation but prefer to live and interact with one another. The urge to interact creates some challenges, which need to be addressed. Therefore, in order to achieve development, norms are developed to guide human interactions. Although, the norms may vary from one place to the other, there are some commonalities. One of such norms, which promotes friendship and discourages aggressive behaviours is positive interpersonal relationship. However, interpersonal relationship among secondary school students in Nigeria is gradually being threatened by deviant behaviours such as bullying. Bullying has become a source of concern to counsellors, teachers, school administrators and parents due to its adverse effects on relationship among students. Smith (2001) reported that ten percent of children in America indicated that they had ben bullied by other students, but had not bullied others. Another six percent stated that they had been bullied and had also bullied other children. A total of thirteen percent of the students noted thatthey had bullied other students but had not been bullied. Stephenson and Smith (1989), Olweus (1991) and Craig and Pepler (1997) observed that most bullying take place in school and usually encouraged by the audience. The researchers noted that the victims of bully are the most insecure, the least likeable and the most unsuccessful in school. Also, children who are bully-victims appear to be at the greatest risk of adjustment difficulties. Boys and girls are equally likely to report being victimized by bullies. It was found that most bullies have littles or no empathy for their victims and show littles remorse about bullying.

Bullying takes place in social settings with many onlookers aware of the distress caused to victims. Up until relatively recently, most researchers have tended to employ a standard, internationally accepted definition of bullying, and many studies are based on the work of Olweus (1992): ‘A person is being bullied when she or he is exposed, repeatedly and over time, to negative actions on the part of one or more persons.’ Olweus further argues that bullying involves an imbalance of power. Bullying has various forms, it can be verbal (e.g., name-calling), physical or indirect (e.g., spreading unpleasant rumours) (Olweus 1992). Bullying is thus a complex phenomenon, and despite the generally accepted definition, bullying behaviour has been conceptualized in different ways.  

Olweus (1972) coined bullying as “mobbing,” and defined it as an individual or a group of individuals harassing, teasing, or pestering another person. Bullying and victimization are prevalent problems in the area of adolescent peer relationships.

Experiences with peers constitutes an important developmental context for children and adolescents (Rubin, Bukowski, & Parker, 2006). Children’s experiences with peers occur on several different levels: general interactions with peers, friendships, and in groups. Social competence reflects a child’s capacity to engage successfully with peers at different levels. This section will provide an introduction and overview of friendships, peer groups, and socio-metric status, with attention to developmental changes that occur during childhood and adolescence.

The impact of peer influence on adolescent development is generally associated with negative connotations. I believe that the use of the peer group as a vehicle for problem-solving development has not been fully utilized, even though it presents significant opportunities for childcare practitioners and educators.

It is wildly accepted that membership in peer groups is a powerful force during adolescence. These groups provide an important developmental point of reference through which adolescents gain an understanding of the world outside of their families. Failure to develop close relationships with age mates, however, often results in a variety of problems for adolescents – from delinquency and substance abuse to psychological disordered (Hops, Davis, Alpert & Longoria 1997). Furthermore, higher peer stress and less companionship support from peers has been associated with a lower social self-concept in adolescents (Wenz-Gross, Sipestein, Umtoh, Widaman, 1997).

As children progress through adolescence, they build knowledge baes that help them navigate social situations. An abundance of literature has suggested that there is considerable individual variation regarding cognitive skill development during adolescence as it relates to peer influence. Dodge’s (1993) research indicated that poor peer relationships were closely associated with social cognitive skill deficits. He found that adolescents who had developed positive peer relationships generated more alternative solutions to problems, proposed more mature solutions, and were less aggressive than youth who had developed negative peer relationships. Along those same lines Bansal (1996) found that adolescents who compared themselves negatively in reference to their peers experienced a reduction in attention to problem-solving tasks.

Most public and private childcare systems continue to overlook peer influence despite the growing body of literature indicating that it represents a powerful force in maintaining orderly, productive and positive academic and rehabilitative environments (Bellafiore & Salend, 1983; Brendtro & Lindgren, 1988; Emery, 1990; Gadow & McKibbon, 1984; Gibbs, Potter, Goldstein, & Brendtro, 1996; Salend, Jantzen, & Geik, 1992; Wasmund, 1988).

Pettit (1997) found the peer group to be a useful resource in decreasing violence and aggression in children; Brannon, Larson, and Doggett (1991) reported that the peer group process facilitated the disclosure of victimization by adolescent sexual offenders.

Over the past two decades, child and family-service programs have popularized the term empowerment and, to some extent, have incorporated peer-referenced paradigms into their approaches with adolescents. Many programs have failed to truly value children as partners in this process; instead, they have used peer influence to police the environment and maintain order once children have broken adult-imposed rules.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

There have been several studies on the relationship between peer group pressure and other concepts like academic performance, career choice, class courting, motivation, achievement, study habit, and truancy etc, with little or no research by scholars in the area of peer group pressure and bullying behaviour.

In addition there have been several worrisome cases in secondary schools where adolescents indulge in bullying the less stronger students and this attitude has been condemned by teachers, parents and administrators. Despite the fact that schools have rules and regulations to tackle or curb such deviant or delinquent behaviour it seems or appears inefficient and ineffective.

Also of recent the rate of bulling behaviour among adolescents in secondary schools is on the high side and several brows have been raised that such behaviour has been highly influence by peer group pressure.

It is therefore rationally viewed that if bullying behaviour can be curbed among adolescents in secondary schools it will reduce anxiety, fear and other psychological effects it has on its victims and as a result help them focus on their academics. The adolescents need to learn how to develop positive self-thought and have a personal philosophy that will guard and guide them through this period of storm and stress.

The adolescents needs to be given hints and speculations on how to select good friends, how to select or pick their friends and shouldn’t allow their friends pick them. They should vividly understand why they should move with good groups and not the bad ones because bad communication they say corrupt good manners. They should also be made to understand that a person who is a victim of bully can as a result of that commit suicide while some become fierce, wild, and notorious as a result of revenge. It is towards this view and assumptions that the study tends to ascertain the relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behaviour of adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

The main purpose of the study will be directed to investigate the relationship between peer group and bullying behaviour of adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis. This research will specifically seek to;

          i.            Ascertain the relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behaviour among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

        ii.            Find out the relationship between peer group pressure and anxiety among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

      iii.            Examine the significant relationship between peer group pressure and psychological effects among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

      iv.            Ascertain the relationship between bullying and gender of the participants among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

1.4       Research Questions

        i.            Is there any significant relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behaviour among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis?

      ii.            Is there any significant relationship between peer group pressure and anxiety among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis?

    iii.            Is there any significant relationship between peer group pressure and psychological effects among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis?

    iv.            Is there any significant relationship between bullying and gender of the participants among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis?

1.5       Research Hypotheses

        i.            There is no significant relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behaviour among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

      ii.            There is no significant relationship between peer group pressure and anxiety among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

    iii.            There is no significant relationship between peer group pressure and psychological effects among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

    iv.            There is no significant relationship between bullying and gender of the participants among adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis.

1.6       Significance of the study

 The will be of immense benefit to innumerable members of the society who sees peer group as a negative or wrong community otherwise known as partners in crime, hence the saying birds of the same feather flock together. The research is meant to provide government officials with more information and ideas on how peer groups and teachers in public schools relate. It will further provide teachers with ideas on how to provide dynamics that will motivate learners and adolescents, so as to give room for good academic performance and good behaviour.

School Authorities: this is necessary so that parents can gain and will understand the implications and consequences of bullied children and thus mobilize all resources to curtail the problems arising from the situation.

Parents: through appropriate parental counselling programmes, parents will easily checkmate their children if they are moving with bad gangs and if their child is passing through psychological issues.

Students: it will help students to desist from wrong company, become selective before they make friends, in other words they will loop before leaping because bad company they say corrupt good manners. It will also help students desist from violence, destruction of properties especially chairs and tables during riot or demonstration or strike. They will become enlightened that the properties are used by them and destruction of it will or may hamper the process of teaching and learning.

Government: employment into schools will be strictly for those that study education and with competent knowledge in behaviour modification. More so, there will be pre service training and in-service training for teachers for exposure and experience will serve as feedback for the government agencies.

Ministry of education: more indices that will encourage the sector to determine the psychological level of a child and the allocation given to school will be properly monitored. Policy that will bring about positive change in adaptive behaviour that will transcend to the entire society will emerge. 

1.7       Scope of the Study

The study covers the relationship between peer group pressure and bullying behaviours of adolescents’ in selected secondary schools in Lagos metropolis. It is limited to selected secondary schools in Ejigbo only.

1.8       Operational definition of terms

Relationship: this is the way in which two things are connected e.g peer group pressure and bullying.

Adolescents: These are young people developing into adult usually between the age of 11 and 19.

Bullying: It is the use of force, threat, or coercion to abuse, intimidate, or aggressively dominate others by adolescents.

Peer group pressure: Positive or negative is when your classmates, or other people your age, try to get you to do something.

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