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THE INFLUENCE OF GROUP PRESSURE ON ADOLESCENTS BEHAVIORAL PROBLEMS IN NIGERIA
Background of the Study
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
behaviour 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.
Mature adults, teens, young adults and children can be seen doing things in order
to be accepted by their peers. Peer pressure is commonly associated with episodes
of adolescent risk taking (such as delinquency, drug abuse, sexual behaviours),
because these behaviour commonly occur in the company of peers. It can also have
positive effects when youth are pressured by the peer toward positive behaviour.
Such as volunteering for charity or excelling in academics (Kellie, 2013).
However, peers can also have a negative influence. They can encourage each
other to skip classes, steal, cheat, use of drugs or alcohol, or become involve in
other risky behaviours. Majority of adolescents with substance abuse problems
began using drug or alcohol as a result of peer pressure. Negative peer pressure
may influence in various ways like joining group who drink alcohol, smoke
cigarette and Indian hemp among others. It may also lead to the decision to have a
boy friend/girl friend, Peer pressure indulges youth into loitering about in the
streets, watching films and attending parties during school hours, taping as
alternative to stealing which may eventually graduate into armed robbery. (Arief,
Peer pressure may be present in the workplace, at school or within the
society, it can affect people of all ages. It may affect people in different ways but
here, the focus is on peer pressure as it influences academic performance of inschool
adolescents. Peer pressure may have a positive influence and help to
challenge or motivate one to do best. Peer pressure may also result in one doing
thing that may not fit with ones sense of what is right or wrong. In other words,
when peer pressure makes one do things that people frown at, it is a negative peer
pressure. Operationally peer pressure is a force exert by people that is influenced
by ideas, values and behaviour either positively or negatively and always
associated with adolescents. Study shown that many popular students who do not
manage their time well make lower grades than less socially accepted adolescent
(Hartney, 1990). This is possibly due to the fact that popular students may spend
more time worrying about their social life rather than studying.
Time management has to do with planning and scheduling activities,
organizing tasks in a prioritized order and allocating time to the tasks according to
their order of importance and helping one achieve desired objectives (Achunine,
1995). Time management is the ability to manage and control time. (Lakein, 2003).
The use of planners, calendars and the like are effective tools in managing time.
Time management is the art of arranging organizing, scheduling and budgeting
one’s time for the purpose of generating more effective work and productivity.
(Lakein, 2003). Time management is important for everyone, while time
management books and seminars often focus on business leaders and corporations,
time management is also crucial for students, teachers, professionals and home
makers. Time management is mostly about self-management. One may be right to
say that time management is the ability of an individual or group of individuals to
make proper use of their time in order to achieve set goals.
Time management is explained as behaviour that is believed to aid
production and alleviate stress, productivity (Misra, 2000). Implementing time
management strategies helps to organize aspects of one’s life, therefore allowing
one’s time to complete all the tasks necessary to reduce one stress level. In
completing the task on schedule, a student will also enhance his academic
performance. It can be deduced from Misra (2000) view, that an in-school
adolescent who spends his time on irrelevant things instead of concentrating on
studies may end up having poor academic performance. The issue of students
loitering about, holding parties at the expense of their studies tends to suggests that
students in Abia State do not manage their time well. Hence, academic
performance might be affected.
Operationally the researcher defines time management as the art of setting a
goal and following it sequentially in order to achieve the target. Hillary Retting has
identified over-giving of attention to family, friends, and work, volunteerism or
activism, as prime obstacles to managing ones time. This author therefore
recommends solutions to management of time to include being aware of one’s
motives for instance in striving, to be a “hero” or self-sacrificing “saint,” and
avoiding procrastination, setting his motives and working hard to wards achieving
the motive enhance academic performance.
Academic performance refers to how well a student is accomplishing his or
her tasks and studies (Scortt’s, 2012). Grades are certainly the most well-known
indicator of academic performance. Grades are the student’s “score” for their
classes and overall tenure. Grades are most often a tallying or average of
assignment and test scores and may often be affected by factors such as attendance
an instructor opinion of the student as well. Grading systems vary greatly by
county and school; common scales include a percentage form 1-100, lettering
systems from A-F, and grade point averages (GPA) from 0-4.0 or above.
According to Ward, Stocker and Murray-Ward (2006) academic
performance refers to the outcome of education; the extent to which the student,
teacher or institution have achieved their educational goals. Academic performance
is the ability to study and remember facts and being able to communicate one’s
knowledge verbally or written on paper (Answers, 2010). In the context of this
study, academic achievement refers to the extent to which students have achieve
mastery of the objectives of the subjects they are exposed to in school. According
to (Aremu and Sokan 2003) academic achievement has been observed in school
subjects especially mathematic and English language among secondary school
The trend of poor achievement of secondary school students has also been
confirmed by the West African Examination Council (WAEC). The WAEC result
analysis for the years 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 revealed the following
statistics of the performance of Nigerian student in secondary schools in public
examination. The percentages of students who passed during the years were report
to be 22, 54, 13.76, 22.54, 24.94, and 25.99 percent respectively. That is, on the
average, less than a quarter (21.94 percent) of the students that sat for the
May/June West African Senior Secondary School Certificate Examinations
obtained credits in five subjects including English and mathematics during the five
years (WAEC, 2007-2011).
According to the West African Examination Council Zonal Co-ordinator,
revealed the statistics of the 2012/2013 WAEC. A total of 324, 998 candidates
registered for the Examination 168,835 are Males: while 141,242 are Females:
candidates who registered for the WAEC examination. Withheld results, the results
of 51,876 candidates, representing 16. 73% of candidates are being withheld by the
WAEC Board, based on various reports, mostly for these candidates alleged
involvement in examination malpractice, while another Statistics shows that a
whooping number of 250,487 candidates representing 80. 78% have 2 credits and
above, while 217,161 candidates, representing 70. 03 of the total 2012 WAEC
candidates, have three credits and above. Several factors have generally been
identified as causes of poor academic performance. Morakinyo (2003) believes that
the falling level of academic performance is attributable to teachers’ non-use of
verbal reinforcement strategy. Welsh (2007) also found that the attitude of some
teachers to their job, poor teaching methods and the like influence students’
The blame for poor academic performance among secondary school students
could be attributable to a variety of factors such as student inability to manage their
time, peers influence, family factors and the likes. Parents, teachers, curriculum,
experts and evaluators have expressed considerable concern over the deteriorating
students’ performance in public examinations.
Therefore, an in-school adolescent should avoid negative pressure such
loitering along the street during school hours holding parties at the expense of their
study, skipping school and drug abuse. That will create room for poor academic
performance. The adolescent should move with people that study their books in
order to have good academic performance.
Adolescence is a developmental period in which an individual changes (over
a varying length of time) from childhood into adulthood. This creates confusion
about the self because society considers them neither children nor adults.
Adolescence is also a period of sexual maturity (of sex organs and the development
of hormones) and the development of sexual urge. The pattern of thinking is that in
which immediate needs tend to have priority over long term ones and because they
lack knowledge and skills to make healthy choices, they tend to go into risky
behavior and tryout experiences which often leads to mistakes and regrets in most
adolescents it marks the beginning of sexual activity Steinberg, (2008) Adolescents
substance use, or antisocial behavior are often considered as “problem”
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