Teachers' notion of the sources of stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescents: Ethiopian upper primary school teachers in focus.
The question of whether or not adolescence is a more difficult stage than childhood and adulthood stages had long been controversial among developmental psychologists and thinkers. Stanley Hall was one of those who argue that adolescence is a period of turmoil (Arnnet, 1999). He was the first to boldly declare that adolescence is the period of storm and stress, as coined by him. He argued that adolescents are naturally characterized by higher rate of conflicts with their parents, higher intensity of emotional feelings, and higher tendency to involve in risky events than children and adults. According to Hall, cited in Beeck (n.d), the concept of storm and stress is universal in nature and biological in origin. That is, storm and stress characterizes all adolescents without exception and this problem emanates solely from biological factors (hormone production). Hall identified three major components of adolescent storm and stress: conflict with parents, emotionality, and risk taking tendencies (Ahmed, 2010). Hall's view had also attained strong support from the proponents of psychoanalytic theory of development, especially from Ana Freud and her associates (Arnnet, 1999).
Adolescent storm and stress is manifested by a number of specific behaviors like, argumentativeness, disobedience, breaking rules and norms, impulsiveness, recklessness, involvement in different risky activities etc. which are commonly cited in the literature of the area (E.g. Arnnet, 1999; Verkaik & Akbar, 2006; Hines & Paulson, 2006). These behaviors are offending and puzzling for the adults who deal with adolescents. The question is: How are the intentions of these behaviors conceived by the adults? Literature (E.g. Walsh, n.d) shows two possible ways of thinking of the sources of these stormy and stressful behaviors. One is scientific conception that attributes the problem to the nature of physical, mental, and psychological development characterizing this period and external social environment adolescents live in. The other is stereotypical beliefs in which adults lack the knowledge of the true sources of the stormy and stressful behaviors of this age and, hence, tend to portray them as intentionally rebellious, antisocial, destructive etc. Unfortunately such stereotypic belief has been long lived and widespread in the public globally (including great thinkers) since antiquity (Verdaik & Akbar, 2006; Hernandez, 2009).
In Ethiopia, where school disciplinary measures are characterized by corporal punishment (Ayalew Shibeshi, 1996); where most adolescent live in difficult life situations to be ill tempered and offend adults; and above all, where psychological trainings on adolescent development are scant, it is reasonable to anticipate high prevalence of wrong conception about the sources of adolescent storm and stress in the society in general and among teachers in particular. However, empirical data in this area seem to be scant.
In this research, adolescent storm and stress is taken as reality, not as something baseless as claimed by some scholars like Bandura, cited in Stronks (1993). Here, the belief that adolescent storm and stress stems from wild nature of adolescents is rather taken to be stereotypical.
Research Questions: In this research, the following were answered:
* What is the level of adolescent storm and stress in Ethiopian adolescent as observed by the studied upper primary school teachers?
* What is the level of teachers' stereotypic belief (conception) of the sources of adolescent storm and stress?
* Are the level of adolescent storm and stress and the level of the teachers' stereotypic belief about the sources of these behaviors related in any meaningful way?
* Do the three components of the adolescent storm and stress, jointly and independently, predict the stereotypic belief of the teachers significantly?
* Does the level of stereotypic belief of the studied teachers vary with sex, age, marital status, living or not living with adolescents, stages of adolescents lived with, sex of adolescents lived with, rural-urban disparity, field of study, perceived professional effectiveness.
Population: The target population of this study was the upper primary school teachers from all administrative regions of Ethiopia who participated in the summer in-service training program of Adama Science and Technology University in 2011(GC). Out of the total population (5537), 373 respondents were selected as data sources of this study. Out of these, 363 (with 97% response rate) returned the filled out questionnaires and the data gathered from these respondents were analyzed.
Sampling Techniques: Stratified and systematic sampling techniques were employed. The stratified sampling technique was used to obtain the representative respondents from each field of study, batch, and sex while the systematic sampling was utilized to select the respondents from each batch of each field of study. The sample size was determined by the formula provided by Yamane, cited in Israel (1992).
Instruments of Data Gathering: Two data gathering instruments (26 items) were developed from literature by the researcher. The first was designed to gather information on the level of adolescent storm and stress as observed by respondents. This subscale contains 16 words or expressions that are frequently cited in the literature in the area (E.g. Holmbeck, 1988; Burnan & Holmbeck, in Arnnet, 1999) to describe stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescents. The teachers were asked to rate each word or expression (highly true =5 points, true = 4 points, undecided = 3, false = 2 points, and highly false =1 point) to indicate the extent to which they observed these behaviors in adolescents. This scale is also subdivided into three sub scales on the basis of the three components of adolescent storm and stress (conflict provoking behaviors 3 items, emotionality 8 items, and risk taking behavior 5 items) identified by Hall, in Arnnet, (1999).
The second instrument was designed to generate information on the extent to which the teachers negatively judge the adolescents. This instrument contains 10 negative judgmental words/adjectives that are frequently cited in the literature (E.g. Verkaik & Akbar, 2006; King, 2007; Ivana, 2009) to show negative and subjective judgments about adolescents. They are the measures of teachers' conception of sources of adolescent storm and stress. The teachers were asked, in the directions, to rate these words highly true = 5 points, true = 4 points, undecided = 3 points, false = 2 points, and highly false = 1 point to indicate the extent to which they attribute the stormy and stressful behaviors in the first instrument to these judgmental words. So, in this research it is assumed that the more the teachers associate these negative judgmental adjectives with adolescents the less likely they are aware of the true sources (internal biological and external social factors) of the stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescents and vice-versa. That is, the more they associate the words with adolescents, the more likely they are to have stereotypic beliefs of the causes of adolescent storm and stress.
The alpha coefficient for whole scale was found to be .90, for storm and stress sub scale was found to be .82, and for judgmental sub scale was found to be .87. Each item of these scales was validated by three experts in the area of psychology. One language expert checked the appropriateness of the descriptions.
Methods of Data Analysis: The statistical methods utilized to analyze the data of this research included percentage, multiple correlations, multiple regression, t-test, and one way ANOVA. All the statistical tests are performed at 0.05 alpha levels. The use of these statistical methods was preceded by checking the normality of the dependent variable (teachers' conception).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
As depicted in Table 1, majority of respondents, in all the three sub scales, rated all the items true or highly true except one. Accordingly, 69.7% (23.1% + 46.6%), 79% (39.1% + 39.9%), and 53.7% (26.7% + 27.0%) of the respondents rated the items Obedient, Inconsistent, Breaking rules (in the conflict provoking sub scale) true or highly true respectively. Similarly, 60.9% (16.5% + 4.4%), 57.5% (19.8% + 37.7%), 49.9% (19.0% + 30.9%), 51% (12.7% + 38.3%), 77.1% (36.6% + 40.5%), 54.3% (17.9% + 36.4%), and 58.7% (15.7% + 40.3%), of them rated the items awkward, Anxious, Insecure, Confused, Easily become angry, Stressed, and Easily Despaired, (in the emotionality sub scale) true or highly true respectively. Only the item Depressed was rated false or highly false by higher portion of the respondents (43.3%) as compare to those who rated it true or highly true (36.1%). Further, 46% (16.0% + 30.0%), 45.5% (16.3% + 29.2%), 51.5% (17.1% + 34.4%), 62.9% (33.1% + 29.8%), and 49.6% (16.0% + 33.6%) rated Impulsive, Smoke, Drink Promiscuous, and Take narcotics (in risk taking sub scale) true or highly true respectively. Closer observation of each item shows that inconsistent (79%); Easily become angry (77.1%) and Disobedient (69.7%) were the behaviors rated by relatively higher proportion of the respondents true or highly.
Table 2 shows that most respondents have rated judgmental terms true or highly true. That is, 76.6% (24.0% + 52.6%), 58.4% (18.2% + 40.2%), 57% (17.9% + 39.1%), 50.7% (24.0% + 26.7%), 70.8% (29.5% + 41.3%), 62.7% (17.3% + 45.4%), 62.6% (18.5% + 44.1%), 52% (14.3% + 37.7%), 64.4% (27.8% + 36.6%), and 77.1% (32.5% + 44.6%) of the respondents rated the terms Rebellious, Rude, Restless, Selfish, Stubborn, Distractive, Undermine others, Irresponsible, Careless, and Violent true or highly true respectively. The observations of the magnitude of the percentages show that the terms Violent (77.1%), Rebellious (76.6%), and Stubborn (70.8%) were rated by relatively higher proportion of the respondents.
The results in Table 3 depict that all the three components of storm and stress (conflict provoking behaviors, emotionality, and risk taking behaviors) do significantly and positively correlate with teachers' stereotypic conceptions of the sources of these behaviors. That is, the correlation coefficients for conflict provoking behaviors and conception, emotionality and conception, and risk taking behavior and conception are .354, .527, and .444 respectively. As can be seen, emotionality has highest magnitude of correlation coefficient while conflict provoking behaviors have least magnitude of the three components of adolescent storm and stress.
As shown in Table 4, the three components of storm and stress (emotionality of adolescents, their conflict provoking behaviors, and their risk behaviors) have statistically significant combined contributions to the development of stereotypic beliefs of the respondents F(3,359) = 76.355, P< 0.05). Accordingly, 39 percent of variance is accounted for by the three categories of adolescent storm and stress in the stereotypic belief of the teachers.
The results in Table 5 show that each category of adolescent storm and stress has significantly contributed to the development of the stereotypic beliefs of the sources of these behaviors. Emotionality has highest contribution (Beta = .527, t(258) = 11.774, P < 0.05), followed by risk taking behaviors (Beta=.444, t(259) = 9.406, P < 0.05) which is again followed by conflict provoking behaviors (Beta = .354, t(260) = 1.185, P < 0.05. About 28%, 20%, and 12% of the variance are accounted for by emotionality, risky behaviors, and conflict provoking behaviors respectively in the stereotypic belief of the teachers.
Regression Equation for the model: Conception = 64.841-.691x E+.683 x RTB+.776 x CPB
The results in Table 6 depict that none of the calculated t-values is significant. Therefore, majority of the studied teachers do not vary in their stereotypic belief about the sources of adolescent storm and stress. Similar to the results in Table 6, none of the calculated F results in Table 7 is significant. That is, the respondents' stereotypic belief about sources of adolescent stormy and stressful behaviors do not vary with age F (2, 357)= .839, P > 0.05; field of study F(6, 355) = 1.634, P > 0.05; stage of adolescents lived with F(2, 200) = .410, P > 0.05; and self-perceived professional effectiveness F(3, 348) = 0.759, P > 0.05.
The findings of this study (Table 1) shows that most of the studied teachers have fairly high level of experience of storm and stress in Ethiopian adolescents as a group. Even though these data need to be supported by data from adolescents themselves to make bold conclusion, they can give strong clue of the prevalence of storm and stress in Ethiopian adolescents, at least in those observed by the population of this study. So, one can reasonably say that the study is in support of the view that adolescent storm and stress is a reality in adolescents, not a myth/fiction simply attached to this age group. Similar findings were also documented by several researchers (Coleman, 1990; Arnnet, 1999; Laursen, Coy, & Collins, 1998; Paikoff & Brooks-Gunn, 1991; Smetana, 1989; Larson & Ham, 1993; Larson & Richards, cited in Arnnet, 1999; Moffitt, 1993) in the area.
Most respondents (Table 2) attributed the stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescents to the negative judgmental words presented to them in the second instrument. This indicates that most of the respondents lack knowledge of the real source of these behaviors in adolescent and, hence, have high level of stereotypic belief about the reasons behind adolescent storm and stress. Hence, it is likely that these teachers are more of authoritarian in their approach to adolescents instead of using friendly discussion and advisory techniques to correct their disruptive behaviors, which are rooted in sources out of their control. This trend was found by Ayalew Shibeshi (1996) 15 years back that most of Ethiopian junior and senior secondary school teachers were characterized by hostile approach to their students. The high level of the existence of adolescent storm and stress indicated by the teachers (Table 1) is also the reflection of this trend. That is, teachers might have been hostile in their approach to the adolescents and this, as also asserted by Bandura, cited in King (2004) might have led them to be more aggressive in their approach to the teachers, which, in turn, might have caused the teacher judge them negatively.
The results (Table 3) show that the levels of all the three components of storm and stress are significantly and positively related to the level of teachers' stereotypic belief of the sources of these behaviors (conflict provoking behavior, r = .35**; emotionality, r = .53**; and risk taking behavior, r = .44**). This shows that the higher the level of adolescent storm and stress, the more the likelihood for the teachers to maintain stereotypic belief or, reversely, the higher the level of stereotypic belief the more likelihood for the teachers to mistreat the adolescents and aggravate stormy and stressful behaviors in them. This again further worsens the relationship between the two parties and vicious circle continues that way with destructive effect on adolescents. As revealed by the conducted regression analysis (Table 4), the three components of adolescent storm and stress jointly predicted the level of teachers' stereotypic belief about the reasons behind this problem. This indicates that (given that the teachers lack proper knowledge of the sources of the problem) the higher the level of adolescent storm and stress, the more the likelihood for the teachers to maintain stereotypic belief.
The next question pertains to the relative prediction of each component of adolescent storm and stress. Multiple regressions (Table 5) depicted that each of the three components has statistically significant adjusted beta value indicating that it independently predicts the stereotypic belief of the teachers. According to these results, the higher the emotional volatility, risk taking tendencies, and conflict provoking behaviors of adolescents the teachers observe / experience the more likely they are to hold stereotypic belief of the sources of adolescent storm and stress in this age group. So, according to these findings, frequent observations of and experience with these components of storm and stress in the adolescents significantly contributed to the development of stereotypic belief of these teachers.
The major problem with such negative image of adolescents among adults like teachers is that the more they view adolescents negatively, the more likely they will be authoritarian in their approach to this age group. Such approach to adolescents, in turn, may lead this group to aggression against adults putting more distance between the two. Such unfavorable situation again may lead adolescents to the generalization that adults are anti-adolescent people and no need of obeying them while in reality adolescents essentially need supports and guidance of adults.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
The Ethiopian adolescent encountered by most of the studied upper primary school teachers are characterized by fairly high level of adolescent storm and stress. Most of the teachers have wrong understanding of the sources of the stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescent. Teachers' Stereotypic belief (wrong conception) of the source of stormy and stressful behaviors of adolescents can be attributed to their observation of these behaviors in this age group. The studied upper primary school teachers seem to have similar level of stereotypic belief about the reason behind adolescent storm and stress irrespective of their demographic background variables.
This study gives clues to the need for Leaders Of Upper Primary Schools, Woreda Education Offices, and Zonal Education Departments, in collaboration with Psychology Experts (especially with Developmental Psychologists), to regularly design short term training programs for upper primary school teachers on the development and characteristics of adolescents. Further, the findings of the regression analysis have important massage for the importance of counseling services in school settings for both teachers and students. The study also indicates the need for those higher institutions training teachers for this level of education to include a course on adolescent development in their training programs. The findings of this study cannot be taken for granted to make final generalization. So, additional studies seem to be desirable to generate a set of comprehensive nationwide baseline data in this area.
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Received: June 07, 2015
Revised: December 15, 2015
Accepted: May 26, 2016
Aseffa Tafa, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Adama Science and Technology University, Ethiopia
Table 1: Frequencies and Percentages of the Respondents regarding the Level of Existence Adolescent Storm and Stress HT T S. Items Fr % Fr % No. Conflict Provoking Behaviors 1 Disobedient 84 23.1 169 46.6 2 Inconsistent 142 39.1 145 39.9 3 Breaking rules & norms 97 26.7 98 27.0 Emotionality 4 Awkward 60 16.5 161 44.4 5 Anxious 72 19.8 137 37.7 6 Insecure 69 19.0 112 30.9 7 Confused 46 12.7 139 38.3 8 Easily become angry 133 36.6 147 40.5 9 Stressed 65 17.9 132 36.4 10 Easily despaired 57 15.7 156 43.0 11 Depressed 41 11.3 90 24.8 Risk Taking Behavior 12 Impulsive 58 16.0 109 30.0 13 Smoke 59 16.3 106 29.2 14 Drink 62 17.1 125 34.4 15 Promiscuous 120 33.1 108 29.8 16 Take narcotics 58 16.0 122 33.6 UN F S. Items Fr % Fr % No. Conflict Provoking Behaviors 1 Disobedient 60 16.5 37 10.2 2 Inconsistent 44 12.1 26 7.2 3 Breaking rules & norms 99 27.3 39 10.7 Emotionality 4 Awkward 81 22.3 49 13.5 5 Anxious 83 22.9 50 14.0 6 Insecure 68 18.7 89 24.5 7 Confused 86 23.7 73 20.1 8 Easily become angry 44 12.1 30 8.3 9 Stressed 83 22.9 56 15.4 10 Easily despaired 81 22.3 59 16.3 11 Depressed 75 20.7 115 31.7 Risk Taking Behavior 12 Impulsive 88 24.2 90 24.8 13 Smoke 90 24.8 65 17.9 14 Drink 85 23.4 56 15.4 15 Promiscuous 77 21.2 29 8.0 16 Take narcotics 115 31.7 38 10.5 HF Total S. Items Fr % Fr % No. Conflict Provoking Behaviors 1 Disobedient 13 3.6 363 100 2 Inconsistent 6 1.7 363 100 3 Breaking rules & norms 30 8.3 363 100 Emotionality 4 Awkward 12 3.3 363 100 5 Anxious 21 5.6 363 100 6 Insecure 25 6.9 363 100 7 Confused 19 5.2 363 100 8 Easily become angry 9 2.5 363 100 9 Stressed 27 7.4 363 100 10 Easily despaired 10 2.8 363 100 11 Depressed 42 11.6 363 100 Risk Taking Behavior 12 Impulsive 18 5.0 363 100 13 Smoke 43 11.8 363 100 14 Drink 35 9.6 363 100 15 Promiscuous 29 8.0 363 100 16 Take narcotics 30 8.3 363 100 Note: HT = Highly True, T = True, UN = Undecided, F = False, HF = Highly False, Fir = Frequency Table 2: The extent to which the respondents associate the stereotypic judgmental adjectives with adolescents HT T S. Items Fr % Fr % No. 1 Rebellious 87 24.0 191 52.6 2 Rude 66 18.2 148 40.2 3 Restless 65 17.9 142 39.1 4 Selfish 97 24.0 108 26.7 5 Stubborn 107 29.5 150 41.3 6 Distractive 70 17.3 184 45.4 7 Undermine others 67 18.5 160 44.1 8 Irresponsible 52 14.3 137 37.7 9 Careless 101 27.8 133 36.6 10 Violent 118 32.5 162 44.6 UD F HF Total S. Fr % Fr % Fr % Fr % No. 1 61 16.8 17 4.7 7 1.9 363 100 2 88 24.2 50 13.8 11 3.0 363 100 3 76 20.9 59 16.3 21 5.8 363 100 4 62 17.1 75 20.7 21 5.8 363 100 5 53 14.6 45 12.4 8 2.2 363 100 6 56 15.4 40 11.0 13 3.6 363 100 7 72 19.8 52 14.3 12 3.3 363 100 8 86 23.7 67 18.5 21 5.8 363 100 9 54 14.9 60 16.5 15 4.1 363 100 10 45 12.4 28 7.7 10 2.8 363 100 Note: HT = Highly True, T = True, UN = Undecided, F = False, HF = Highly False, Fr = Frequency Table 3: Association between adolescent storm and stress and the stereotypic belief of the teachers Sum of Sum of Conflict Conception Provoking Behaviors Conception Correlation - Sig. (2-tailed) N 363 Conflict Correlation .354 ** - Provoking Sig. (2-tailed) .000 Behaviors N 363 363 Emotionality Correlation .527 ** .231 ** Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 N 363 363 Risk Taking Correlation .444 ** .388 ** Behavior Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000 N 363 363 Sum of Emotion Sum of Risk Taking Behavior Conception Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Conflict Correlation Provoking Sig. (2-tailed) Behaviors N Emotionality Correlation - Sig. (2-tailed) N 363 Risk Taking Correlation .293 ** - Behavior Sig. (2-tailed) .000 N 363 363 ** Correlation is significant at 0.01 (2-tailed) Table 4: Summary of Regression Analysis on Combined contribution of the three components of adolescent storm and stress Model SS MS df F Regression 5879.167 1959.722 3 Residual 9214.128 25.666 359 76.355 Total 15093.295 362 Model P Sign [R.sup.2] Effect Size Regression Residual 0.05 0.000 .390 (39%) .639 Total Table 5: Summary of Regression Analysis on the Relative contribution of three components of adolescent storm and stress Unstandardized Standardized Coefficients Coefficients Model B SE Beta (Constant) 17.552 1.645 .527 Emotionality .691 .059 (Constant) 25.071 1.265 .444 Risk Taking Behavior .683 .073 (Constant) 22.200 2.032 .354 Conflict Provoking .776 .108 Behaviors Model t Sign [R.sup.2] (Constant) 10.668 .000 .275(28%) Emotionality 11.774 .000 (Constant) 19.815 .000 .195(20%) Risk Taking Behavior 9.406 .000 (Constant) 10.923 .000 .123(12%) Conflict Provoking 7.185 .000 Behaviors Table 6: Mean comparisons for checking whether or not teachers ' level of stereotypic belief vary with the indicated variables (t-test) Independent Categories Dependent N Means Variable Variable Sex of Male Conception 74 36.5000 respondents Female 278 36.6583 Marital Single 118 36.8729 Status Married 225 36.5956 Rural-urban Rural 299 36.6087 Disparity Urban 60 36.5667 Living or not Yes 208 36.9567 living with No 153 36.1438 Adolescents Independent Categories Std t df Sig2- Variable tailed Sex of Male 6.43460 -.186 350 .852 respondents Female 6.52032 Marital Single 6.40185 .376 341 .707 Status Married 6.53568 Rural-urban Rural 6.35135 .046 357 .963 Disparity Urban 7.02626 Living or not Yes 6.62691 1.181 359 .239 living with No 6.23701 Adolescents Table 7: Mean comparison for checking whether or not teachers ' level of stereotypic beliefs varies with the indicated Demographic Variables Independent Categories Dependent N Means Variable Variable 20-25 106 36.0472 Age 26-40 215 37.0233 41-65 39 36.4359 Total 360 36.6722 Field of Study Natu. Science 81 36.0617 Social Science 56 35.6786 Language 71 37.7606 Education 92 36.9783 Business 26 34.6154 Technology Conception 24 36.9583 Hp 12 39.7500 Total 362 36.6464 Stage Of Early Adolescent 50 36.2200 Adolescents Middle Adolescent 56 36.8929 Lived With Late Adolescent 97 37.2680 Total 203 36.9064 Self Fair 2 38.5000 Perceived Good 36 36.4722 Professional Very Good 179 37.1676 Effectiveness Excellent 135 36.1111 Total 352 36.6989 Independent Categories Std F df Variable 20-25 6.68386 Age 26-40 6.46590 .839 2 41-65 5.78926 Total 6.45993 Field of Study Natu. Science 6.83986 Social Science 6.95468 Language 6.43087 Education 5.54498 1.634 6 Business 5.85202 Technology 7.95356 Hp 4.35107 Total 6.45005 Stage Of Early Adolescent 7.27672 Adolescents Middle Adolescent 7.07024 .410 2 Lived With Late Adolescent 6.03379 Total 6.62848 Self Fair 2.12132 Perceived Good 6.50927 Professional Very Good 6.00233 .759 3 Effectiveness Excellent 6.97294 Total 6.42956 Independent Categories Sig Variable 20-25 Age 26-40 357 .433 41-65 Total Field of Study Natu. Science Social Science Language Education 355 .137 Business Technology Hp Total Stage Of Early Adolescent Adolescents Middle Adolescent 200 .664 Lived With Late Adolescent Total Self Fair Perceived Good Professional Very Good 348 .518 Effectiveness Excellent Total
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|Publication:||Indian Journal of Community Psychology|
|Date:||Sep 1, 2016|
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