Peer Group Counselling and School Influence on Adolescents' Self-Concept

Article excerpt

The study focused on the influence of peer group counselling and school influence on the self-concept of adolescents' in Nigerian secondary schools. Sixty-eight Senior Secondary School II students from three schools--a boys' school, a girls' school and a co-educational school in Benin City, participated in the study. A pre-test, post-test control group experimental design was employed for the study. A 40-item self-concept scale adapted from Akinboye (1977) APDI, was validated and used to measure the self-concept of the participants. The internal reliability for the scale is reported to be .70 (Cronbach's alpha), and the test-retest reliability was .87. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested at 0.05 level of significance. Results of the statistical analysis of data indicated that peer group counselling had a significant positive effect on the self-concept of the participants (t-value of 6.58 is greater than the critical t-value of 1.96, df, 66). Similarly, school type was found to have a significant effect on the self-concept of adolescents--girls in the single-sex school had significantly higher self-concept than girls in the co-educational school. (F-value of 5.024 with df (3, 52). A significant interactive effect on self-concept was found between the treatment and school type. This interaction was ordinal and did not qualify the main effects. Implications for counselling are discussed.


This study examined the effect of peer-group counselling on adolescent development of self-concept. Peer group counselling is a powerful intervention strategy with adolescent, since it is the power of the peer group that influences young people the most (Catty, Rosenbaum, Lafreniere, and Sutton, 2000). While there is the overall evidence for the efficacy of peer group counselling, as a positive force, in influencing the self-concept of adolescent development in literature. It is an area of research that needs attention and study among Nigerian adolescents because there are almost no intervention studies in the literature.

The school counsellor is central to all the participants involved in the education of the student. He/she has to meet the one-to-one needs of not only the 'students in need' but also of all the students. The role of the school counsellor is one that is growing with the times. As the society faces increasing challenges--financial, cultural and social, so do students, teachers and administrators. However, in spite of the services being rendered by the counsellors, maladaptive behaviours like lying, bullying, aggression, cultism and examination malpractice, among others, have remained prevalent in our secondary schools. Many of these actions are expressions of low self-concept (Bracken, 1996). One of the most promising interventions for school counsellors interested in making an impact on students' achievement and behaviour is group counselling (Brigman and Campbell, 2003). During adolescence, peer influence plays a significant role in the young person's life and typically replaces his/her social and leisure activities. Peer group counselling is a relationship among three or more persons of relatively same age and status in which all mutually seek positive outcomes in one another. One person acts as the facilitator/group leader. The use of peers as counsellors has been found to be effective. Lane (1997) reported positive effects of peer counselling on participants' knowledge, perceived self-efficacy and behaviour. Jeffrey and Reynolds (1994), Tobias and Myrick (1999), Carty, Rosenbaum, Lafreniere and Sutton (2000), Egbochuku and Obiunu (2005), among others, have reported better communication skills, increased confidence, academic achievement and positive changes in problem-behaviour students as some of the benefits of peer group counselling. Even with the learning-disabled, group counselling in collaboration with non-disabled peers made a positive impact on the students' self-concept (Elbaum and Vaughan, 1999)

Many of the successes and failures that people experience in many areas of life are closely related to the ways that they have learned to view themselves and their relationships with others. …


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