Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Correlational Indicators of Psychosocial Adjustment among Senior Secondary School Students in Ogun State, Nigeria

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Correlational Indicators of Psychosocial Adjustment among Senior Secondary School Students in Ogun State, Nigeria

Article excerpt


Getting promoted from junior secondary school to senior secondary school might not be an easy task to confront. The demands of a senior secondary school could be much more tasking than that of the junior school. This transition period could be highly demanding and stressful for some students' (Perry, 2002). Many of the students' in this situation easily get distracted, lose focus, confused, and drop in usual academic performance, while some may even withdraw. These symptoms of transition could be due to the challenges faced by students, especially in their early years in senior school. This stage in adolescent academic advancement demands more ability to cope and adjust to social and psychological demands. These demands include forming new relationships, adjusting existing relationships with parents and family, learning new strategies in the new academic environment and planning for academic future. They need to learn to be independent. If they fail to cope with the new challenges, this may affect their academic performance before leaving secondary school.

Adolescence is characterised by the complexity of developmental task. The adolescents may not be prepared to deal with the demands of the new situations and contexts where they occur. If some could deal with the challenges and demands of developmental, academic and social task with no significant psychological disturbance, others may experience profound alteration of their psychosocial adjustment. This could emerge because the adaptation affects the demands of the new tasks and provokes a probable exhaustion of their emotional, cognitive and social resources (Bizarro, 1999; 2000; Compas, 2003). The unfavourable consequence that this process may result in is that the changes in psychosocial adjustment could be the precursors of more severe psychological disorders (Dryfoos, 2007). In fact, some authors note that the changes of psychosocial adjustment could be the first signs of more severe emotional or behavioural problems (Geldard & Geldard, 2002; Crockett & Petersen, 2003; Weissberg & Kuster, 2007).

Personal and social determinants governing a successful transition from childhood to adulthood have been at the centre of much theorizing over many years. Particular attention has been paid to the study of individual and social factors that may help adolescents to cope with major stressors connected to a period of life characterized by multiple challenges, and to avoid engaging in deviant and risky activities (Rutter, 1987; Cairns & Cairns, 2004). Concerns about potential risks have often led to a primary focus on the critical aspects of the adolescent transition, with the goal of preventing undesirable outcomes. Scholars and practitioners are increasingly realizing the fact that major progress towards sustaining youth successful development could come from a perspective aimed at building competencies and correcting weaknesses. As remarked by Segerstrom, Taylor, Kemeny and Fahey (2008), most of the task of prevention in this new century should be to create a science of human strength with the mission of understanding and learning how to foster the virtues and skills of young people.

The new branch of positive psychology calls for theoretical conceptualizations and practical initiatives directed towards promoting adolescents' psychosocial adjustment, given the assumption that even problematic aspects of individual functioning may be better addressed by strengthening the positive ones. One begins to wonder what could be the solution to adolescent challenges as they are gradually approaching senior school as well as adulthood (Bandura, 2007).

Among adolescents, optimism has been found to be related to positive adjustment to new scholastic environments (Davis & Yates 2002), intentions to avoid unsafe sex (Caprara & Gerbino, 2001) and avoidance of substance use. Various studies have shown strong relations among life satisfaction, self-esteem and optimism, and similar patterns of relations between them and various aspects of individual adjustment (Scheier, Carver, & Bridges, 2001; Campbell, 2006; Diener, 2004; Lerman, 2007). …

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