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EFFECTS OF RATIONAL SELF ANALYSIS AND COGNITIVE RESTRUCTURING COUNSELLING TECHNIQUES ON BULLYING BEHAVIOUR AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL STUDENTS IN LOKOJA, KOGI STATE, NIGERIA
1.1 Background to the Study
Bullying behaviour is a persistent and repeated negative action which is intended to intimidate, hurt another person in a weaker position, or the systematic abuse of power (Smith et al as cited in Owoyemi, 2012).
Townsend, Alan, Chikobvu, Carl and Gary (2012), said that bullying is generally defined as largely unprovoked, negative physical or psychological actions perpetrated repeatedly over time between bullies and victims. They said bullying can lead to fear of school, absenteeism, and stunted academic progress, which in turn are precursors to dropping out of school.
Owuamanam (2015) opined that bullying is a form of aggressive behaviour manifested by the use of force or coercion to affect others particularly when the behaviour is habitual and involves imbalance of power.
Eweniyi, Adeoye, Ayodele and Adebayo (2013), opined that bullying constitutes a significant threat to the mental, social and physical well being of school children. That it is an old phenomenon and worldwide problem, and has defied several efforts to curt it.
Thus, school bullying behaviour is a serious problem which has received considerable media attention. A National Survey in 2011 carried out at USA; found that twenty three percent (23%) of public school students (aged 12 – 18) reported bullying victimization (Roberts, Kemp, and Truman, 2013). Another National Survey in USA found that twenty eight percent (28%) of students (aged 12 – 18) reported being bullied on school property, and an estimated sixteen percent (16%) reported being bullied electronically in 2011 (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2012).
Bullying victims frequently experience depression, anxiety, low self esteem, school adjustment problems, academic difficulties, and suicidal behaviour (Duckworth and Follette, 2012; Albayrak, 2012). Being victimized or bullied generates psychosocial distress in children and adolescents, and victimization can be a precursor to emotional and behavioural disorders, low academic achievement, dropping out of school, and subsequently substance misuse. There has been increasing research interest in USA in the relationship between victimization and substance misuse (Radliff, Wheaton, Robinson, and Morris, 2012).
Tambawal and Umar (2017) were of the views in their study that bullying has effects on secondary school students in Nigeria. That bullying in schools in Nigeria was a phenomenon that has serious psychological consequences for victims and these include; low psychological well – being, poor school adjustment, psychological distress and physical illness. They opined that some of the major causes of bullying identified are; defective or wrong – upbringing of children, peer group influence among others. Again, they identified some of the effects of bullying as; fear and tension in victims, refusing to go to the school on the part of the victims amongst others. Thus, they recommended that every secondary school should have anti – bullying policies and to take appropriate measure to stamp it out.
Adegboyega, Jacob, Uyanne and Jacob (2016), reported that bullying behaviour was the most common form of violence in schools among secondary school students in Yagba West, Kogi State, Nigeria; That the school management should create conducive environment for students to feel safe and that victim of bullying should be encouraged to report and not to be stereotyped; and that cases of bullying should be referred to the school counsellors for proper, adequate and appropriate handling.
A growing body of National and International research in USA suggests that all types of bullying behaviour or victimization create a proximal risk for substance misuse among adolescents (Fekkes, 2016). In other words, youth who are bullied by their peers are at a heightened risk of alcohol, tobacco and drug use, although these associations vary, depending on gender, types of victimization or bullying behaviour (such as physical, mental) and types of substances (Mistral, 2016). Bullying victims suffer from internalizing problems more frequently than non – victims (Kaur, 2014). Victims can display internalizing problems because of a perceived lack of ability to change or improve their situation that reinforces feelings of depression, anxiety or hopelessness (Hong, Dallis, Sterzing, Choi and Smith, 2014).
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services (2017) said that there are two sources of federally collected data on youth bullying, namely: The 2014 – 2015 school crime supplement – PDF (National Centre for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) indicates that Nationwide, about 21% of students ages 12 – 18 experienced bullying. The 2015 Youth Risk Behaviour Surveillance System (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that nationwide, 20% of students in grades 9 – 12 report being bullied on school property in the 12 months preceding the survey.
Omoniyi (2013), reported that bullying behaviour was no doubt becoming a common feature and a nightmare in schools both in and outside Nigeria. It was a worrisome practice in schools because it infringes on the child‟s right to human dignity, privacy, freedom and security.
That the physical, emotional and educational consequences of bullying behaviour can never be underestimated; he further opined that bullying behaviour in schools have manifested characteristics on both the bullies and their victims as well as the psychosocial and psychological effects on the victims. That educators and other stakeholders should begin to address the problems of bullying and may encouraged a zero bullying tolerance within and outside the school community.
In Katsina State of Nigeria, it was reported by Isiaku (2016) that bullies usually threaten the teachers and other victims with dangerous weapons; and are normally involved in taking intoxicant substances which subsequently make them to exhibit unwanted behaviours and carried out nefarious or evil or immoral social ill acts.
In Lagos State of Nigeria, it was reported by Adeosun, Adegbohun, Jejeloye, Oyekule, Ogunlowo and Pedro (2015) that bullying victimization among students in the secondary schools resulted to a lot of emotional, behavioural and mental health problems. This was why Fareo (2015), said that bullying was a serious problem for people in the society and Nigeria at large. That it was a threat no school disregards or dismisses. That it can have negative consequences on the general school climate and on the right of students to learn in a safe environment without fear. That it can also have negative lifelong consequences both for students who bully and for their victims.
Rational Self Analysis which is a counselling technique helps in correcting cognitive errors emanating from psychological problems which ultimately affects perception of oneself, the world and future; and Cognitive Restructuring Counselling Techniques which helps in reshaping, reorienting and reorganizing one‟s thinking based on his or her emotions and behaviours; shall be employed to solving adequately, the problem of bullying behaviour among secondary school students. Therefore, the effectiveness of the rational self analysis and cognitive restructuring counselling techniques to this study cannot be overestimated since both techniques have been used by respective researchers to treat various cases of aggression, conduct disorder, addiction, anger, bullying, to mention but few of them. This is why Pierce (2016), said the main assumption of rational self analysis technique is that people contribute to their psychological problems by the way they interpret events. That their emotions stem mainly from their beliefs, evaluations, interpretations and reactions to life situations; rational self analysis technique assumes that cognitions (thoughts), emotions and behaviours interact significantly and have a reciprocal cause – and – effect relationship.
Rational self analysis postulates that people are born with a potential for both rational and irrational thinking. Therefore, humans have an inborn tendency toward growth and actualization; yet they often sabotage their movement toward growth due to self – defeating patterns they have learned. Thus, they originally learn irrational beliefs from significant others during childhood, and they actively reinforce these self – defeating beliefs by repetition, and by behaving as if they are useful. But it is not useful to blame themselves and others; instead, it is important that they learn how to accept themselves despite their imperfections. So, a major goal of rational self analysis technique is to achieve unconditional self – acceptance and unconditional acceptance of others; the more one is able to accept his or her self, the more likely he or she is to accept others. The therapeutic process of rational self analysis technique involves identifying irrational beliefs, and replacing such levels with more rational and effective ways of thinking. Hence, changing one‟s thinking results in changing one‟s emotional reactions to situations (Pierce, 2016). Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Association of Los Angeles (2017), viewed cognitive restructuring as a useful tool for understanding and reacting differently to the thinking patterns that negatively influence ones mood and behaviour. Consequently, the effectiveness of cognitive restructuring counselling technique cannot be underestimated because there are numerous methods of identifying and altering dysfunctional thought pattern. Generally, they all begin with identifying automatic thoughts, those thoughts which provide a running commentary to their experience. Instead of accepting all of these thoughts as accurate reflections of reality, the cognitive restructuring therapist helps the client to learn to think of these thoughts as guesses about what was really going on and consider alternate points of view. In this way, the client is able to develop a more balanced way of thinking about whatever is causing him or her distress. Owuamanam (2015) was of the view that there are many cases of bullying among students in Nigeria secondary schools and other school levels. That school administrators in their meetings with parents, for example at Parent – Teacher Association (PTA) meetings and other occasions opined that bullying was on the increase and warned that parents should cautioned their children. He went further to state that, bullying was a significant problem that can have impact on the physical and psychological health of those who are bullied. That there may be a commonality between delinquency and bullying in so much as many physical aggressive manifestations of bullying characterized delinquent behaviour. That the students who bully their peers at an early age may gain undue boldness and confidence to engaged in more anti – social acts. He concluded by saying that school bullying can interfere with students concentration in their studies which can lead to failure and eventual drop out. School bullying (2012) as cited in Owuamanam (2015) reviewed the statistics of bullying according to the American Psychological Association (APA) that approximately 40% to 80% of school age children experienced bullying at some point during their school careers. The following statistics illustrate the severity of bullying within classroom (School bullying as cited in Owuamanam, 2015). 20% to 40% of bullying victims actually reported being bullied. 70% of middle school and high school students experience bullying in school. 7% - 12% of bullies is habitual and poses a serious threat. 23% of 9th graders have carried a weapon to school recently. 5% - 15% of students are constantly bullied. 27% of students are bullied because of their refusal to engaged in common sexual practices; 25% of students encouraged bullying if not given proper education and support in anti–bullying techniques.
1.2 Statement of the Problem