EFFECTS OF SEQUENTIAL DECISION-MAKING AND COGNITIVE REFORMATION METHODS ON STRESS AMONG FEMALE STUDENTS OF INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN KANO STATE, NIGERIA

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EFFECTS OF SEQUENTIAL DECISION-MAKING AND COGNITIVE REFORMATION METHODS ON STRESS AMONG FEMALE STUDENTS OF INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN KANO STATE, NIGERIA  

ABSTRACT

The study examined the effects of Sequential Decision-Making and Cognitive-Restructuring Techniques on Stress among Female students of Colleges of Education in Kano State, Nigeria. Quasi-experimental Design involving Pre-test, Post-test Group Design was employed. The population of the study comprised of NCE II female students in Kano state, identified with stress symptoms. A sample of 28 respondents made up of fourteen (14) married and single were assigned into two (2) treatment groups of Sequential Decision Making and Cognitive Restructuring Techniques for seven (7) and eleven (11) weeks, respectively. The data was collected using Stress Assessment Inventory (SAI) adapted from Balarabe 2007. Nine (9) research questions were answered and an equal number of nine (9) hypotheses, tested at 0.05 significant level. Mean and Standard Deviation were used for research questions while t-test and Analysis of Variance were for testing the hypotheses. The results revealed that Sequential Decision Making Technique had significant effect on stress among single female students; Sequential Decision Making Technique was significantly effective in reducing stress among married female students; Cognitive Restructuring Technique was similarly effective in reducing stress among married female students. No significant effect of Cognitive Restructuring Technique on stress among single female students; Sequential Decision Making Technique was significantly effective in reducing stress among married and single female students; No significant effect of Cognitive Restructuring Technique on stress among married and single female students; There was significant relative effects of Sequential Decision Making and Cognitive Restructuring Techniques on stress among married and single female students; Sequential Decision Making and Cognitive Restructuring Techniques were similarly effective in reducing stress among married female students; There was significant relative effects of Sequential Decision Making and Cognitive Restructuring Techniques on stress among single female students. It was recommended among others that Counsellors, Psychologists and Social workers should be encouraged to use Sequential Decision Making and Cognitive Restructuring Techniques on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

CHAPTER ONE                                                                                       

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study. 

Stress is today recognised among the most global alarming problems, for it can exert a major, often undesirable influence on health. Stress occurs in circumstances where the pressure to perform certain tasks becomes greater than the resources available to perform them. Hence, any internal or external environmental change or stimulus that disturbs homeostasis which under certain condition could result to illness or disease is referred to as stress. In other words, stress comes about as a result of perceived demands or threats in situations appraised to exceed resources or bodies‟ psychological responses. Thus, it is in most cases an unpleasant state of emotional and psychological arousal that occurs in situations which are perceived as threatening to wellbeing. The prevalence of stress in educational institutions is therefore of great concern because it could lead to illnesses that can affect the students‟ wellbeing and academic achievement, be it physically, mentally, emotionally, socially or even spiritually.

From the experience of the researcher being a teacher and also a counselor in a tertiary institution, it was observed that students, especially females are generally predisposed to numerous stressful experiences both at home and school. Stress disparity with regards to gender as reiterated by Melanie (2005) also goes in line with the researcher‟s observation because females seem to be more predisposed to stressful conditions. Unlike their male counterparts, their expected role of societal development could lead them to numerous stressful circumstances for instance, when a number of children and youth get indulged into various forms of vices such as robbery, substance abuse, truancy, fraud, prostitution and other promiscuous acts like lesbianism and homosexuality. They could be wholesomely accountable or blamed for being „incapable‟ of nurturing these future leaders appropriately. That could also be why they have been generally noticed to experience stress related environmental risks that include financial hardships or academic pressure as well as personal related risks like relationship difficulties, deaths of loved ones or serious illnesses of close ties.

The predisposed stressful encounters as the researcher observed include the monotonous nature of academic challenges related to numerous assignments of various courses from Technical,  Commercial, Arts, Sciences and Physical and Health Education departments, change of venues, preparations for excursions/tours and the rigorous readjustments of lecture hours. As such, the limited time provided is skillfully managed for prayers and feeding. Hence, no time is left for them to relax in order to have some relief from stress.

Challenges related to demands on time, perceived lack of support from departments, financial pressure, competition, fear of failure and interpersonal problems are similarly among the causal factors. Inadequate seats, noise pollution and excessive heat coupled with stingy smells of body ordour as a result of improper ventilation and congestion due to over-population as well as lack of sufficient venues are equally contributory and can apparently be stressful and likewise, disrupt the learning atmosphere. Additional noted stressors being experienced relate to unfavourable weather, rapid growth in adolescence, menopause, rigorous rules and regulations, transportation problems, insufficient power supply and also inappropriate sanitary services.

Through observation, many students are effortlessly identified with some stress mental symptoms of worries, confusion, disorientation, indecision and loss of sense of humour as well as physical symptoms like frequent illnesses, dry mouth, muscle aches, flu and weight gain or loss. Similar stress behavioural signs exhibited include nail biting, anxiety, appetite changes, impatience, poor academic performance, poor personal hygiene, impaired speech, poor time management, nervous cough, withdrawing from relationships, frequent crying, poor eye contact, negative self talk like pessimistic thinking or self criticism and also mind traps such as unrealistic expectations and rigid thinking. The mood signs they encounter also relate to nervousness and irritable feelings, while the psychosocial signs involve sadness, depression, helplessness, hopelessness, competition, suspicion, manipulative tendencies and gossips. Emotional signs on the other hand include frustration, fear, guilt, morbidity, jealousy, shame, embarrassment, tearfulness and hatred while imagery signs involve losing control, failure, humiliation and poor self-image. Allergic reactions, skin problems, chronic fatigue, exhaustion and burn-out are among the biologically associated signs. From the afore mentioned negative health effects, it could be assumed that, as stress becomes persistent, the students may become less confident or fearful in their academic and other life activities, which could significantly distract them from the tasks at hand, to the detriment of good performance.

To be precise, married N.C.E. female students are beset with a number of additional stressful challenges as a result of combining studies with marital, family and other numerous assigned daily life-accountabilities. Through discussion, it was revealed that issues related to rivalry palaver among co-wives, sharing of toilets, sitting rooms, kitchens, housemaids or drivers could as well be stressful. Similar predisposed contributory factors as they further disclosed involve the marital ordained duties, pre natal complications, post natal responsibilities and the rigorous and culturally imposed house-hold chores, especially in the absence of nannies. A nursing mother for example, may even take the trouble of carrying her newly born baby to school along with her. The frequent participations in outdoor ceremonial activities as was observed could similarly be accountable, for they are not expected to give any excuses. Hence, accomplishing these assigned rewarding and ordained responsibilities and more especially the intense pressure and accumulations of these culturally imposed accountabilities can greatly jeopardize their academic activities as well as general health and wellbeing. That is why stress is believed to occur as a result of a mismatch between what an individual aspires to do and what he/she is capable of doing.

The single female students as was similarly indicated are often engrossed in stressful encounters which could considerably cause them feelings of pressure, strain, tension or dysfunctional behavioral troubles. One major example observed relates to improper care as a result of the outstanding crises inclined to broken homes, in the absence of either of the two biological parents or reliable substitutes. The benefits of motherly emotional affection for instance, are denied to those living in their paternal residents. They could as well be overburdened with domestic chores or exposed to risks associated with societal vices or similar abuses, thereby endangering their morality. Thus, those under complete motherly custody could also experience similar stress inclined risks of inappropriate up keep or neglect due to lack of fatherly emotional affection and general care or as a result of financial constrains. The trouble of appropriate decision on selection of husbands according to them could as well lead to stress manifestations that can in the long run result to ill-health and academic challenges, since stress is generally known to disturb individuals‟ overall performances both mentally and physically.

Another significant factor as the researcher perceived relates to the observed patriarchal nature of the African culture where females are trained to be feeble and domesticated. This is unlike their male counterparts, whose authority is regarded as supreme (Hake, 1972) and (Ma‟ruf, 2002). The supremacy is however misused for some of these students, as noted were denied the rights to decision making, even on selections of academic courses. They comply to substitute their courses of interest through directives from their fathers, husbands or other significant male caretakers that are seen as the final authorities, despite meeting the admission requirements. This clearly implies ignoring the most crucial aspects of their personality traits of aptitude and interests, which Fortner (2002) considered to have strong relationship with stress. Thus, the bitter experience of denying them the right to make decisions through identifying and choosing alternative options that best fit their life goals, objectives, preferences and values could eventually predispose them to stress, since it has been associated with various damaging effects on general health and wellbeing (Auerbach & Grandling, 2008).From the afore-mentioned factors and despite their feminine feelings of purpose, self-satisfaction and accomplishment, it can be accepted that both the married and single female students could be more predisposed to stressors, when compared to the rest of their student counterparts.

 

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Students are in dire need of stress treatment mechanisms as a result of the tedious tasks associated with academic, domestic and other daily life rigorous schedules. However, both school counselors and the students as well fail to pay considerable attention to towards this alarming health inclined problem. The counselors also tend to forget the significant relationship between effective learning and adequate provision of stress treatment skills, both at home and school. They cease to realize that students need suitable environments that ensure both physical and mental health for successful academic outcome. To be precise, students in general and especially females, with particular reference to their married and single counterparts are faced with numerous academic and daily life tight schedules that require considerable attention for effective learning and proper accomplishments of their daily life accountabilities.

The need for appropriate decision-making in various aspects of life is very essential. It enables people to have focus through effective use of better choices which could assist significantly in treating negative stressful conditions. That is why many situations arise that require making sequences of actions to bring about favourable solutions. This describes the SDM technique as a process that requires appropriate selections of strategic actions on both short and long term consequences. It also implies the technique‟s efficacy in identifying and selecting the best alternative choices that fit goals, objectives, preferences and values. SDM additionally improves relaxation, increase in sense of purpose, confidence in tasks accomplishments, appropriate use of time and improved mental and physical health, which makes it become considerably recognized in numerous spheres of scientific fields, clinical settings, human physical body images and dieting, among others (Miller &Davis, 1996).

Since SDM technique is a useful tool applied in numerous spheres of researches and also a recognised formulated and dynamic decision system where behavior unfolds over time under the influence of the decision maker‟s plans, the NCE married and single female students that are often predisposed to numerous stressful tasks can benefit much from it by examining their complexities for appropriate solutions. They can be assisted to treat their stress both at home and school through appropriate application of individually and well designed sequential formats. However, the major problem with the technique is that it is more inclined to complex scientific researches, long term planned health related projects and gigantic marketing schemes.

In the same vein, the students can as well receive effective CR stress psychological interventions like exploration, reflection, coping skills, assessments, relaxation, homework and communication training by breaking their stress devastating thought patterns, emotions, physical feelings and actions into smaller parts in order to make them easier to deal with. In other words, through these effective and combined cognitive and behavioural CR therapeutic approaches, the students can adequately identify, modify, challenge or change their irrational and distorted stress thought patterns (cognition) as well as responses (bahaviours) both in and out of school settings.              These can essentially help in treating their stress as well as improve their general health and academic achievements. It is against this background that the researcher wants to find out the effects of both techniques on stress among married and single female students in Kano State colleges of education.

 

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The study was guided by the following objectives:

  1. To examine the Effect of SDMT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  2. To examine the Effect of SDMT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  3. To find out the Effect of CRT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  4. To find out the Effect of CRT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  5. To determine the Effect of SDM Technique on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  6. To determine the Effect of CR Technique on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  7. To examine the relative Effects of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  8. To examine the relative Effects of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  9. To examine the relative Effects of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

 

1.4 Research Questions

The research questions are as follows:

  1. What is the Effect of SDMT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  2. What is the Effect of SDMT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  3. What is the Effect of CRT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  4. What is the Effect of CRT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  5. What is the Effect of SDM Technique on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  6. What is the Effect of CRT Technique on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  7. What is the relative Effect of SDM and CRT Techniques on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  8. What is the relative Effect of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education?
  9. What is the relative Effect of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education?

 

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses were tested:

Ho.1 There is no significant Effect of SDMT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho. 2 There is no significant Effect of SDMT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.3 There is no significant Effect of CRT on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.4There is no significant Effect of CRT on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.5 There is no significant Effect of SDMT on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.6 There is no significant Effect of CRT on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.7 There is no relative Effect of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.8 There is no relative Effect of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.

Ho.9 There is no relative Effect of SDM and CR Techniques on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

1.6 Basic Assumptions of the Study

The study was conducted based on the following assumptions:

  1. That SDMT may affect the stress of single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  2. That SDMT may affect the stress of married female students in Kano state colleges of education
  3. That CRT may affect the stress of married female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  4. That CRT may affect the stress of single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  5. That SDMT may have effect on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  6. That CRT may have effect on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  7. That SDM and CR Techniques may have relative effects on stress among married and single female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  8. That SDM and CR Techniques may have relative effects on stress among married female students in Kano state colleges of education.
  9. That SDM and CR Techniques may have relative effects on stress among single female students in Kano state colleges of education.

 

1.7 Significance of the Study

The findings of the study will hopefully be beneficial to the female students, counselors, educators, curriculum planners, lecturers, families as well as researchers.

 

For enhancement of their academic success and general health and wellbeing, this study is also expected to provide an insight in to stress, with particular reference to general awareness on its negative effects among the married and single female students in colleges of education.

Furthermore, looking at the challenges faced by female students, the findings could hopefully enhance stress management among them, especially by considering their expected role of becoming teachers, in the near future. Thus, they could hopefully cope and adjust to stressful environmental circumstances inclined to the previously discussed problems like those of domestication, the patriarchal nature of the African culture, denial of right or freedom to appropriate decision making even on career and occupational choices as well as other personasocial concerns, combining studies with family responsibilities, financial pressure and also rapid growth in adolescence and menopause. Thus, they could hopefully be able to cope with their stress in accomplishing their daily life schedules both at home and school. This in essence can enable them to experience the beneficial effects of increase in sense of purpose, appropriate use of time/management, improved mental and physical health as well as improved relaxation and self confidence.

The study is similarly hoped to facilitate educators and curriculum planners to include both SDM and CR techniques into the curriculum in order to assist students realize stress negative effects and coping strategies which could essentially improve academic performance among others.

By considering the numerous aforementioned problems inclined to female education, the students could hopefully be helped by their counsellors to manage their stress through these techniques because implementations of such new findings could significantly reduce redundancy and likewise serve to them as motivators. Such variety of techniques could as well give them more opportunity in helping their clients for they could feel more engrossed in their helping profession.

Lecturers could similarly benefit if the students happen to cope with their stressful encounters adequately, for they can be able to control their large numbers which could lead to improved teacher-student relationship.

The conducive stress treated atmosphere could as well enhance their families‟ mental and physical health in the sense that they could (to some extent) be able to accomplish their tasks more effectively within their family cycles.

Researchers may also find the study significant when it comes to reviewing of related studies, among others.

 

1.8 Scope and Delimitation of the Study:

The scope of this study was to find out the effects of SDM and CR techniques on stress, which is one of the alarming health-inclined problems among female students of the Colleges of

Education in Kano state. Specifically, the study was limited to investigating effects of SDM and CR as techniques of stress treatment through group counseling exercises despite the fact that other techniques like Rational Self Analysis, Stress Inoculation Training, Goal Setting Technique and Problem Solving could ideally be equally effective. To obtain the sample of the study, only N.C.E. II married and single female students were selected from two COE in Kano state out of the existing three (3),though many students within the state‟s rural and urban institutions as well as beyond are found exhibiting some stress symptoms.

The data was collected within seven (7) and eleven (11) weeks for SDM and CR

techniques, respectively.

EFFECTS OF SEQUENTIAL DECISION-MAKING AND COGNITIVE REFORMATION METHODS ON STRESS AMONG FEMALE STUDENTS OF INSTITUTIONS OF EDUCATION IN KANO STATE, NIGERIA  

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