1.1   Background to the Study

Many of the successes and failures that people experience in many areas of life are closely related to the way they have learned to view themselves and their relationships with others. Self-concept is learned, it is organized and it is dynamic. Self-concept is learned: No human being is born with a self-concept as far as we know. It gradually emerge in the early months of life and is shaped and reshaped through repeated perceived experiences, particularly with significant others. The fact that self-concept is learned, it has some important implications.

–      Self-concept is not instinctive, rather it is a social product that takes its root through experience and possesses relatively boundless potential for development and actualization.

–      Due to previous experiences and present perceptions, individuals may see themselves as different from the way others see them.

–      Individuals perceive different aspects of themselves at different times with varying degree of clarity.

–      Any experience which is inconsistent with one’s self-concept  may be perceived as a threat. The more the experiences, the more rigidly self-concept is organized to maintain and protect itself. An emotional problem thus arises when a person is unable to get rid of perceived experiences.

–      Faulty thinking patterns, create negative interpretations of oneself.

 Self- Concept is organized

Most researchers are of the opinion that self- concept has a generally stable quality that is characterized by orderliness and harmony, individuals maintains countless perceptions regarding one’s personal existence and each perception is orchestrated with all the others. It is this generally stable and organized quality of self-concept that gives consistency to the personality. This organized quality of self-concept is explained as follows.

–      Self concept requires consistency, stability and tends to resist change.  If self-concept changed readily, the individual would lack a consistent and dependable personality.

–       The more central a particular belief is to one’s self-concept, the more resistant one is to changing that belief.

–      Rome, they say, was not built in a day, neither is self-concept. That is to say, basic perception of oneself is quite stable, so change takes time.

–      Perceived success and failure impact on self-concept. Failure in a highly regarded area lowers evaluation in all other areas. In like manner, success in a prized area arises evaluations in other seemingly unrelated areas.

Self-concept is dynamic

To understand the active nature of self-concept, one has to imagine a gyrocompass: a continuously active system that dependably points to the “true north” of a person’s perceived existence. This guidance system does not only shape the way a person views oneself, others, and the entire world, but it also serves to direct actions and enables each person to take a consistent “stance” in life. Rather than view self-concept as the cause of behavior, it is better understood as the gyrocompass of human personality, providing consistency in personality and direction for behavior. The dynamic quality of self-concept argues that.

–      The world and things in it are not just perceived, they are perceived in relation to one’s self-concept.

–      Development of self-concept is a continuous process. In a healthy personality, there is constant assimilation of new ideas and expulsion of old   ideas throughout life.

–      Individuals strive to behave in a way that is in line with their self-concept no matter how helpful or hurtful to oneself or others.

–      Self-concept usually takes precedence over the physical body. Individuals will often sacrifice physical comfort and safety for emotional satisfaction.

–      Self-concept continuously guards itself against loss of self-esteem, for it is this loss that produce feelings of anxiety.

–      Self-concept must constantly defend itself from assault, growth opportunities are limited.

In other words, self-concept is the totality of a complex, organized and dynamic system of learned beliefs, attitude and opinions that each person holds to be true about his or her personal existence.

Students frequently display a decline in self-concept during elementary school and transition to middle level. This decrease represents and adaptive reaction to the overly positive self-perceptions that are characteristics by childhood. As adolescents transit from middle level to high school, their self-concept gradually grows. As a result, the freedom they get allows them greater opportunities to participate in activities  in which they are competent, and increased perspectives taking abilities enable them to gather more support from others by having in more socially acceptable ways.

According to (Harter, 1999), young children tend to over estimate their competence because they lack the cognitive maturity to critically evaluate their abilities  and to integrate information from multiple sources. As adolescents develop, they better understand  how other people view their skills and better distinguish  between their efforts and abilities. As a result, their self-perception becomes increasingly accurate.

According to (Baumeister et al., 2003) self-concept is frequently positively correlated with educational and social adjustments, but it appears to be a consequence rather than a cause of high achievements. This is to suggest that ability of the adolescents to adjust educationally and socially is a more effective means of boosting their self-concepts.

1.2 Theoretical Background

Many theories have been propounded by well-meaning experts on self-concept.

They include.

1.   Person centered theory by Carl Roger.

2.   Individual psychology by Alfred Adler

Person centered Theory: By Carl Rogers (1974). Carl Rogers’ theory by far is the most influential and eloquent voice in self-concept. He introduced an entire system of helping to build around the importance of the self. Rogers view self as the central ingredient in human personality and personal adjustment. He described the ‘self’ as a social product, developing out of interpersonal relationships and striving for consistency. He maintained that there is a basic human need for positive regard both from oneself and from others. He also believed that in every person there is a tendency toward self-actualization and development so long as this is permitted and encouraged by an inviting environment.

Research indicates that adolescents whose mothers and teachers had high expectations for their future educational attainment  experienced more academic success than those whose adult influences had lower expectations.

Individual Psychology: Adler in his view of human nature, opined that man is a re-creator of self having internal mechanism towards the regeneration of self. He contends that man is basically influenced by his feeling of inferiority. Hence he strives always towards superiority. According to him, in man’s quest  for superiority, he could either be striving at the positive side of the social influence or at the negatives side. When man strives at the positive sides of the social influence, his behaviour will be in line with the social demand and expectation of social influence and the consequence will be healthy adjustment. When he strives at the negative side of the societal demand, his behavior will not be in line with the social influence. The consequence is mal-adjustment.

Adler used birth order as a basis for predicting characteristic behaviours of individuals. According to him individuals fall into the categories of either eldest second born, middle, youngest, or only child. The order in which individual falls has been found to be an important and complex variable in personality development.

1.3 Statement of the Problem

Children tend to experience a decline in positive self-concept during their adolescent years. This decline often begins around age 12 for the girls and 14years for boys. For some, the decline can become severe in early adolescence years before generally recovering in the mid-teen years. Having a negative self-concept during adolescence has been associated with maladaptive behaviour and emotions. In contrast, having a positive self-concept has been linked to positive social and emotional development.

The adolescents cannot do without interacting with their environments. Their encounter with peer, family members, school personnel, role-taking and reactions of other affects their self-concept.

People with low self-concept often think of themselves in very critical ways. Such as “I am not good enough”, “ I am a failure” or I will never amount to anything” and with this thoughts come painful feelings, such as sadness, anger, anxiety, fear and worthlessness. They may find it harder to make decisions, because they doubt that they will be successful. They also find it difficult to make friends because they are shy and do not think other people will like them. In other words, they suffer withdrawal and frequently stay away from situations in which they might be judged. They avoid taking chances or trying new things especially when other people are around. In other words, they feel inferior before people.

In comparison, people with high self-concept often report having happier and more satisfying lives. They are more confident about their abilities to cope with problems and take on new challenges, and are more likely to approach new people to make friends. In some cases, high self-concept acts as a protective factor for many people, helping them deal more effectively with common stressors in life.

1.4 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study shall be to:

1.   Determine if a significant relationship exist between adolescents’ self-concept and their educational adjustment.

2.    Investigate whether there will be a significant difference in the educational adjustment of students based on gender.

3.    Investigate whether there will be a significant difference in self-concept of students based on gender.

4.    Determine if there will be a significant difference in social adjustment of students based on gender.

5.    Determine if adolescents’ self-concept will have any significant relationship with their social adjustment.

6.    Determine if there will be any significant difference in the self-concept of adolescents due to the socio-economic status of their parents.

1.5 Research Questions

In other to achieve the objectives of this study, the researcher shall consider the following questions.

1.   Is there any significant relationship between adolescents’ self-concept and educational adjustment among students in Bariga Local Government Area.

2.   Will there be a significant difference in the educational adjustment of students based on gender.

3.   Will there be a significant difference in self-concept of students based on gender.

4.   Will there be a significant difference in social adjustment of students based on gender.

5.   Will Adolescents’ self-concept have any significant relationship with their social adjustment.

6.   Will there be any significant difference in the self-concept of adolescents due to parental social economic status.

1.6 Research Hypotheses

1.   There will be no significant relationship between adolescents’ self-concept and educational adjustment among students in Bariga Local Government Area.

2.   There will be no significant difference on the educational adjustment of students based on gender.

3.   There will be no significant difference in self-concept of students based on gender.

4.   There will be no significant difference in social adjustment of students based on gender.

5.   Adolescents’ self-concept will not have any significant relationship with their social adjustment.

6.   There will be no significance difference in the self-concept of adolescents due to parental social economic status.

1.7 Scope and Limitation of the Study

This study shall focus on self-concept and academic and social adjustment among adolescents and is limited to the adolescents in selected secondary schools in Lagos state.

1.8 Significance of the Study

This study will be of immense benefit to the Guidance Counsellor, the school curriculum developers, the teachers, the students as well as the parents.

The study for instance will provide the counsellor with detailed information about adolescent self concept and how it affect their academic and social adjustments. Since counselling is a help giving profession, the counsellor should be able to build up strategies to assist the adolescents with low or high self concept to make necessary adjustment in order to meet up with the goal they have set for themselves.

The school curriculum developers will benefit from this study. It will help them develop an aspect of curriculum that will empower the students to be more active and optimistic in their perception of life.

The teachers are not left out in the list of those that will benefit from this study. It will expose them to the effects of self concept on the academic and social adjustment of students and then change their attitude towards students of such behaviour in order to instill the right values and promote effective teaching and learning relationship in the classroom.

Furthermore, this study will benefit the students in that, it will help them become aware of the ills associated with unhealthy self concept and thereby help them appraise themselves in order to come out of their shell and become more reasonable in the way they perceive themselves. In doing so, they can channel their energy to adopting a more favourable way of perceiving themselves to enhance a healthy academic and social adjustment.

Finally, this study will help the parents become aware of the effect of self concept on their adolescent’s academic and social adjustment. The awareness will help them become mindful of the style of child rearing to adopt in order to assist the child develop a more healthy way of perceiving self. Parents should encourage their children to develop a sense of industry by engaging them in tasks and skills acquisition programmes. By this, the child develops positive attitude to work with others, achieve status and self confidence.

1.9 Definition of Terms

1.   Adolescence

2.   Self-concept

3.   Academic adjustment

4.   Social adjustment.

Adolescence: Adolescence is the period of ones life in which one develop from being a child into being an adult. This period falls within the age bracket of 13-19years.