Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction

O. O. Longe

American Journal of Educational Research OPEN ACCESSPEER-REVIEWED

Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction

O. O. Longe

Department of Educational Foundations, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Abstract

Research investigating optimal well-being and life satisfaction of adolescents in relation to gender and self- efficacy perception has been scant. This study reports on the relationship between gender factor and optimal adolescent functioning, as indexed by a sense of satisfaction with life overall and with specific domains (e.g. self-esteem, self-efficacy and emotions). The sample is made up of 180 participants comprising (90) females and (90) males randomly selected from SS II students in (9) secondary schools in Lagos State. The selected schools were made up of ‘three co-educational’, ‘three all boys’, and ‘three all girls’ schools respectively while each of the three experimental groups consist a set of the three school types respectively. Three hypotheses were raised and data were generated and analyzed with statistical tools of Pearson correlation coefficient for hypothesis 1, and analysis of co-variance (ANCOVA) with LSD post hoc test for hypotheses 2 and 3 at 0.05 level of significance. Results from the study revealed that there was improvement in self-efficacy/self-esteem perception of participants with the treatment models. It also shows that a statistical significant difference exists in perception to life satisfaction due to gender factor across the experimental conditions. Since each individual has a purpose in life there is the need to strive towards the fulfillment of his or her unique potentials for life satisfaction.

Cite this article:

  • O. O. Longe. Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction. American Journal of Educational Research. Vol. 3, No. 9, 2015, pp 1149-1155. http://pubs.sciepub.com/education/3/9/13
  • Longe, O. O.. "Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction." American Journal of Educational Research 3.9 (2015): 1149-1155.
  • Longe, O. O. (2015). Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction. American Journal of Educational Research, 3(9), 1149-1155.
  • Longe, O. O.. "Psycho Educational Approaches to Adolescent’s Perception of Gender Influence on Life Satisfaction." American Journal of Educational Research 3, no. 9 (2015): 1149-1155.

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1. Introduction

Gender status plays a big role in individual’s beliefs, thought processes and in depicting functions of perception on life satisfaction. However, the discriminating gender perception can cause females to develop faulty thought mode regarding achievement, life satisfaction and aspirations. The thought mode most often can cause female adolescents to become passive, low risk takers or lack ambition and sometimes become plagued with low self-concept and self-efficacy. On the other hand, the traditional male gender role reflects an affirmation or validation of masculine identity around qualities such as success, self-reliance and aggressiveness among others. This maleness status can be related to the high usage of offensive weapons obtainable among male adolescents today. The importance of adolescent life satisfaction has been revealed in longitudinal studies showing that lower levels of life satisfaction predict future externalizing and internalizing behaviours and peer victimization experiences. Thus, life satisfaction could be viewed as an important psychological strength that helps to facilitate adaptive development [1, 2]. Life satisfaction is a measure of well-being and also the way a person perceives how his or her life has been and how one feels about the future turn-out. It can be assessed among others in terms of achieved goals, self-concepts and self-perceived ability to cope with daily life which is the sense of self efficacy. The following researchers, Moksnes and Espnes [3]; Suldo and Huebner [4]; Chang and Sanna [5]; Ullman and Tatar [6] posited that the central components in the lives of resilient youths contributing to their effective coping for a healthy well-being as they grow through adulthood appeared to be feeling of confidence and positive self-concept. Well-being includes both general life satisfaction, and the relative balance of positive effect versus negative effect in daily life. In view of the influence of gender on life satisfaction, gender difference perception could be seen as a function of gender socialization thus influencing individual overall self-concept or self-perception. It helps also in shaping way of life or lifestyles, and in behavioural choice [6, 7, 8, 9, 10]. Significantly, re-directing and re-adjusting of gender perception could be channeled through psycho-educational approaches to yield robust self- concept, for a satisfying and successful life.

According to Evans et al. [9]; Longe [11]; schemas are cognitive structures, network of associations that organize individual’s perceptions, shape how people think, feel and guide behavior. Schemas are said to develop through experience from home, the social environment and act as mental scaffolds, providing basic frameworks for processing new information and relating it to existing knowledge. Gender schema, is therefore seen as one of the feeders to individual’s perception. As posited by Moksnes and Espnes [3]; Ram and Hou [8]; individuals are different from one another not primarily in the degree of feminity or maleness they possess, but in the extent to which their self-concepts and behaviours are organized on the basis of gender rather than on the basis of some other dimensions. To a large extent, gender schema theory contains features of social learning and cognitive development theories as well as acknowledging the importance of cultural factors. Consistent with social learning, social role theorists proposed gender to be seen actually as status role. That is, the stereotypic behaviours, traits and jobs that are viewed as gender linked should actually be status linked.

Reverting on the above background, cognitive restructuring and social learning approaches were employed as therapeutic processes for effective coping and re-orientation training as regards adolescent’s gender role perception and experiences [8, 12]. Life satisfaction can therefore be a reflection on how gender related experiences have affected a person in a positive way. According to [5, 13]; and [14]; such life experiences have the ability to motivate individuals to pursue and reach their goals. It had been further revealed that these two emotions “Hope and Optimism”, consist of cognitive processes that are usually oriented towards the reaching of goals and the perception of those goals. The “hope and optimism” can be equated to the potency drive that should differentiate the masculine and feminine traits for optimal life satisfaction whatever the gender as posited by Palgi and Shmotkin [15]; Bailey et al.[16]; and Seligman [17].

In his self-fulfilling prophecy model, D’Souza [18] articulated that a person’s values that embrace the thoughts, beliefs, attitude and perceptions play an important role in influencing the person’s success and satisfaction with life. The Self-fulfilling prophecy states the impact of change in “thinking” on overall success and satisfaction in life, that is, when you think in negative ways, you tend to act in negative ways, and you will get negative results. Remember, what you think is what you get. This is called self-fulfilling prophecy, showing the cause-and-effect of relationship between cognition, personal beliefs, the resultant expectations and performance.

Thus, this research work focused on the use of psycho-educational strategies for critical thinking skills in order to bring re-orientation in perceptions for a robust life satisfaction among adolescents. The study aimed at investigating the effects of psycho-educational therapy on gender influence in adolescent perception of self-esteem, self-efficacy, well-being and overall satisfaction with life. The following hypotheses were formulated for the realization of the study:-

Ho1: There is no significant relationship between the dependent variables (self–efficacy and satisfaction with life) both at pre and posttest respectively.

Ho2: There would be no significant difference in posttest scores on perception of self-efficacy (SES) in relation to gender across experimental conditions.

Ho3: There would be no significant difference in posttest scores of participant’s perception of happiness with life in relation to gender across experimental conditions.

2. Method and Materials

2.1. Research Design

The research design for the study was quasi experimental, post-test control group. The design comprised of the independent variables: experimental conditions (two treatments and one control), the gender criterion with the dependent variables posttest scores.

2.2. Population of the Study

The target population of this study comprises all SS l students in Nigeria Secondary Schools. The group belongs to adolescent age and is considered suitable for the study because they are in the age of identity formation and likely identity crisis which may be related to their perception.

2.3. Sample and Sampling Procedure

The research sample was randomly selected from nine secondary schools consisting three co-educational, three all boys and three all girls. The participants were randomly assigned into treatment groups, as psychotherapy 1 (cognitive restructuring), psychotherapy 2 (social learning) and psychotherapy 3 (control). The sexes were equated in all groups and the sample size was 180 with 60 participants per treatment group. All participants were subjected to both individual counselling and group counselling at one stage or the other during the course of the treatment.

2.4. Limitation

The study was conducted among adolescents within age bracket 13-15years. This group of students belongs to Grade 10 of Nigerian Universal Basic Education (UBE) system of 9-3-4. Grade 10 is the class of making future career choice and since a satisfying career is an important component of life satisfaction, hence, the choice of this age group for this research.

2.5. The Instrument

Two standardized instruments were used for this study; Self-Efficacy Scale (SES) and Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). The two instruments were selected and adapted psychometrically for use. The total number of items selected was twenty-five and these items made up the Gender Influence, Perception and Life Satisfaction Scale (GPLSS) used in collecting the following data on the participants; self-efficacy/esteem, life satisfaction and influence of perception on generalized expectancy of well-being. The concise description of the test instruments used is as given.

Section A: - Self-Efficacy Scale (SES) The instrument was designed to measure general levels of beliefs. It refers to individual’s self-knowledge about ability, strength and endowment in relation to life satisfaction [19]. The items however were not limited to any particular situation or behaviour. The assumptions underlying the scale were; (1) Personal expectations of mastery are a major determinant of behavioural change; (2) Individual differences in past experiences and attributions of success lead to different levels of generalized self-efficacy expectations. The instrument consisted of two subscales, general self-efficacy and social self-efficacy with internal consistency of alphas .86 and .71 respectively. Twenty items were selected for the study.

Section B:-Satisfaction with Life Scale (SWLS). This is a 5-item instrument developed to assess subjective life satisfaction, because satisfaction with life is often a key component of mental well-being especially with adolescents or youths undergoing identity crises [20]. It is used by UNESCO, the CIA, the new UNDHR to measure how one views his or her overall happiness with life. It had an internal consistency with alpha of .87 and a test-retest reliability coefficient of .97 for a two month period. The SWLS also correlated with self-esteem and emotionality.

Scoring

The GPLSS twenty-five (25) items measuring individual self-efficacy perception and life satisfaction of male and female respectively was scored on a 4-point Likert scale using the phrases ‘Strongly Agreed’, ‘Agreed’, ‘Disagreed’, or ‘Strongly Disagreed’ respectively with positive scoring of 4,3,2,1 and reverse scoring of 1,2,3,4 with choices depending on the participants preference. The psychometric properties for test-retest reliability estimates for each of the sections are: Section A (.65) and section B (.89).

2.6. Treatment Focus

Social Learning (modeling)

Modeling influence does more than provide a social standard against which to judge one’s compatibility, people seek proficient models that possess the competencies to which they aspire through their behaviour and expressed ways of thinking. Competent models through video clips viewing for psycho-education process transmit knowledge and taught observers effective skills and strategies to managing environmental demands, while acquisition of better means raises perceived self efficacy/esteem. The treatment would help in changing adolescent’s perspective as mapped out in the study as beliefs in personal efficacy affect life choices, level of motivation and quality of functioning. Modeling technique, use of persuasive boost and skill training were employed in the study.

Cognitive Counselling

It is a collaborative and psychoeducational approach. It is also the combination of cognitive restructuring with the utilization of behavioural skills training. Cognitive restructuring is the process of introducing individuals to healthier perceptions, values, and belief systems towards behavioural modification and control of emotions, as well as behaviours. Homework assignments are considered of great value and for this study bibliotherapy was negotiated alongside other techniques such as employing of group and individual counselling and re-attribution training.

Procedure

Following the initial administration of the research instrument to collect data for pre-test scores, the participants in the treatment groups were respectively exposed to individual and group counselling for six treatment sessions spread over six weeks with an average of two hours per session. The researcher played the role of main facilitator in collaboration with the research assistants for the groups. Two weeks after the sixth treatment session for each treatment group, the research instrument was administered again to collect the post-test data.

3. Results

3.1. Hypothesis 1

The hypothesis stated that there is no significant relationship between the dependent variables measures (SES and SWLS) both at pre and post-test level respectively.

Table 1. Descriptive and correlation coefficient of the pre and post test of the assessment measures

The hypothesis was analyzed using Pearson correlation coefficient technique and the results of the analysis were presented in Table 1. As evident from Table 1; there is a significant improvement in the post-test scores of all the variables compared with the pre-test scores, except age. The post-test mean scores of the dependent variables; self-efficacy and satisfaction with life (SE and SWL) also increased at post-test level. Also, from the results, the calculated r-value of 0.14 at post-test shows that there is a significant relationship between the SES and SWLS because the r-cal value is greater than the critical r-value of 0.10 at df (178). Thus the hypothesis 1 was rejected. This shows that individual’s perception of self-efficacy and self-esteem could be a measure to life satisfaction.

Table 2 shows that at SWLS posttest, the greatest improvement in gender value with resultant higher score was recorded by participants in SLS group (14.88), followed by those in CR group (14.47) and the least improvement was recorded by those in the control group (12.58).

The female participants in the CR group recorded the highest score (14.63) with male mean score (13.90). In the SL group, the male has the highest mean score (15.07) while the female has (14.70). The findings suggest that there would be the need for re-orientation in order to re-direct adolescent’s values about satisfaction with life.

However, the grand mean for male (13.67) is lower than that of female (14.16), to determine if those differences are statistically significant, analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) technique was employed and the results are summarized later in Table 6.

Table 2. Mean of participants on GLPSS post-test based on gender and psycho-educational therapies

Also, Table 2 results for posttest of SES show the mean scores of the female participants in each experimental condition were greatly different. The male and female participants in the CR group have mean scores of 54.50 and 59.57 respectively. In SL, the improved mean score for female is 61.10 while that of male is 62.87. Overall, SES posttest scores show greater mean score values compared with SWLS posttest scores of participants. Analysis of covariance was carried out to test the statistical variance; the results are given in Table 3.

Table 3. ANCOVA of gender difference in post-test perception of self-efficacy in relation to happiness with life across experimental conditions

Table 3 shows that the obtained F. value of 3.80 of df (1/174) for gender was less than the critical F, value of 3.91 thus, the variance was not statically significant. The effects of experimental conditions, the covariate and their interactions term were statistically significant at 0.05 probability level.

3.2. Hypothesis 2

There would be no significant difference in posttest scores on varying perception of self-efficacy in relation to gender factor across experimental conditions.

Table 3 also reveals that, given (2/174) degree of freedom at 0.05, for the effects of experimental conditions, the calculated F-value of 53.77 was greater than the critical F-value of 3.06; thus, the null hypothesis 2 was rejected. It can be concluded that significant differences exist between the three experimental groups at posttest on perceptions of self-efficacy/esteem. Also, according to the results on Table 3, the F-value for the main effects was significant at (29.58). This signified that either or both factors that made up the main effects must be significant. In order, to determine where significant differences lie, multiple comparisons were performed and the outcomes of the analysis were presented in Table 4. Self-efficacy (SES) refers to individual’s self-knowledge about his/her ability, strength and endowment in relation to life satisfaction. This knowledge will depend on the form of gender perception possessed by individual.

Table 4. Multiple Comparisons Analysis (MCA) for SES POST

The summary of the multiple comparison analysis gives the deviation of gender, group means and the beta values. The adjusted means for the two experimental groups and the control group are CR (57.13), SL (62.26) and the control (49.08) which evidenced the minimum mean gain in SES. The beta values of 0.60 for experimental conditions and .12 for sex represent the partial correlation of the adjusted means of the experimental groups and the post-test in SES. The R (0.627) is the multiple correlation between the independent variable (post-test in SES) and all factors (sex and experimental conditions, the covariate and factor by factor interaction terms). In essence, the sex and experimental conditions including the covariate accounted for 62.7% of the total variations in SES, which is significant.

Table 5 shows post hoc test of the pair wise comparisons and except the comparison between the two experimental conditions all others were statistically significant at the mean difference 0.05. The greatest improvement at posttest was recorded by the participants in the SL group, followed by those in the CR group.

Table 5. Multiple comparisons of least significant differences between groups

Thus, from Table 5, it was observed that the greatest between-group difference was between the social learning therapy group (SL) and the control, followed by the cognitive restructuring therapy (CR) group and control group. The least mean difference of 0.08 was observed between the CR group and the SL group and thus, was not significant at .07.

In order to determine if the mean differences obtained for SWLS ( the second part of the dependent variable) in Table 2 are statistically significant, analysis of covariance technique was employed and the results are summarized in Table 6.

Table 6. ANCOVA of differences in post-test of SWLS of participants

3.3. Hypothesis 3

There would be no significant difference in posttest scores of participants’ attitude to life satisfaction (SWLS) in relation to gender across experimental conditions.

Table 6 shows that the effect of experimental condition was statistically significant. Given 2/174 degree of freedom at 0.05, the calculated F-value of 34.18 was greater than the critical F-value of 3.06, thus the null hypothesis 3 was rejected. It can be concluded that significant differences exist between the three experimental groups at post-test on participants’ attitude to life satisfaction. According to the results, the calculated F-value for the main effects was significant at (30.86) greater than critical F-value (3.91). However, the interaction of the experimental conditions on sex was not significant. In order, to determine where significant difference lie, multiple comparisons were performed and the outcomes of the analysis were presented in Table 6 and Table 7.

Satisfaction with life (SWL) refers to the degree to adherence of positive values, and the emotional stability for personality adjustment of each individual. It is one of the variables for irrational belief measures. The summary of the multiple comparison analysis gives the deviation of sex, group means and beta values. The adjusted means for the two treatment groups and the control group are cognitive restructuring (14.31), social learning (15.30) and the control (12.12) which evidenced the minimum mean gain in SWLS. The beta values of 0.49 for experimental conditions and 0.12 for sex represent the partial correlation of adjusted means of the experimental groups and the posttest scores in SWLS.

Table 7. Multiple comparison analysis (MCA) for SWLS POST

The R (.64) is the multiple correlations between the independent variable post test scores in SWLS and all factors (sex and experimental conditions, the covariate and factor by factor interaction terms). The value is statistically significant thus, Ho1 is rejected. To determine where significant differences lie, multiple comparison LSD post hoc test was performed and the results are given in Table 8.

Table 8. Multiple comparisons of least significant differences between groups

3.4. Post-Hoc Test

Table 8 indicates that all the pair wise comparisons except that between the two experimental conditions (CR and SL) were statistically significant at the mean difference of 0.05. The greatest improvement at posttest was recorded by participants in the cognitive restructuring therapy (CR) group followed by those in the social learning therapy (SL) group. Thus, the greatest in between group difference was between CR and control groups, followed by the SL and the control groups. The least mean difference was observed between the (CR) group and the (SL) group, and thus was not significant at (.87).

4. Discussion

Hypothesis 1: There is no significant relationship between the dependent variables SES, SWLS as measures for life satisfaction both at pre and post tests respectively. It could be noted that an appreciable improvement was recorded in the participant’s self-efficacy due to psycho-educational interventions. Hence, irrespective of gender status, improvement in the perception of satisfaction with life has been demonstrated.

In reference to self-esteem, self-efficacy and their potential impacts on life satisfaction, comprehensive reviews on competence enhancement strategies designed to enhance social and emotional competence for healthy life satisfaction have been made [3, 13, 14]. Findings from this study therefore support that boys have higher mean scores in self efficacy/esteem and life satisfaction than girls. Self-esteem plays a positive role in adolescents’ life satisfaction, hence, the above results are in agreement with results from earlier studies [3, 7, 13, 14].

Hypothesis 2: The hypothesis states that there is no significant difference in gender influence on perception of self-efficacy of participants in posttest scores across experimental conditions. The hypothesis was tested using ANCOVA statistics. The findings suggest that motivation for self-efficacy and self-esteem is important for adolescents. There is a significant mean difference between the participants in intervention groups and the control group. Moreover, the interaction effect of sex and experimental conditions was not statistically significant. Thus, the null hypothesis two was accepted. The result corroborates earlier findings that adolescents are age-related and remarkably similar regardless of background, socio-economic grouping and gender. Although, there is likely to be an exception of adolescents from disadvantaged or poor environment [14, 15].

It was further deduced that girls are socialized to seek help or to be help givers rather than to be self- reliant and self-confident or to function autonomously or competitively as are boys. Not surprisingly, low self confidence in conjunction with lack of viable profession has caused many females with great potentials to have retreated into their traditional success expectation. It does shows that girls may not be sufficiently motivated to pursue their desired success goals with the needed vigour. Nevertheless, there was a modest therapeutic gain from the therapeutic treatments that guided them in achieving changes in self-perceptions and self-attributions, hence breaking the sex-role stereotypic vicious cycle.

This is a form of generalized readiness on the part of a child to encode and to organize information most especially about “self” according to the cultures definitions of maleness and femaleness. It is believed that sex typing is a learned phenomenon and hence, it is neither inevitable nor un-modifiable. Any intervention directed at the gender schema of an individual will possibly produce positive result for better orientation and personality adjustment.

Hypothesis 3: The hypothesis states that there would be no significant gender difference in posttest scores on perception of happiness with life across experimental conditions. The hypothesis was tested using ANCOVA statistics and the result revealed that a statistical significant difference exists in perception of happiness to life due to gender influence across experimental conditions. Due to this result, the null hypothesis three was rejected. It posits that gender difference seemed to be a significant factor in the participants’ posttest improvement on perception of happiness with life. Further analysis of data was done using LSD post hoc test method of pairwise comparisons of group means in order to determine the trend of the difference across the groups. Overall, the mean for social learning therapy was higher than that of the cognitive restructuring. Similarly, significant improvement in perception of happiness with life occurs in social learning group over the cognitive restructuring group. It is believed that confidence in one’s capability is a critical component of success; it reduces stress, depression, narrow vision and thereby induces satisfaction [6, 21]. The study revealed that social comparison could be seen as an aid to improving perception of happiness with life as proposed by [22], while gender schema could be altered through psychotherapy procedures as obtained from the study results.

5. Conclusion

Each individual has a purpose in life which means that each person should be motivated to strive towards the fulfillment of his/her unique potentials for individual life satisfaction. According to [23], a third ‘gender’ had been proposed which is a “composite” in-between to bridge the increasingly unsupportable dichotomy in order to negotiate a better promise between the individual personality and individual stereotype for suitable comfort and satisfaction.

Adolescent major life task is to successfully navigate the individuation process on the road to adulthood. Although life satisfaction is not the only indicator of optimal well-being, it is a broad based concept that relates to a wide-ranging nomological network of youth outcomes. Continued research and practical efforts should be devoted to the intersection between optimal well-being, including life satisfaction and gender approaches to practice, training and research with adolescents. Healthy youth represent one of any nations most valuable resources. Finally, since there are various cognitive schemas for specific situations, events and ideas, it will be expedient to have gender-specific treatment. This could be a follow-up study to this current one.

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