Effects of socialy maladjusted behaviour on academic performance of learners in public primary schools in Kasarani Sub-County, Nairobi County, Kenya.


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Reg. E55/CE/24387/2010







This thesis is my original work and has not been presented for a degree in any other


Signature:_________________________ Date: ___________________



This thesis has been submitted for review with our approval as University Supervisors.

1. Signature: ____________________ Date: ______________________ Dr. Otube Nelly

Special Needs Education Department Kenyatta University.

2. Signature: ________________________ Date:________________________ Dr. Majale Christine



To my beloved parents, Gabriel Wakasyaka and my late mother Victoria Antoninah Nemali,

For their moral support;

To My husband Dr Mohamed Akidah,

For his support;

To my children; Yassin, Naima, Swafiyyah and Jibril,

For their great patience, persistence and prayers that made me feel encouraged.



I would like to express my utmost gratitude to the Almighty God who guided me through

all the steps of this study.

My profound gratitude goes to the late Dr. Michael Njoroge, who was my first Supervisor

before the cruel hand of death snatched him from our midst. May the Almighty God rest

his soul in eternal peace.

Many thanks go my second Supervisor, Dr. Christine Majale, whom I cannot thank

enough for her academic guidance and continuous support throughout the period of this

study. My sincere gratitude also goes to Dr. Nelly Otube who took over from Dr. Njoroge

and saw me go through this process successfully. I am deeply indebted to Dr. Nzioka and

Dr. Madrine Kingendo who read through my proposal several times and ensured that I

had a clean document which enabled me to proceed to the next stage.

Finally, I wish to recognize and appreciate the support of members of my immediate

family, my Father Major (Rtd.) Gabriel Juma Wakasyaka and My late Mother Antoninah

Victoria Nemali who always encouraged me to aim higher and never to give up in life,

my husband, Dr. Mohamed Abdulmajid Akidah, and my children, Yassin, Naima,

Swafiyyah and Jibril for their encouragement during the entire period of this study. They

nagged me on when I seemed to falter.

It is my pleasant duty to thank you most profoundly and to you all I say:










ABSTRACT ... xii



1.1 Background to the Study ...1

1.2 Statement of the Problem ...4

1.2.1 Purpose of the Study ...7

1.3 Objectives of the Study ...7

1.4 Research Questions ...7

1.5 Significance of the Study ...8

1.6 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study ...8

1.6.1Limitations of the Study ...8

1.6.2Delimitations of the Study ...9

1.7 Assumptions of the Study ...9

1.8 Theoretical and Conceptual Framework ...9

1.8.1Theoretical Framework ... 10


1.9 Operational of Definition Terms ... 16



2.0 Introduction ... 18

2.1 Characteristics Exhibited by Learners with Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 18

2.2 Causes of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 21

2.3 Effects of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 24

2.4 Specific Intervention Measures used by Teachers in Managing Learners with Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 26

2.5 Summary of Literature Review ... 29



3.0 Introduction ... 32

3.1 Research Design ... 32

3.1.1 Variables ... 32 Independent variables ... 32 Dependent variables ... 33

3.2 Location of the Study ... 33

3.3 Target Population ... 33

3.4 Sampling Techniques and Sampling Size ... 33

3.4.1 Sampling Techniques ... 33

3.4.2 Sample Size ... 34

3.5 Construction of Research Instruments ... 34

Questionnaires ... 35


3.5.2 Observation check list ... 36

3.6 Pilot Study ... 36

3.6.1 Validity ... 37

3.6.2 Reliability ... 37

3.7 Data Collection Techniques ... 38

3.8 Data Analysis ... 39

3.9 Logistical and Ethical Considerations ... 40



4.1 Introduction ... 41

4.2 Demographic information ... 41

4.3 Characteristics of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour exhibited by learners in Public primary schools ... 45

4.3.1 Observation Check List of learners with SMB ... 47 Truancy and absenteeism ... 48 Bullying... 49 Aggression ... 49 Stealing ... 50 Drug Abuse ... 52 Delinquent behaviour ... 52 Inciting ... 53 Rebellious against rules ... 54

4.4 Causes of Socially Maladjusted Behavior among Learners ... 56

4.5 Determining the Effects of SMB on the academic performance of learner ... 59




5.0 Introduction ... 68

5.1 Summary of findings ... 68

5.1.1 Characteristics of Learners with SMB ... 68

5.1.2 Causes of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 69

5.1.3 Effects of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour ... 70

5.1.4Intervention Measures ... 70

5.2 Conclusion ... 72

5.3 Recommendations ... 73

5.4 Recommendations for further Research ... 75




Table 1: Analysis of all respondents in the selected schools ... 41



Figure 1 Conceptual framework. ... 14

Figure 2 Analysis of Duration of respondents in the selected schools ... 43

Figure 3 Analysis of characteristics of SMB exhibited by pupils in the selected schools .. 45

Figure 4 Analysis of observation checklist of learners with SMB in the selected schools .47

Figure 5 Analysis of the causes of SMB among the pupils ... .56


LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS APA American Psychiatric Association

CDI Children Depression Inventory

EBD Emotional Behavior Disorders

ED Emotional Disorder

EI Emotional Intellectual

EMB Emotionally Maladjusted behaviour

MoEST Ministry of Education, Science and Technology

NDCCYD National Dissemination Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities

NGO Non-Governmental Organization

SED Serious Emotional Disturbances

SM Social Maladjustment

SMB Socially Maladjusted Behavior

WARESA Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency

IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act






This chapter presents the background of the study, statement of the problem, purpose of

the study objectives of the study, purpose, research questions, significance of the study,

delimitations and limitations, assumptions of the study, conceptual and theoretical

frameworks and operational definitions ofterms.

1.1 Background to the Study

Marlene, (2004) describes Socially Maladjusted Behavior as a conceptualized conduct

problem wherelearners with maladjusted behavior choose not to conform to socially

acceptable rules and norms. Such learners would ordinarily demonstrate knowledge of

school or social norms and expectations and consistently demonstrate a pattern of

intentionally choosing to break rules and violate norms of acceptable behavior. Learners

with maladjusted behavior perceive themselves as „normal‟, and even though theywere

capable of behaving appropriately, they choose to break rules and violate norms of

acceptable behavior. They consider rule breaking as normal and acceptable. Thus,

intentionality is the distinguishing feature for social maladjustment.

Forness (1992), in a study done globally states that, Learners with Emotional Disorder

(ED) and those with Socially Maladjusted Behaviour (SMB) could be defined in the same


interpersonal social deviant behaviour often resulting into criminal activity, poor marital

adjustment and social relationship as well as work-related problems. Hong Kong (1995)

also stated that a maladjusted child is one whose behavioural and emotional difficulties

however caused, have prevented the child from benefiting from the ordinary social and

educational experiences of home and school and whose difficulties will persist unless

help was given by those with appropriate skills. A child for whom failure in learning and

in socially approved situations is more probable than success.

Gresham and Gansle (1992) contend that the argument to include Social Maladjustment

(SM) in the definition of Emotional Disorder (ED) was supported by the apparent lack of

the need for and effectiveness of differential diagnosis and treatment.

Schwartz (1999), in a study done in the United States of America of victims and

aggressors in Learner‟s peer groups reported an investigation of the behavioural profiles

and psychosocial adjustment of the subgroups of victims and aggressors in elementary

school peer groups. Peer nomination scores for aggression and victimization was used to

classify 354 children of ages ranging between 3-10 years into one of four sub-groups,

namely: aggressive victims, non-aggressive victims, non-victimized aggressors and

normative contrasts. After the examination, it was observed that children in each of the

victim aggressor sub-groups were characterized by a degree of social and behavioural

maladjustment. However, impairments in behavioural and emotional regulation were

most evident for the aggressive sub-group victims. Aggressive victims were also


Edmore and Constance (2013), in a study conducted in South Africa stated that not all

maladjusted Learners create disciplinary problems for the teachers. Some of the Learner

who were maladjusted do not necessarily attract much attention in the school and

classroom although mental hygienists maintain that such Learners need as much, if not

more sympathetic help from teachers as do maladjusted trouble makers. The causes of

personal unhappiness, inferiority feeling, shyness and other anti-social behavior can be

traced to the same sources of conflict that create more aggressive types of

maladjustments. Laziness and both the shy and the aggressive Learner have thwarted

needs, but each adopts quite a different method of resolving the problem.There were

conditions in the environment which create frustrations that lead to personal inadequacies

such as feeling inferiorand rejection by teachers, parents or peers. Some of these

conditions include over protection or rejection by parents.

Blair (2010) observed that information from the White House Conference on Child

Health and Protection indicated that one out of every three school Learners was

maladjusted in one way or another. He estimated that 12% of the world‟s primary school

going children was emotionally upset as to require the services of educational

psychology, sociologists or guidance and counseling specialists.

Kombo (2012) in a study on the situation in Kenya investigatedlearners with deviant

behaviour which was a kind of socially maladjusted behaviour in selected secondary

schools in Nairobi County. Again, in this study, there was little mention of social

maladjustment in public primary schools. It is against this background that the researcher,


performance of learners in public primary schools in Kasarani Sub-county, in an

endeavor to fill a gap that has so far notbeen addressed adequately.

This study aims at examining the various effects that result from socially maladjusted

behaviour on Learner‟s academic performance as individuals The study also seeks to

establish the characteristics of SMB in selected public primary schools, the causes of

SMB, the effects of SMB on the academic performance of learners in public schools and

the various intervention strategies used by teachers to help learners who are socially

maladjusted. Such children often required the services of assessment centers for

assessment before they were taken toschools that suit their needs to enable them learn

like any other Learner in the society. Parentsof such special learners wereinclined to take

them to rehabilitation centers where they lived in harsh conditions with the intention of

correcting their behavior. On the contrary, these centers made life hard for the learners

and this inculcated in them values and attitudes that were unbearable. These learners need

help, which could be availed through an Individualized Educational Program (IEP) that

should be geared towards helping them to improve their behaviour.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

This study focused specifically on the effects of Socially Maladjusted Behavior on the learner‟s academic performance. SMB is a conceptualized conduct problem where

Learners with maladjusted behavior chose not to conform to socially acceptable rules and

norms. Such learners would ordinarily demonstrate knowledge of school or social norms


break rules and violate norms of acceptable behavior.Some of thecharacteristics exhibited

by such learners in the classroom and outside the classroom include: unwillingness to

comply with teachers‟ requests, truancy, rejecting help, dislike for school except as a

social outlet, rebelling against rules and structures and missing school by choice.

Furthermore, theirperceptions of peers were cool, tough and charismatic. Social skills and

interpersonal relationships were well-developed and well-attuned to social cues. Further,

many relations within select groups were manipulative and there was lack of honesty in

the relationship.

In the selected schools of this study, SMB was experienced in different ways. Some of

the learners with disciplinary caseswere as a result of being rebellious against school

rules. Consequently,SMB learners were forced to report to the deputies‟ offices every

evening before going home for compliance. Some of them broke rules intentionally like

inciting others to fight, violating orders, stealing and repeatedly using abusive language.

Truancy wasusually the norm of the day;they missed school for their own gainand

dropped out of school to indulge in the unscrupulous business of stealing and selling for

self gain. Extreme aggressiveness was seen when emotions rose to the extent of fighting,

Delinquent tendencies werealso seen in the behaviour of SMB learners.

The overalllearners‟ academic performance in Kasarani Sub County kept on fluctuating

between 2009 and 2012. For instance, in 2009, the average performance was 230.5 while

in 2010, theaverage performance was 229.8. Again, in 2011 the learner‟s average

performance was 225.85 compared to that of 233.5 in 2012. This trend showed lack of


Additionally, a comparison between the total marks scored by the learners versus the total

marks above of 500 shows that the general performance is below average. This was

attributable to among other issues, that existence of SMB among Learners.

Evidence provided in this study showed that there had been a problem in academic

performance of these schools in Kasarani Sub County from 2009 to date, This research

sought to find out whether the low academic performance couldbe linked to SMB or not,

which was a gap that theresearcher had overtime sought to explain. Which researchers,

practitioners as well as observers had, over time, sought to explain. Some researchers

such as Velisiwe Goldencia Gasa (2005) from South Africa,Odinga (2012) from Ndhiwa

and Kombo (2012) from Nairobi advanced factors such as family problems and

institutional lapses as having a contributing role to this steady decline. However, many of

the researchers overlooked an important aspect which revolves around the personality of

the learner and which could be explained in the form of socially maladjusted behaviour

which had a bearing on the learner‟s behaviour and contributed adversely to his/her

performance both in academics and other fields.

Based on this fact, the researcher chose Kasarani sub-County as the research area since

most of the affected schools were found in the slums of Mathare located in Kasarani

Sub-County. It was worth noting that no research of this nature has been done concerning

SMB in public primary schools in Kasarani Sub-County hence creating a gap for this

research. It was from this perspective that this study seeks to delve into these issues with


gap that exists with respect to the role that socially maladjusted behaviour plays in

determining a learner‟s academic performance.

1.2.1 Purpose of the Study

This study sought to describe the effects of socially maladjusted behavior on the

academic performance of learners in public primary schools in Kasarani Sub-County,

Nairobi County, Kenya.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

Sought to;

(i) Examine the characteristics of learners with socially maladjusted behaviour in selected public primary schools;

(ii) Investigate the main causes of socially maladjusted behaviour among learners in selected public primary schools;

(iii) Determine the effects of socially maladjusted behaviour on the academic performance of learners in public primary schools;

(iv) Evaluate the various intervention strategies used by teachers to help learners who were socially maladjusted.

1.4 Research Questions

(i) What were the characteristics of learners who were socially maladjusted?

(ii) What were the main causes of socially maladjusted behaviour among learners


(iii) What were the effects of socially maladjusted behaviour on the academic

performance of learners in public primary schools?

(iv) What intervention measures have been instituted by teachers to help learners

who were socially maladjusted to perform well academically?

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study was significant in a number of ways. The researcher identified learners with

socially maladjusted behaviour and suggested ways of minimizing such behaviour

through various intervention measures such as guidance and counseling. The study would

be recommended to schools and to the Ministry of Education Science and Technology

strategies that would prove useful in mitigating the problem of social maladjustment by

addressing student behaviour. The implementation of the recommended strategies would

hopefully lead to improved academic performance in public primary schools. It was also

envisaged that this study would be of immediate help to the Ministry of Education,

Science and Technology in the formulation of future policies on enhancement of learners‟

behavior and placement. It was the researcher‟s position that this study would form a

basis on which other researchers would develop their studies.

1.6 Limitations and Delimitations of the Study

1.6.1 Limitations of the Study

Due to practical constraints such as time and financial challenges, the study limited itself

to Kasarani Sub-County.There was limited literature in Kenya on the effects of SMB on


collect information from some head-teachers due to their unavailability as a result of their

engagement in official duties outside the county. Subsequently, the data for this study

was only collected from four schools in Kasarani Sub-county,and so, the results should

not be generalized to all schools in the Kasarani sub county.

1.6.2 Delimitations of the Study

The study confined itself to public primary schools in Kasarani Sub- County of Nairobi

County. The research was conducted in public primary schools only. It was also

determined by the huge population of learners in these schools after the introduction of

free primary education in Kenyan public schools. The respondents involved in the study

comprised of head-teachers, deputy head-teachers, teachers and learners.

1.7 Assumptions of the Study

This study made several assumptions as stated below:

(i) That learner in public primary schools presents a myriad of SMB.

(ii) That academic performance is adversely affected by negative social behaviour.

1.8 Theoretical and Conceptual Framework


1.8.1 Theoretical Framework

This study adopts a Psycho-Social Development Theory to account for effects of socially

maladjusted behavior among primary school learners. The psycho social perspective is

basically Erik Erickson‟s theory of psychosocial development which is one of the best

known theories of personality in psychology. It describes an approach that combines

psychological and sociological views to account for personal and social maladjustment

problems typical of human behavior. The theory is applicable to learners who have

socially maladjusted behaviour because it shows the effects of the crisis stages which

were not taken care of in the development process of learners in life. Donald, Lazarus and

Lolwana (2007), describe one of the main elements of Erickson‟s psychosocial stage

theory as the development of an ego identity, the conscious sense of self that those

Learners develop through social interaction. They emphasize that according to Erickson

(1950), a child‟s ego identity constantly changes due to new experiences and information

they acquire in their daily interaction with others. In addition to ego identity, Erickson

also believes that a sense of competence motivates behaviors and actions. Erickson‟s

psychosocial and social development in stage is dichotomous in nature because at each of

the eight stages identified, there exist bipolar personality traits, namely: the positive and

the negative.

Uba, Makinde,Adejumo, and Aladejaria (2004) state that motivation in a person makes

him behave well or in a socially maladjusted manner.This implies that each stage in

Erickson‟s theory is concerned with becoming competent in an area of life, if that stage in


and in life which Erickson sometimes referred to as „ego strength‟ or „ego quality‟, but if

the stage is managed poorly, then the child would emerge with a sense of inadequacies or

failure .This basically means that according to Erickson (1950), each stage of psycho

social skills assumes that children or people in general do experience a conflict that

serves as a turning point in their psychosocial development. In his view, these

conflictswere centered on either developing a psychosocial quality adjustment or failing

to develop that quality which is maladjustment.During this stage, the potential for normal

personal growth is high, but so is the potential for failure which is

maladjustment.Erikson's psychosocial theory asserts that people experience eight

'psychosocial crisis stages' which significantly affect each person's development and

personality. In this theory, Erikson refers to 'psychosocial crisis‟, a term that is an

extension of Sigmund Freud's use of the word 'crisis', which refers to internal emotional

conflict. It describes an internal struggle or challenge which a person must negotiate and

deal with in order to grow and develop. This study makes reference to the first two stages

of Erickson‟s psychosocial theory because they have a direct bearing on the study.

The first stage of Erikson‟s theory of psychosocial development occurs between birth and

one year of age and is the most fundamental stage in life,because an infant is utterly

dependent on the development of trust,which is based on the dependability and quality of

the child‟s regivers.If a child successfully develops trust,he or she would feel safe and

secure (adjusted) in the world (Uba et al 2004). Caregivers who were

inconsistent,emotionally unavailable or rejecting contribute to children‟s maladjustments


they care for.Failure to develop trust often results in fear (maladjustment) and a belief

that the world is inconsistent and unpredictable.

The second stage of Erikson‟s theory of psychosocial development takes place during

early childhood and is focused on children developing a greater sense of personal control.

Erikson believes that,for instance, toilet training is a vital part of this process to prevent

enuresis in children. Blair(2010).However, Erikson‟s reasoning is quite different from

that of Freud‟s in that Erikson believes that learning to control one‟s body functions leads

to a feeling of control and a sense of independence. Other important events at this stage

include gaining more control over food choices,toy preferences and clothing selection.

Children who successfully complete this stage feel secure and confident (adjusted) while

those who do not were left with a sense of inadequacy and self-doubt

(maladjusted).Children need to begin asserting control and power over the environment.

Success in this stage leads to a sense of purpose. Children who try to exert too much

power experience disapproval,often resulting in a sense of guilt which is

maladjusted.Children need to cope with new social and academic demands. Success leads

to a sense of competence,while failure results in a feeling of inferiority.Teenagers need to

develop a sense of self and personal identity. Success leads to an ability to stay true to

oneself, while failure leads to role confusion and a weak sense of self which is


1.8.2 Conceptual Framework

The variables used in this study were both independent and dependent where socially

maladjusted behaviour constitutes the independent variable while poor academic

performance is the Dependent variable.According to the figure 1 drawn below the

independent variables consist of the characteristics of SMB,the causes of SMB, the

effects of SMB and the intervention measures. Erickson‟s views were also consistent

with assertions made by Trudys (2011) who maintains that many symptoms of learners

who were socially maladjusted may be readily observable by watching them in action.

Behaviour problems such as delinquent tendencies (theft, truancy, vandalism, smoking,

sexual offences, bulling etc ) and personal unhappiness were fundamentally due to

frustration as a result of unfulfilled needs at home and at school. According to this view,

an individual‟s facial expression may indicate unhappiness or anxiety. He may be

restless, hyperactive, tense or give evidence of being neglected, seem self-conscious

about physical or twitching or nail biting or be constantly engaged in day dreaming or

may be a truant.

The child who feels rejected also very often tends to be withdrawn or if he is able to find

a friend he may be extremely jealous of him to the extent of desiring that no one else

shares his affection. Children who have emotional responses to their parents more often

than not have the greatest difficulty in forming genuine attachment to anyone. It is hard

for them to give affection when they were not certain that it would be reciprocated.

Although educators were not in a position to do much to alter parent-child relationships,


Some of the causes could be poverty, broken homes, personal inadequacies, parental

rejection or over protection.

Socially Maladjusted Behavior affects academic performance more if no intervention

measures wereoffered. Guiding and counseling is one of the core intervention measures

given to such learners, which builds on the modification of the behavior and reinforces


Figure 1: Effects of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour and Possible Remedies




Adapted from Eric Ericsion‟s Theory





Rebellious against rules







Peer pressure

Family socioeconomic status

Drug/substance Abuse


Poor results

School drop out

Unwanted pregnancy



Guidance and Counseling

Parental intervention

Monitoring Behaviour

Rewarding positive behaviour


1.9 Operational of Definition Terms

Behaviour: Forness (1992) describes behaviour as a way an individual acts towards people, society, or object. It can be bad or good, normal or abnormal, based on the society‟s norms. It is the range of action or mannerism made by organisms, systems or artificial entities in conjunction with their environments, which includes the other systems or organisms around as well as the physical environment. It also refers to the response of the system or organism to various stimuli or inputs whether internal or external, conscious or subconscious, overt or covert, voluntary or involuntary.

Bipolar disorder: Also known as manic depression is a mental illness that brings severe high and low moods and changes in sleep, energy, thinking and behaviour people who have bipolar disorder can have periods in which they feel overly happy and energized and other periods of feeling very sad, hopeless and sluggish in between those periods they usually feel normal one can think of highs and the lows as two poles of moods which is why it‟s called bipolar disorders

Counseling: Mutie and Ndambuki (1999) the skilled and principled use of relationships to develop self-knowledge, emotional acceptance, growth and personal resources. The overall aim of counseling is to make life more satisfying. It may be more concerned with addressing and resolving specific problems, making decisions, coping with crises, working through feelings and inner conflicts or improving relationships with others.


Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD)Clarizie (1992) refers to as emotional disturbance or serious emotional disturbance as a disability classification used in educational institution to provide special education and related services to students that have poor social or academic adjustment that cannot be better explained by biological abnormalities or a developmental disability

Guidance:Mutie and Ndambuki (1999) it is a process concerned with determining and providing for the developmental needs of learners. It is considered a life-long process that involves helping individuals both as part of a group and at the personal level.

Self – Discipline: Hornby (2003) the ability to self-direct oneself towards the right behaviour.

Maladjustment: Gudakunst (2010) refers to the inability to react successfully and satisfactorily to the demands of one‟s environment. It encompasses a wide range of physical, psychological and social conditions but most often implies an individual‟s failure to meet social or cultural expectations.




2.0 Introduction

The need to understand and explain the realm of the effects of social maladjustment

among people has been raised in many previous studies. The researcher, in this chapter,

defines socially maladjusted behavior and identifies the various types of socially

maladjusted behavior and their causes. The Chapter also describes some of the

characteristics exhibited by learners who were socially maladjusted, explains the effects

of socially maladjusted behavior and proposes some of the intervention measures that

may be used to mitigate the problem.

2.1 Characteristics Exhibited by Learners with Socially Maladjusted Behaviour

Gaglio (2010) explains that children can display socially inappropriate behaviour which

they learn to gain attention or escape demands placed on them. These difficulties have the

potential to affect learning and the ability to maintain positive social relationships. Many

of these children show features of an educational concept called social maladjustment.

She further categorizes the different types of characteristics exhibited by learners in the

classroom and outside the classroom as follows: unwillingness to comply with teachers‟

requests, truancy, rejecting help, dislike for school except as a social outlet, rebelling

against rules and structures and missing school by choice. Furthermore, there were


relationships were well-developed and well-attuned to social cues. Further, many

relations within select groups were manipulative and there is lack of honesty in the


Huesmann (1987) argues that some learners may first exhibit academic problems with

aggressive acts followed by poor academic instruction, ineffective and negative feedback

from teachers and poor academic self-competence. McEvoy and Welker (2000) argue

that academic failure may result in learners receiving little positive reinforcement and as

such school may take on aversive qualities.

Green(2001) who described truancy as an act of indiscipline and this had been causing

misunderstanding among Administrators, teachers in school and in the society it is

similar to Abayomi (2002) who stated that Truants increased their risk of dropping out of

school and high rates of school dropouts resulting to unemployed or becoming a criminal

who could end up in prison than learners who graduate to high schools then

colleges.Truancy or the habitual act of being absent from school without permission is a

major issue affecting the overall success of the school in which the researcher sampled.

Truancy may be identified differently in schools. However unexcusedabsentees from

school is the most common and acceptable definition. Baker, Sigmon and Nugent (2001)

who report that hundreds of thousands of American learners were absent from school

without permissible excuses each day, and this issue is ranked among the top ten


Carl E. Dickhardt (2009) says teenage rebellion play an important part in adolescent

growth. Its the poster characteristic of the teenager year‟s adolescent rebellion and its one

that causes many conflicts with parents. Two common types of rebellion are against

socially fitting in (rebellion of non conformity)and against adult authority (rebellion of

non-compliance)in both types rebellion attracts adults attention by offending it the young

person proudly assertsIndividuality from what parents like or independence of what

parents want and in each case Succeeds in provoking their disapproval.

Ladd and Burgess (1999) observe that aggressive behaviour patterns increase the

likelihood that children would develop negative relationships with their teachers, while

Hamre and Pianta (2001) contend that problematic relationships between teachers and

learners with SMB in Kindergarten were associated with academic and behavioural

problems through eighth grade. Carr, Taylor and Robinson (1991) were of the opinion

that teachers provide less academic instruction to learners who exhibit problem behaviour

because such learners were always out of school due to their own reasons or expulsion

due to behaviour-related problems.

Olwens (1991) who describes Bullying as the involvement which seemedrelatively stable

over time similar to Boulton & Smith(1994) Kumpulainen, Rasanen & Henttonen, (1999)

and had been related to various psychosocial adjustment problems in childhood and

adolescence, much research on bullying involvement , especially on victims has focused

on internalizing indicators of adjustment see for a review Hawker & Boulton (2000) little


and even less is known about the association between stability in bullying and

victimization and these social characteristics

2.2Causes of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour

The most common behaviours that were considered maladjusted include: stealing,

fighting, drug abuse, truancy, homosexuality, lesbianism, bullying, hooliganism, verbal

violence as well as use of dangerous objects to threaten others such as knives and sharp

broken bottles. Antisocial behaviour in children and youth is usually examined in relation

to the bio-social personality theory of Eysenk (2008). The theory is based on three

independent personality traits that reflect hypothesized temperament as well as source

traits that affect behavioural predisposition. The theory holds that the interaction of the

three temperament traits of Psychoticism (P) Extroversion (E) and Neuroticism (N) with

socialization experiences produce personality.

Hong kong (1995) Maladjustment is induced by a number of interactive factors.In a

nutshell it originated from unsatisfied basic needs. They include the physiological needs

of food, warmth, shelter and the psychological needs such as love, peers, status,

recognition, sense of achievement and security.The unsatisfied basic needs would drive

children to seek for them via inappropriate mean of maladjustment of pupils directly

related to the family,which are ineffective, deceased parents, divorced and some parents

who take long hours at work living children unattended to.This leads to long term

negligence.School; under an academic oriented and competitive education system, the


children who for a long time fail to obtain success in school and are left without sufficient

support may give up their school work. .Hence their school life impedes their personal

and social development. Society; when learners are not satisfied at home or school and

lack effective guidance from teachers and parents they may easily drift into undesirable

sub cultures, this may lead to anti-social behaviour, avoidance or withdrawal and apathy

in life

Aristotle (1929)identified four causes of behaviour where he focuseson a phenomenon

that involves identifying its origin, structure, substrate and function and representing

these factors in some formal system. Aristotle provided a clear specification of this kind

of explanation which he called efficient causes (triggers), drugs triggers

(behaviour),formal causes (models) material causes(substrates or mechanisms) and final

cause (functions).Aristotle‟s framework is applied to conditioning and the

computation-versus association debate.The critical empirical issue is early computation-versus late reduction of

information to disposition. Automata theory provides a grammar for models of

conditioning and information processing in which that constraint can be represented.

Gibbon (2011) describes the socially maladjusted behaviour of a learner as one motivated

by self-gain and strong survival skills. The five main causes of socially maladjusted

behaviour of adolescents include: the family‟s socio-economic status, psychological


Ching (2011) reveals from the existing literature that there is evidence of school effects

on young people‟s drug use. It was found that disengagement from school, poor

teacher-student relations and negative labeling from teachers were factors associated with

subsequent drug use and other risky behaviourssuch as socially maladjusted behaviour.

Peer relationships where learners influence one another in drug abuse affects academic

excellence. Low school connectedness during early secondary school also predicts

substance use 2-4 years later. There is also evidence that truancy, suspension from school

and frequent school changes were associated with school failure and drug abuse,

indicating that what young people experience at school influences their drug use to

project the socially maladjusted behaviours.

Muchemi (2001) highlights cases of deviant behaviour emanating from conduct

disorders, substance abuse and personal conflicts. He cites instances such as devil

worshipping,homosexuality,and rampant drug abuse in schools in Central Province.

Several learners had succumbed to devil worshippingthereby negatively affecting their

academic performance.He explained that homosexuality was particularly common in

Kiambu and Thika Districts, a fact attributed to their proximity to Nairobi a County going

through socio-cultural turbulence.Muchemi (2001) continues to explain that in most cases

the behavior is triggered by drug abuse

Kombo (2012), in a study conducted in the Kenyan context, argues that deviance is a type

of behaviour that occurs when a society does not give all its members equal ability to

achieve socially acceptable goals. Some bullying behaviour occurs in some Kenyan


Sub-countyof Nairobi County, no study has been conducted on the types and causes of

socially maladjusted behavior, which is considered a gap worth filling by this study.

2.3 Effects of Socially Maladjusted Behaviour

Aluja(2004), in a study on depressive mood and social maladjustment‟s differential effect

on the academic achievement by the use of children depression inventory (CDI),which is

a multidimensional instrument that includes items of social withdrawal, anhedonia,

asthenia, low self-esteem (internalized) and behavioural problems (externalized),states

that child depression has been attributed to low academic achievement‟s neurotic and

introverted personality traits, which were usually defined by aggressiveness. In the study,

it is hypothesized that in non-clinical populations, the relationship between Children

Depression Inventory (CDI) scores and a low academic achievement might be basically

due to social maladjustment assessed by the behavioural items of this instrument which

do not necessarily tap depressive mood. The effects of both depressive mood and SM on

academic achievement were analyzed in an adolescent sample of 315 boys and 368 girls

through structural equation modeling procedures.Results corroborate the hypothesis that

SM measured by the children depressive inventory (CDI) behavioural items and

Psychoticism explain the low academic achievement over the above depressive mood

measured by the rest of the (CDI) items, extraversion and neuroticism.

Schwartz (1999) in a study done in the United States of America of victims and aggressors in children‟s peer groups reported an investigation of the behavioral profiles


school peer groups. Peer nomination scored for aggression was used to classify354

children of age‟s 10-3years in to sub- groups, aggressive victims, non victimized

aggressors and normative contrasts. After the examination, it was observed that children

in each of the aggressor sub groups were characterized by a degree of social and

behavioural maladjustment. However, impairments in behavioral and emotional

regulation were most evident for the aggressive sub group victims. Aggressive victims

were also characterized by academic failure peer, rejection and emotional distress. That

research did not mention the learners with SMB which is a gap that has far-reaching

effects, and which should be examined and understood so as to control them in society in

general and primary schools in particular.

Giller (1983) notes that anti-social behaviour in childhood is followed by a substantially

increased risk, such as school dropout, which leads to adult criminality, early marriages

that lead to marital problems and breakdown and difficulties in parenting, a poor job

record and unemployment, of financial dependency, of social isolation, of alcoholic

problems and of mental disorder. Giller (1983) argues that socially maladjusted

behaviour leads to children having low commitment to scholastic achievement. People

who live with children with maladjusted behaviour find them a liability or a curse.

Erikson (1950) asserts that people experience eight psychosocial crisis stages which

affect every person‟s development and personality. Each stage involves a crisis of two

opposing emotional forces, which Erikson refers to as 'contrary dispositions'. Each crisis

stage relates to a corresponding life stage and its inherent challenges. He uses the words


'dystonic' for the second-listed 'negative' disposition (such as Mistrust). To successfully

pass through each crisis, one needs to achieve a „healthy ratio‟ or „balance‟ between the

two opposing dispositions that represent each crisis. For example a healthy balance at

crisis stage one (Trust vs. Mistrust) might be described as experiencing and growing

through the crisis 'Trust' (of people, life and one's future development) and also

experiencing and growing a suitable capacity for 'Mistrust' where appropriate, so as not to

be hopelessly unrealistic or gullible, nor to be mistrustful of everything.

Socially maladjusted behaviour disturbs the harmonious view of the world for those who

accept the norms. For this reason, the effects of people with maladjusted behaviour may

be treated with resentment and hostility, ostracized, imprisoned or even shot dead. They

may be unable to find jobs. Masolo (1998) contends that drug addiction is like a curse, it

changes your child from what you used to know to a devil that torments you throughout

life. Their drug addiction has condemned them to a life of quandary, crime and turned

them into liabilities. Hundreds of youths in the country were now being turned into

zombies as drug barons get down to lucrative business aggressively.

2.4 Specific Intervention Measures used by Teachers in Managing Learners with Socially Maladjusted Behaviour

In a study conducted in the United States, Walker (2004) states that the best approaches

in the management of this problem include school-wide behaviour monitoring and

behaviour management procedures that emphasize careful monitoring, clear expectations,


behavioural infractions. Critics may claim that these represent consignment of learners to

second-class citizenship or that they emphasize vocational skills when they should be

focused on academic preparation for higher education. In fact, any schooling different

from that of learners headed for college is vulnerable to changes that its expectations

were too low.

Scott (2007) observes that childhood conduct disorders cast a long shadow over

adulthood, often leading to antisocial personality, drug misuse, increased rates of

psychosis and earlier death. Child therapy is the most common target of

cognitive-behavior and social skills therapy for children with aggressive behaviour, social

interactions, self-evaluation and emotional dysregulation.The four common targets of

cognitive behavioural and social skills therapieswere:to reduce children‟s aggressive

behaviour such as shouting, pushing and arguing, increase prosaically interactions such

as entering a group, then starting a conversation, participating in group activities, sharing,

cooperating, asking questions politely, listening and negotiating.correcting the cognitive

deficiencies distortions and inaccurate self- evaluation exhibited by many of these

children, to ameliorate emotional dysregulation and self control problems so as to reduce

emotional liability,impulsivity and explosiveness,enabling the child to be more reflective

and able to consider how best to respond in provoking situations.

Two of the more popular treatment models were problem solving skills training with in

vivo practice Kazdin (1996) and the coping power program Lochman and Wells (2002)

in which is used with children age 7 and over the child receives individual training in


on identifying problem situation learning a series of problem-solving steps and applying

those first to hypothetical situations. Then in role-play and finally in real life situation.

Therapeutic strategies include games, therapist modeling and role play with therapist feedback. Atoken system is used in sessions to reinforce children‟s effort at practicing

target skills, parentswere involved periodically in joint sessions and may receive

behavioural parent training as an adjunctive treatment.

Metcalf (2010) emphasizes that social maladjustment in children needs parental

intervention in addition to professional help to diminish disruption in school or at home.

Social maladjustment is a serious disturbance that requires time and resources to ensure a

child is able to succeed in mainstream schooling or other social environments.

Professional treatment for social maladjustment in children with innate or intra-psychic

symptoms usually cannot control their emotional responses and generally do not

maneuver events to their advantage. It is usually recommended that the child engages in

individual therapy in an ideal setting. The child should be able to establish a solid

working relationship with a specific therapist. Many schools offer free or low cost

counseling on-site, if that is not an option, parents can find a free local support group

meeting that the family can attend. Positive social influences would be needed and the

support group serves as a safe place for the child to unravel his/her feelings and anxieties.

According to Ndirangu (2000), counseling is one of the possible solutions to deviant

behaviour where the work of a teacher counselor in the current education system needs to

be enhanced. He emphasizes that counseling is urgently needed in the existing


On his part, Jeffrey (2004) examines functional behavioural assessment procedures used

to identify the reason for children‟s misbehavior. He suggests an approach known as

multimodal functional behavioural assessment that provides a comprehensive examination of the children‟s disruptive behaviour. The literature for the cause of

behaviour identified in multimodal functional behaviour is reviewed with the purpose of

informing treatment selection in school settings. Most Kenyan schools employ guidance

and counseling as well as medication to reduce the aggressive behaviour. The researcher

would like to come up with the best intervention measures that would help children with

socially maladjusted behaviour to improve their poor academic traits. In Kenya when it is

determined that a student is socially maladjusted and not emotionally disturbed, then this

student is not considered for special education. Researchers suggest that those

programmers that provide a high degree of structure, clear limits, precise rules and

immediate meaningful and impartial implementation of consequences present the greatest

potential for long-term change in the socially maladjusted student

2.5 Summary of Literature Review

Social maladjustment appears to be a developmental trait that begins early in life and

often continues into adolescence and adulthood. It is often clearly observable as early as

primary school.There werenumerous empirical studies, which have identified various

variables whichstrongly correlate with social maladjusted behaviour for examplefamilies

of antisocial or socially maladjusted children were often found to have little positive

parental involvement with the child utilize harsh or inconsistent discipline and provide


Social maladjusted learnerswere likely to experience major adjustment problems in the

areas of academic achievement and peer social relations contribute disproportionately to

the incidence of alcoholism,accidents, chronic unemployment, and divorce, physical and

psychiatric illness and increase the demand on welfare services late in life. Patterson

(1989) indicates that the path to chronic delinquency unfolds in a series of predictable

steps. Behaviours at one stage lead to predictable reactions from the social environment

in the following step which leads to further reactions from them child and further changes

in the reactions from the social environment each step puts the child at an increasing risk

for long-term social maladjustment as well as criminal behaviour. Studies consistently

indicate that without intervention, aggressive behaviour tends to stay at the same level

over time Henggeler (1987),in a study found out that 70% -90% adult males convicted of

violent offenses were highly aggressive as children (National crime Prevention of

Canada) consistent patterns of aggressive behaviour correlating with later aggression

have been observed as early as three years of age Early aggression is also noted to be a

risk predictor for a variety of later problems of youth including social

maladjustment,conduct disorder, delinquency and substance abuse.

Although a lot of literature has been written on socially maladjusted behavior and its

effects on academic performance, there is very little on the problem of socially

maladjusted behaviour in public primary schools in Kenya in general, and none in

Kasarani sub County of Nairobi County. This is a gap that this study has endeavored to

fill. Most of the research works done has largely focused on secondary schools forgetting

that a child‟s behaviour has to be molded from child hood through primary level to


Gaglio (2010) explained the characteristics of the learners with SMB as learners who

defy the school rules and regulations. These characteristics were similar to the ones

provided by head teachers in the interview guide. On his part, Gibbon (2011) came up

with five main causes of SMB which concurred with the ones provided by learners in the

questionnaires they answered. Theserange from family social economic status,

psychological needs, personal needs, school related causes teachers to peer related

causes. Giller (1983) argues that SMB leads to low commitment to scholastic

achievement, which concurred with the teacher‟s answers given in the questionnaire. As

much as SMB has been mentioned, very little has been said to relate SMB with special

needs but these children were supposed to be treated equallywith their counter parts

suffering from emotional disorders. They should be assessed and an individualized

program planned to mitigate the effectsof the behaviour in order for them to excel




3.0 Introduction

The chapter presentsthe following sub-sections; Research design,variables, location of

the study, target population, sample size,sampling procedures, research instruments, pilot

study, validity and reliability data collection technique, data analysis, logistical and

ethical considerations .

3.1 Research Design

The researcher employed the descriptive survey design in the study. Mugenda and

Mugenda (2003) observed that this method is preferred because it is designed to collect

data within a short time on a large population in order to determine the current status of

the existing situation or population with respect to one or more variables. This is a self

report study, which requires the collection of information from the sample. Therefore, the

findings of the survey were made to ascertain the problem, make people aware of the

problems of SMB and thus enable them to understand them and help them solve

problemsthat stand in the way of achieving academically.

3.1.1 Variables Independent variables

This study made use of both independent and dependent variables. The independent


by the learners in class, causes of the SMB; effects of the SMB and intervention

strategies used by teachers. Dependent variables

The dependent variable was academic performance of the learners which resulted from


3.2 Location of the Study

The study was carried out within Kasarani Sub County of Nairobi County in the Republic

of Kenya. Kasarani was picked because it houses many slum schools which have many

SMB cases and poor performance (Appendices v, vi, viii, x, xi and xii).

3.3 Target Population

The target population was Standard 6, 7 and 8 public primary school learners in Kasarani

sub - county. This population was relevant to the study because literature documents that

most SMB cases are around this age of adolescent (Thomas,kehle and Melissa 2007).

3.4 Sampling Techniques and Sampling Size

3.4.1 Sampling Techniques

Simple random sampling technique was used to sample the learners from classes 6, 7 and

8. Purposive sampling was used to sample the Head teachers, Deputy Head teachers,


participants were involved in the study. Three Head teachers, three deputy head teachers,

ten teachers and twenty five learners. There was another group of 10 girls and 20 boys

from the five schools who were observed.This group was purposely selected because of

the various SMB behaviours that they exhibited. Their names were given to the

researcher by the deputy head teacher and some were picked from the registers in

different classrooms.

3.4.2 Sample Size

The total sample comprised ofpublic primary schools illustrated as follows:

Subject Population Sample Percentages

Head teachers 25 3 10%

Deputy Head teachers 25 3 10%

Teachers 100 10 10%

Learners6 7&8 550 55 10%

--- Total 7007010%


3.5 Construction of Research Instruments

The researcher used the following research instruments: questionnaires, observation

schedules and key informant interview guides.The instruments were developed by the

researcher after extensively reviewing prior instruments from other scholars in SMB


and Constance, 2013 and Metcalf, 2010). The questions in the instruments were extracted

from the objectives of the study.


According to Orodho (2012), this method of data collection is used to collect data from

respondents who are literate and easily accessed and are deemed cooperative. It is also an

important method of gathering data when time is limited. In this study, the questionnaire

was administered to the learners and teachers so that their views on SMB could be

compared. The teachers‟ questionnaires asked the teachers to give the effects of SMB on

the learners academic performance and the intervention strategies used to curb the

situation. The learners were to name some of the causes of SMB and the effect of SMB

on the academic performance of the learners. The items of the questionnaires were both

structured (close-ended) and unstructured (open-ended). The structured questionnaires

measured the objective responses while the unstructured questions were usedto measure

the subjective responses.

3.5.1 Key Informant Interviews

Cohen and Morrison (2001) states that an interview guide helps the researcher to

understand as well as learn educational problems, practices and each individual‟s view.

Interviews could produce in-depth data not possible with the questionnaire and the reason

for a particular response could be determined. In this study, the simple structured

interview guides were used for the head- teachers and deputy head teachers to enable the


state the characteristics of SMB exhibited by the learners in their various schools and

describe some of the intervention strategies used by head of schools once the cases were

presented to their offices because in every school the head office is usually the last place

once name is to appear if one has done a mistake.

3.5.2 Observation check list

In this study,an observation sheet was usedto look for the common SMB which made the

learners fail to perform well academically. This was a developed guide adopted from

Draw-a person screening procedure for Emotional Disturbance (Naglier,Neish and

Bardos, 1991-Appendix 1)with indicators on SMB behaviours such as extreme truancy,

bullying, cheating, drug taking, extreme aggressiveness, inciting others, defying orders,

against rules and stealing was observed in relation to academic performance as identified

in the literature review.

3.6 Pilot Study

To ensure reliability of the research instruments, the researcher conducted a pilot study.

This was a process of pre-testing the data collection instruments in order to ascertain the

feasibility of the research instruments. Among the instruments used were questionnaires

interview guide and observation check list. The pilot study ensured that the questions had

no ambiguity. The instruments were piloted in one school which was randomly selected.

The total number of respondents used in the pilot was 30, comprising of 10 learners,1

head teacher, 1 deputy head teacher and 4 teachers.Eighteen of the respondentswere


3.6.1 Validity

Validity of the research instruments used in this study was established in different ways.

There was content validity where the main concepts of study were expressed in full.

Indicators expressing all ideas in defining the main concepts of SMB were asked in form

of questions in the questionnaire. Certain facts were established from the learners, such

as, scoring low grades in the academic examinations. The responses were validated by

correlating with the grades obtained from the school records office. Finally, there was

construct validity for measures asked both in the questionnaire and the interview

schedule, for instance, on performance in relation to SMB. This was checked to ensure

that they conformed to theoretical expectations.

3.6.2 Reliability

Reliability of the research instrument was captured in terms of internal consistency as

explained by Punch (2005) where multiple items in the questionnaires and interview

schedules were asked to express a similar concept/ dimension. This was the case

especially for latent traits of depression and emotions which were not directly observable.

For instance, from the literature review, certain latent SMB characteristics were captured

by asking questions on different items on the extreme emotional behaviour and the

repetitive trends, the frequency of the behaviour and the damage that had been caused to

the peers, teachers and family that would lead the researcher to conclude on the same

SMB traits. This meant that different items asked in the research were consistent with


A test re-test was donetwo weeks apart to ascertain the reliability of the instrument before

going to the field.It yielded a coefficient of 0.7 which indicated that the test was stable.

The selected pilot school was not included in the actual schools which were used for the


3.7 Data Collection Techniques

The researcher visited the schools to establish rapport with the head teachers of different

schools as well as seeking permission from head teachers of different schools in the sub

county to collect data from their schools. On the second visit the researcher

personallyvisited the head teachers of different schools which hadbeen sampled and

interviewed them and their deputies.This was done in different schools and in different

weeks. The researcher spent one week in each school. The questionnaireswere directly

administered to the teachers. Teachers were given instructions and the concept of SMB

was explained. They were requested to follow instructionsto the letter.The first 40learners

were selected from classes 6, 7 and 8 through random sampling.The researcher addressed

them and gave them the questionnaires to answer. After10 minutes, all the learners had

finished filling questionnaires. The questionnaires were then picked from the learners by

the researcher.

The researcher also used the observation checklist to monitor 30 learners, who had SMB.

She physically sat in classes and monitored the behavior of the learners and sometimes

walkedin the field to check on the behaviour to get the actual results. The researcher


Fighting . View in document p.27
Table 1: Gender of all the respondents in the selected schools

Table 1.

Gender of all the respondents in the selected schools . View in document p.53
Figure 2:Duration of respondents in the selected schools

Figure 2.

Duration of respondents in the selected schools . View in document p.55
Figure 3: -Characteristics of learners with SMB

Figure 3.

Characteristics of learners with SMB . View in document p.57
Figure 4: Observation checklist of learners SMB in Public Primary school.

Figure 4.

Observation checklist of learners SMB in Public Primary school . View in document p.59
Figure 5: Analysis of the causes of SMBamongthe learners

Figure 5.

Analysis of the causes of SMBamongthe learners . View in document p.68
Figure 6: Analysis of the effects of SMB on the academic performance of learners

Figure 6.

Analysis of the effects of SMB on the academic performance of learners. View in document p.71
Table 2: Analysis of Intervention Measures on SMB

Table 2.

Analysis of Intervention Measures on SMB . View in document p.74
Table 1 Compwason of KCPE performance per district in Nairobi County

Table 1.

Compwason of KCPE performance per district in Nairobi County . View in document p.112



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